Nov 16, 2011

Snow White: Fight to the Finish

The past week saw the release of both of the trailers for the competing Snow White epics currently in the works. There is Tarsem Singh's comedic Mirror Mirror, which looks absolutely ridiculous (in the best way) and stars Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Armie Hammer, and some pale person whose name I keep forgetting. And then there is Snow White & the Huntsman, the uber-serious film starring Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart, and a slew of other people, including a 7 non-little-people as the 7 Dwarves.

So which to choose? 
Which is the fairest film of all? 
Let's judge solely on the trailers, shall we?

Mirror Mirror certainly has a lot going for it. It's directed by Tarsem Singh, who has made some of the most visually stunning and sumptuous films of recent memory (The Cell, the amazing The Fall, and the not-terrible Immortals).  In terms of fairy-tale magic, his version of
Snow White certainly takes the apple. Mirror does well to realize that Snow White is not that interesting a character, and chooses instead to focus on the Wicked Queen. It's been a while since Julia Roberts has done this hammy an acting job, and I'm a little worried by what I see in the trailer, but it will be fun to watch her go bat-shit crazy in the third act. Plus, she won't look like she's over-acting if she's constantly in the same frame as Nathan Lane. That man oozes cheese. It may be unfortunate that this film is supposed to be funny, because the jokes are kind of the worst part of the trailer - I wish they had fallen closer to witty retorts than quick one-liners, and the dwarves' lines already have me groaning (can we all agree to put the kibosh on 'say hello to my little friend' jokes?). Still, from the Bollywood inspired dance numbers to an all-feather wedding dress, I have to say this definitely has my interest. Also, it's fun that the wicked queen's motives are more practical than malevolent - sure, she may try to kill Snow White, but it's more to save her kingdom than preserve her vanity. Timely.

From the fun and campiness of Mirror Mirror we move to Snow White & the Huntsman, the more Ridley Scott-y and serious film. Like Mirror Mirror, the film focuses on the Wicked Queen, played by the gorgeous, milk-bathed Charlize Theron. While her British accent may falter, there is no denying that the queen in this film is much more compelling than the vapid queen of Mirror Mirror. She's actually terrifying in this teaser trailer, even before she screams and shoots glass at the screen. Now, I know that Kristen Stewart has her nay-sayers, and it is a bit weird to have her be the most fair woman in the world after she's spent years playing 'Every Girl' and idiot Bella Swan, but I kind of dig her trying to break out of the Twilight shell just a little bit. And Chris Hemsworth seems more than able as a romantic lead, especially in this battle setting. I don't quite buy the seriousness of the trailer though - where is the fun, where is the spark of magic that dwells in every frame of the Disney classic? The trailer is far superior to Mirror Mirror's, but it also lacks the joy, and seriousness can turn into dullness pretty quick. Remember, nobody wanted to sit through Beowulf.

Despite their many differences, there are a few similarities that I'm excited about between the two films.  First, both trailers have included a poisoned apple moment, both trailers feature completely revamped ideas of a magic mirror, and both feature a female protagonist that is actually doing something. Snow White is probably one of the least interesting Disney princesses and fairy tale characters because she does so little. She sings, plays with birds, falls down, cleans, falls asleep, and then she gets married. At least both of these movies let her have a sword.

Based Solely on Trailer:
Mirror Mirror: B
Snow White & The Huntsman: A-
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