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I was excited about this movie before its release, but the reviews were lukewarm, so I waited until I was really, really in the mood for a fairy tale with a big-screen feel.

Did I like it? Well, that’s the question. If I had to travel back in time and advise myself whether to go see it or skip it, I think I’d tell me to go see it. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t say to myself that the good outweighs the bad, but rather, that the good parts are worth seeing.

Does that help?

Can you sense some inner conflict?  There were some amazing moments in this film – exactly what I was hoping for. But there were also some misfires, and they were miss enough to actual pull me out of the experience for a second or so.  This is unusual for me, because usually if I’m liking a movie, I just mentally file away the problems and think about them later. And if I’m loving a movie, I don’t even notice the problems at the time, although they might seep into my memory later in the week.

With SNOW WHITE, there were moments when I was the throes of love, love, loving it. Eating it up, drinking it up, thrilled. So as you can imagine, the misfires must have been fairly significant to pull me out, and yep, they were.

But here are the reasons that time-travel-Kate would advise yesterday-morning-Kate to see it on the  big screen. At it best, this movie can be mesmerizing at the theater in a way that’s impossible to duplicate at home.  There were scenes with Charlize Theron that were perfect – where she was so stunning yet so evil in the same terrifying moment – they were worth the price of admission alone. I also loved the feel of it at the beginning – just like they were telling me a fairy tale that I already knew, but as with all good stories, I was ready to fall for it and be surprised by it again. I haven’t had that sensation in a while during a movie, so yum.

I also thought there were certain moments with the Huntsman where I could really feel his pain, and once again, it worked well because it presented a contrast – brawling, good-hearted guy but severely broken from the agony of losing his wife – and it was done so well.

Some of the special effects were breathtaking. And certain battle scenes with the clash of evil soldiers against the stalwart remnants of a good-and-just army were good too.

So what went wrong? Several things, I think. One was that we were right there with Snow White, running from the evil queen’s forces, and then suddenly we were – well, on Dagobah, I think, sansYoda. Huh? No background for it, and once she escaped it, no mention of it again.

Later, when they’re running away again, we’re in some sort of fairy world with a ton of Disneyesque elements – and please, when you bring out the cute squirrel and the blossoms that are really made from a thousand butterflies, and … oh well, I have low tolerance for that in the first place, but when it’s done in a sappy manner in the middle of a mood piece, it’s just no, no, no.  I actually thought they were doing all that cutesy stuff for some 3D effect, but I looked it up later and apparently they didn’t release a 3D version. So what gives? I hated this part with a passion.  And it really bothered me that earlier in the film they had jarred us (jar #1 of at least 5 as it turns out) by having Snow White say a prayer ( the Our Father) – huh? Okay, I decided to go with that at the moment, but in fairy land, we were worshipping otherwise to put it mildly. Are thee Christian or are thee Druid-ish stone/stag worshippers? Make up your freaking mind!

From Dagobah, then crazy boat world, then Disneyland, and then we got dumped into the Lord of the Rings for a couple of seconds with the dwarves walking single file along a cliff or whatever – I didn’t really look.

Instead, I was having a silent conversation with myself right in the middle of the movie, wondering if these distracting moments were meant as homages, but the truth is, even if they were, they didn’t work.

Oh, and the ending? The confrontation between good and evil was terrific, but the actual finale was too coy for my tastes.

I know the big question for everyone else (not so much for me) was whether Kristen Stewart was well cast. And I’d say no, but truly they didn’t give her a lot to work with.  They were so intent on beating us over the head – again and again – with how pure Snow was – the savior of goodness but too pure to even consider raising a sword against the evil guy trying to cut out her beating heart

So I don’t think they made Snow White a three-dimensional character in the first place. But I’d be curious to know what a super-strong actress might have brought to the role. We’ve seen that before, right? A basically cardboard character given depth by a great performer.  I’m thinking someone like Natalie Portman (but that might just be the Dagobah effect, right?)

Which prompts the follow-up question – was the Evil Queen’s role a caricature as well, but Charlize Theron infused it with something indefinable that made it mesmerizing and memorable?

I was going to complain about the “love triangle” too, but really, that wasn’t the big problem for me with this film. Yes, it was too coy for my tastes, and I think it was a lost opportunity since I would have believed her with either of those guys, or with neither, and who knows what else, but whatever point they were trying to make, it didn’t work for me.

SPOILER ALERT

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I would have loved to see the Huntsman’s wife restored to life at the end, perhaps just having been in a dead-sleep under the Evil Queen’s spell or whatever. And then Snow could either end up with William, or she and William could decide they’re just friends, with the idea she’ll find someone else one day and we’re rooting for her.

Or have the Huntsman hook up with the nice woman with the scar (I think I saw a spark there, but let’s face it, he probably sparks with everyone); or have him hook up with Snow in terms of upping the flirtation level, which I think could have been cool (and let her and William realize he’s more like a brother or whatever – but find him a woman for sure b/c I liked him! They almost went Robin-Hood with him in one scene, but they didn’t keep it up – too bad b/c I’m a fool for Locksley)
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So that’s it!

Kate

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mizkit
Jul. 19th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
oh god, until i saw your newer post i forgot i'd wanted to come post on this one. in an ideal world i would have a lot of thoughtful response because there's lots here to respond to, but i'm still completely exhausted and so let me just summarize with:

Word, sister. :)
katedonovan
Jul. 20th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
Ha! And the best part is, everything I didn't like about that movie has already faded away, and now I just really, really love it. So the trick is not to see it again. But what are the odds of that? Damn those DVDs!

Glad you had a good trip and arrived home safely. I was laughing over your posts about buying more books, since I've been trying to get rid of some -- and failing miserably. Every time I identify a possible candidate, I sit down with it -- just to verify that it can safely go to GoodWill -- and then I start re-reading it. Then it's dinner time, so back on the shelf it goes. Hopeless...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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