AEOS Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

And . . . I’m back! It’s felt like¬†forever¬†since I blogged on AEOS, and I’m happy to be back after a very rough month. How’s everyone been? I’ve been able to check out posts by several of you when I’ve found the time. Bear with me as I get my footing again these next couple weeks. Originally when I set out to blog regularly, I didn’t take into account how difficult it would be to post that regularly with my current schedule. This time around, I plan to post 2-3 posts/week. If I ever reel more than that out, then I will just count myself lucky ūüôā OK, let’s get on with it already . . .

The most recent film I have watched has been rookie director Rupert Sanders’s¬†Snow White and the Huntsman. Expectations were flying high with all the marketing and comparisons to that of the inferior¬†Mirror, Mirror, the other of two takes on the fairytale classic. What can I say? I felt let down. A below average rating on Rotten Tomatoes (46%) ¬†confirmed that this¬†Snow White¬†fell short of the mark, despite having some positive aspects to it.

Chemical Imbalance

There probably isn’t a better way to describe the film than that is was¬†all over the place.¬†The tone, the score, the characters . . . everything was constantly shifting, lacking an overall center to bring the film together as a whole. There was an imbalance that made the film fall flat. The actors did the best they could to show heart and express emotion, but I didn’t really care because they were under-developed. The script really dragged the story down, not giving the actors much to work with in the beginning, using recycled plot devices to carry the story through.

What came as a big disappointment to me was the score. I normally dig the work of James Newton Howard, even when I don’t care for the movie he scored for. But in this case, the score was all over the place, reflecting the movie’s primary issue.

Character Actors

Charlize Theron is one impressive character actor. She seems to know exactly how to play your average, everyday gal, as well as an evil queen desperate to retain her beauty. The make-up transformations were stellar, showing the effects of her aging. Theron embodied the necessary evil to play this creepy character.

Then you have an actor like Chris Hemsworth, who is still establishing himself, having only been in a few films and being known primarily for another character,¬†Thor. I thought Hemsworth did a pretty good job. Although he was never known as anything more than “Huntman” and rocked an accent that made it difficult to detect what he was saying in parts, he did what he could with what he had to work with. Hemsworth lacks no heart or emotion in expressing himself, and that came through in his Huntsman performance.

As for Kristen Stewart . . . given my high dislike for the¬†Twilight¬†series and her association with it, it makes it difficult to judge her without making some kind of comparison. Unfortunately, she probably won’t be able to¬†ever¬†separate herself fully from the films. But putting that aside (as much as is possible!), I found myself impressed with the physicality of her role. Although a stunt person probably filled in for a lot of the hard parts, I can imagine the role was physically difficult for her, whether she was riding a horse, fighting, swimming, jumping off a cliff, or sliding into a sewer. As for the acting? There was a deafness to her performance. I really felt like she¬†tried, but ultimately failed in giving a great performance. Perhaps with more opportunities she will be able to slowly slip away from her¬†Twilight¬†association and move into roles with more depth. That being said, I think Stewart wasn’t terrible. And that’s an improvement.

Channeling Aragorn

I couldn’t help but feel like Stewart was channeling Aragorn from¬†Lord of the Rings¬†during the second half of the film. Rallying the troops, leading the Duke and people into battle (without proper head gear, no less), and being crowned queen in the end. I was ready for her to look at the hobbits dwarves and say “You bow to no one.”

There were other moments when I felt like I was watching a rip-off version of¬†Lord of the Rings¬†or¬†Harry Potter, but perhaps so many films borrow and share themes, that it was difficult to not have those thoughts while watching. When Snow White and crew came riding in on the beach, I felt like the they were attempting to breech Helm’s Deep. The relationship between Snow White and the Queen made me think of Harry Potter and Voldemort. My sister did not appreciate my continuous commentary on such comparison during the film. I digress.

Saviors and Sinking Ship

The visuals were the savior of the film. Both the visual and special effects were stunning. The queen’s aging, the mirror, the scene in the fairy world–all were captivating to watch. One scene in particular that I appreciated was when the Queen tricked Snow White by channeling the Duke’s son. It was the first and only time I found myself surprised the entire film. I already knew Snow White would somehow kill the Queen by blocking with one arm and stabbing her with the other until her soul left. Too bad. I wasn’t even trying to call plot points.

Aside from the visual prowess, the film was average at best. I credit screenwriters Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock for dragging down the already sinking ship.

What did you think of the film? What parts did you like, and which ones could have been better? 

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Snow White vs . . . Snow White?

For those who keep up with upcoming films, it’s been long time knowledge that two Snow White films will be released next year. Last week, the trailer for¬†Snow White and the Huntsman¬†debuted online. This more action version of the story has Kristen Stewart playing Snow White, making her first appearance since the Twilight¬†movies, as well as Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Charlize Theron playing the evil queen. Yesterday, the trailer for Mirror, Mirror, which appears far more whimsical in nature, casts Julia Roberts as the evil queen and Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) as the prince.

Which looks better? Which one would you be more likely to see?

Snow White and the Huntsman

I don’t think that Kristen Stewart looks the part of Snow White at all. As a friend put it, she doesn’t look innocent or “genuinely beautiful” to fit the part. I am surprised, however, at how creepy and evil Charlize Theron came across as the evil queen. The trailer did focus more on her than any of the other characters, which I think may be an advantage for them. The mirror appears to take on an actual form, and the story really comes to life in the trailer. If you watch this trailer in HD, it’s very visually appealing. I think this film has more potential to gather a wider audience than the other.

Mirror, Mirror

In this trailer, Julia Roberts is really pulling for laughs. The writing for the queen makes her appear very cynical with a dry sense of humor.¬†Tarsem Singh, director for the recent film Immortals,¬†seems to be taking the more classic route by including the dwarves. I was able to catch just a small glimpse of the queen in disguise offering an apple to Snow White. I was hoping to see more of that in the other trailer. I was almost reminded of last year’s Alice in Wonderland¬†with the costumes (Julia Robert’s giant red dress?).¬†This one looks like it may bring in more of a family-friendly audience. It will be interesting to see which does better. My money is on Snow White and the Huntsman.

 

2012: A Peak for Film Series?

The year 2012 holds possibly some of the greatest film conclusions and beginnings of series (and then a few more . . . ) that have not only your typical fanboy jumping with excitement, but your average theater attender as well. Now, I will not be including Scary Movie 5¬†or Men in Black 3 (sorry Anna Faris and Will Smith) in this post, but that doesn’t mean I’m heartless. If anything, I shouldn’t be including the Twilight¬†movie, but I think it’s too anticipated for me to leave it out.

Let’s start with the epic conclusions:

1) The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Perhaps the most anticipated film of 2012, Christopher Nolan plans to wrap up his Batman trilogy in July of next summer. Already photos, videos, a teaser trailer, and various rumors have leaked from all the proper channels, just fueling the fire of what Nolan fans expect to be better than The Dark Knight, a film considered one of the most remarkable and best of this generation. He has the same crew and a few new faces. The big question is . . . will The Dark Knight Rises live up to the impossible expectations of viewers, or will it *just* miss the mark and be considered the film that couldn’t? Being a Nolan fan myself, I have high hopes, but I’m afraid all this pre-excitement feels dazzling for now, but will continue to build until there is no momentum left. Let’s hope the pressure doesn’t get to him and he delivers an even more epic film than the previous Dark Knight.

2) The Hobbit

If I were to get technical, The Hobbit would actually be a pre-sequel, opening a slot for it in the “beginning series,” but since Peter Jackson has already given everyone three fantastic Lord of the Rings films, The Hobbit actually places fourth in that line, making it the last. Tearing out a page from the X-Men series playbook, and following suite via J.R.R. Tolkein’s intended order for the series (he first wrote Lord of the Rings, and then later penned The Hobbit), Jackson expectedly¬†unexpectedly is directing this epic beginning end film. He’s been posting production videos to his Facebook page, only egging on the film geeks that will watch anything LOTR¬†they can click their mouses on.

3) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II (can this title be any longer?)

Stop with the Twilight!

Unfortunately for any Twilight¬†fans reading this (are there any . . . ?), I don’t have much to say about this film because the only one in the series I ever saw was the first one, which was a big disappointment for me with all the uproar of how fantastic the series supposedly was. I agree – it’s just my opinion, but even a fan would have to admit that the overexposure of Bella, Edward, and Jacob marketing is driving even proud fans into dark corners to hide their embarrassment over liking the series. Perhaps Stephanie Meyers really had something special, but what could have been something worthwhile got destroyed when it went viral. The nation’s critics never gave any one of the films in the series an overall positive rating. And don’t even get me started with the Harry Potter¬†comparisons (you should know where my allegiances lie, anyway!). Anyways, I know I should include some kind of information about this film, but the only knowledge I really have to offer is that this is the final film in the series. After¬†mimicking¬†Harry Potter‘s successful technique of dividing the final book of the series into two films, the second installment of Breaking Dawn¬†will be hitting theaters mid-November next year. Personally, I look forward to the end of it so I can finally stop hearing about it (I can imagine Taylor Lautner has similar sentiments). I digress.

OK, let’s hit up the beginnings now:

1) The Avengers

If you saw Captain America and then waited through the end credits, you were probably one of the first to see the teaser for the upcoming Avengers flick, due to be released in May of next year. Since then, posters and a fuller trailer mainly focusing on Robert Downy Jr.’s humor, have been released online. This year we got to see Thor and Captain America, and last year we got to see the second installment of Iron Man. Now we get to see all three grace the screen with an additional Mark Ruffalo taking a swing at playing The Hulk (not that we’re going to miss Edward Norton . . . ), along with Jeremy Renner playing Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow (remember her from Iron Man?), and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. This should be a pretty epic cast lead by none other than Mr. Joss Whedon, who has a big enough fanbase of his own to bring in viewers.

2) The Revamped (“Amazing”) ¬†Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman

This decision to already redesign Spiderman¬†has divided fans . . . loyalists cling to Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire while the newer, younger generation who worship Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield and were blown away by The Social Network¬†are opening their minds to this new possibility. Especially since fanboys claimed the previous unfinished trilogy messed up the “true” story of Peter Parker’s love life (Spiderman wasn’t always in love with the slutty version of Mary-Jane Watson from the previous series?!), they believe Marc Webb, the ironically named director, will be able to make things right this time around.

3) The Hunger Games

I personally have a lot wearing on this first movie. I read the trilogy this summer and fell in love with Katniss, Peeta, and the world of Panem. But after the out-of-control marketing that spawned from the dreaded Twilight¬†series, I feel a sense of nervousness that The Hunger Games¬†might try to follow in Bella and Edward’s shoes. Between Winter’s Bone, the X-Men¬†prequel, and a few other small roles, I believe in Jennifer Lawrence’s acting ability, but this new taste for over-marketing, tween obsession with fictional book trilogies turned film series has even me concerned for the overall appearance and direction that Ross might take the series. He’s made some gems in the past (Dave, Big), but I hope that in the end that the green isn’t the only reason this film series may become successful. Plus, Lawrence seems capable of taking a photo that doesn’t make her appear angry at the world or high or both simultaneously (Kristen Stewart, anyone?). So that’s a good start, right?

4) Superman: Man of Steel

Not much information has been floating around regarding this film, more than likely because of all the epic film conclusions/beginnings preceding it (just re-read this post if you’re confused). But the information we do have access to is that Jonathan Nolan, Christopher’s brother, will be directing, and that Henry Cavill and Amy Adams will be starring. I’m trying as hard as possible to not have some kind of vendetta against JNolan for casting Adams, a redhead, as Lois Lane (PLEASE DYE HER HAIR!?), but I’m finding it difficult. Since her role in The Fighter, Adams has proven that she can effectively play an edgy character. But that doesn’t mean she’s a great fit for Lois Lane. Personally, I find it difficult to imagine the Enchanted¬†princess to properly fill the sassy character’s shoes without looking completely out of place, but any hope lies in that a Nolan is directing the film.