Snow White and the Huntsman

Oh I suck it took me a month to get this review out.

My movie experience was a little different this time.  Nu Metro Waterfront held a pre-release screening on Thursday, 31st May. It’s their Ladies Night event, where ladies have a night out, being served by shirtless men and eating glittery cupcakes and having free things thrown at them and entering a raffle for a small army of fantastic goodies. My friend made this awesome discovery and we went together along with her sisters and two of their friends.  My ambition was to be served pretty cupcakes by shirtless men that I could ogle.  Sadly the shirtless men arrived late, and by then I had already eaten a glitter drenched cupcake and received a free box of Jaffa Cakes.  It was easy to see who had eaten cupcakes because suddenly almost everyone had glitter on their lips and cheeks.  It was very cute.

On entering the cinema we were given a magic show followed by the raffle.  I had made jokes about winning a prize, and had a horror filled moment were I might have won 3 six packs of booze, but thankfully it was a slightly different surname to mine.  So I was over hoping to win something when my name was drawn.  Well I was completely shocked, yes I entered and I joked about winning but I didn’t really expect to, especially when someone else who has the same first name as me had already won the booze.  I won a huge packet of fantastic goodies, lots of biscuits, more Jaffa Cakes, and toffees.  Mmmm I like chocolate covered toffees, I did have visions of my filling getting ripped out, but fortunately that didn’t happen.  So, with a packet full of nummie goodies on my lap, I proceeded to watch Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should really be called The Huntsman and Snow White or Thor 2 or Thor was involved in the medieval tale that will give rise to the Snow White fairy tale!  I’m totally in love with Chris Hemsworth, his death at the beginning of JJ Abrams Star Trek movie still makes me cry, and he is fantastic at playing a god. He plays the warrior role well; I foresee a new action star with more acting talent than Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris …. basically the entire cast of the Expendables 2, (which I am so excited for) put together. Unfortunately, while Snow White and the Huntsman was a treat to watch, the script had some serious issues.

Firstly may I say that Charlize Theron is a FANTASTIC Evil Queen.  She and Regina, the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time TV series, are the most evil and fleshed out fairytale Queens I have ever seen.  You could see that Revanna had a warped view of the world due to a trauma in her childhood, and that while her motives for what she does and her hate for Snow White are unfounded, you can see they stem from her own insecurities and neuroses.  That being said she yelled a bit to make her point, which I guess might be to indicate that her moods aren’t entirely stable.  But if you are an all powerful witch queen you wouldn’t need to yell.  If she were as scary as everyone around her is acting, she would have no need.  Her yelling makes her look weak, like she has no control over her subjects.

As I’ve said I love the Huntsman.  So yummy, so…….. unwashed!  He played the semi drunk warrior well.  At one point in the film my friend got the giggles, all she could see when he was fighting was Thor, not the huntsman.  The poor prince, he really didn’t stand a chance with Thor in this film.

Kirsten Stewart.  I really want to be nice about her, but she was really wooden.  Don’t get me wrong, she is good at showing grief and pain, but I don’t think she knows how to convey any other emotions, so all that’s left is this confused constipated look on her face. (very many of my friends have used the word constipated to describe Kirsten Stewart, it’s not just me who see’s it.)  I also think that she wasn’t given much to work with in this film. I think her dialogue is even less than the rest of the cast, like they didn’t want her to talk, they just needed someone to look pretty and sad.  Her accent was very good, I quite enjoyed her sounding different, but the personality wasn’t a big enough change from what we saw in Twilight or in her interviews.

When all’s said and done my biggest gripe with the film is the script.  It’s as though they weren’t entirely sure what kind of narrative they were trying to create.  They’re trying to build up this magical lore around Snow, like she’s holy, but they can’t really decide what, so they call her the ‘One’ in several different ways, imbue her in magic but don’t indicate whether it’s something she can use; she’ll bring balance to the force; her mere presence heals people; which is then followed by a character dying, make up your bloody mind.  Then we get some Lord of the Rings visual references, which I get. They created the iconic travelling over the mountains scenes but one of the earlier horse chase sequences was too similar to Arwen’s horse chase in Fellowship, right down to the camera angles. Then there’s a Narnia reference when they walk into a magical hidden forest. There are several walking over the mountain travel scenes that again look straight out of Lord of the Rings, granted when it comes to fantasy forest travel scenes they will all look a tad similar, the birds eye shot used to give a sense of how big the forest/ world your travelling in.  Truly the only thing that differentiated those travel scenes from the Lord of the Rings scenes was that you could see the terrain was different.  Well I would because I try to watch the trilogy extended edition at least once a year.  Then we get something really interesting, the magical creatures. The fairies are different, and oh so cute. They remind me of something, but I still can’t figure out what just yet.  We get some moss covered tortoises, nice and ancient looking, and then we get a white stag, who can turn into butterflies and has antlers that look like huge tree branches.  It’s a very cool visual, but not one that really fits itself into any western mythology.  I don’t know any stories, myths or fairytales about magical/holy stags with weird antlers.  So the stag was nice and different, not necessary to the story, but I’m pretty sure some people watching it thought, ‘huh it’s the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke’.

I think in general there wasn’t enough in this film. It fell short on its characters except for the Huntsman and The Queen.  The rest of the cast wasn’t given enough to work with. Sometime’s all it takes is one perfect line to bring a character across.  Especially the dwarves, they had a group of really good actors, and they could have done a lot more with their characters, but they just weren’t given a chance to shine.  However, I enjoyed the movie, but I seriously can’t see how they can turn this into a franchise.

The ultimate Robin Hood Post

So a week after Prince of Persia (which was watched during a long study period between exams) we all went off to watch Robin Hood after my final exam. My friend and i had planned to watch 9 (3D movie with ragdolls in a post-apocalyptic future who are meant to save the world.) but it ended the weekend before. Dang it.

I love Robin Hood, i love the lore and myth that surrounds it. A dashing hero who loses his standing to help the common day man, he steals from the rich to give to the poor. There is his beloved whom he can’t be with because he is an outlaw, and his band of merry men. And they live in the forest. Quite honestly i think the thing that always appealed to me the most was the archery and forest dwelling. I remember when i was little that every weekend i would hire Disney’s Robin Hood and watch it over and over again. I would hire it so often that my parents never considered actually owning it, i practically owned it already. Many years later this was followed by the Kevin Costner Robin Hood (1991), which to my mind is the best Robin Hood i have ever seen. So what if the critics absolutely hate poor Costner, and his very fake British accent, it’s still a brilliant movie. Also the forest village that they live in, completely capture my imagination.

Oh i mustn’t forget the wonderfully hysterical Robin Hood Men in Tights (1993) with Carey Elwes. I love Carey Elwes in this film, it’s like he was one of those old classic Robin Hoods, made back in the 30’s, which makes this movie even funnier. Men in Tights is mostly a parody of the Costner Robin Hood, it also pokes fun at the Disney Robin Hood (1973) and Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

Then there are the literary retellings. To be honest, i have only started getting into the written retellings recently. My first was the ForestWife Trilogy by Theresa Tomlin. This Robin Hood retelling focuses more on Marian’s story, and the women who supported Robin Hood and his men. It was such a tragic trilogy, but Theresa Tomlin writes stories about strong women and sad, brutal truths of life. In my literary future i have two Robin Hood adaption’s i plan to read. Robin Mckinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood Forrest, which also deals quite strongly in the role of women in the Robin Hood lore, (which makes sense since both Mckinley and Tomlin are female)

 I have loved Mckinley’s other works, she has a talent for taking our classic fairy tales and telling them in a different lights, which is absolutely unique and creative. Truthfully i have only read 2 of her books, Spindle’s End which is a very unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It actually left me feeling respect for Sleeping Beauty, i had always considered her a whit less lump. And then there was Mckinley’s version of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast, and am thoroughly addicted to watching the Disney version over and over again. I enjoyed the book but then ending was an insult to my intelligence and was more like a quick fix, like the author had run out of time.

Then there is Hood written by Stephen R Lawhead, book 1 in the Raven King Trilogy, followed by books 2 and 3 – Scarlett and Tuck. This trilogy seems to be a more Celtic/ Viking version of the lore (i think, i am not entirely sure), the book blurb mentions the Welsh borders. So maybe it’s based in a time period that predates the usual Robin Hood time period. Interesting.

Well it looks like a have completely lost my train of thought. I was trying to talk about Russell Crows Robin Hood. I can’t really decide whether i like Russell Crow or not. I don’t think i like him as a person, and I’ve only watched Master and Commander and Gladiator, so i don’t think I’ve seen enough of his movies to warrant an opinion on the actor. The movie however is another matter.

I remember when the idea of a Robin Hood first surfaced. It was going to be called Nottingham, with the focus on Hood’s nemesis rather than the hero. Then once Crow was attached to the project playing Nottingham, the plot started to become even more ridiculous. I mean seriously would you want to watch a movie based on Robin Hood where the main focus wasn’t on Robin Hood? I’d rather shoot myself in the foot. Then it became Crow would play BOTH Nottingham and Hood! THE HELL THAT’S BEING GREEDY!!!! I stopped monitoring the movie after that, in fact by the time a started following again principle shooting was about over. So you will be happy not know that all the original ridiculous ideas were dropped and they went back to the traditional subject matter and approach.

So now we have a more faithful retelling, or at least we get the character that we are actually interested in, i mean seriously who would want to watch a movie on the Sheriff of Nottingham? Not me.

So here’s the trailer for Russell Crows Robin Hood:

Watched it? Good.

The movie is nothing like the trailer! The trailer indicates that this is your typical Robin Hood, when surprisingly enough when we watched the movie we got a completely different story, which was a wonderful surprise. Sadly, Crow’s Hood, wasn’t the usual cocky hero we all love, his is more erm, older and wiser? (well Crow is the oldest actor to play Robin Hood) Also something that bothered me quite a bit was the serious lack in archery, don’t get me wrong there was archery, but there wasn’t many fancy tricks, you know like in the climatic moments of a Robin Hood, we have witty banter and fancy archery, in the climactic moments of this version there was some sword play. If you changed all the names of the characters, the audience wouldn’t know that this movie was actually about Robin Hood! Which is saddening. But i liked that they approached it differently, just not well. The movie was waaaay too long, half way through the movie my sister whispered to me “i wish they would just shag already so that the movie could continue” in reference to the sexual tension and banter between Marion and Robin. I had to agree. The periods between action scenes was too long and drawn out. So although i was happy to watch a movie that was completely different to what the trailer indicated, it was a bit disappointing not to be given a faithful telling of Robin Hood.

To sum up: i love Robin Hood, especially Costner’s and Disney’s versions, i love Robin Hood books and i sort of enjoyed Russell Crows Robin Hood, but I’m not going to watch it over and over and over and over and over again like the other adaption’s, it’s too long and can’t really be considered a Robin Hood film.