Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mockbusted #5: Grimm's Snow White

Just as a programming note, I originally intended for this Mockbusted entry to cover both of the mainstream Snow White releases from earlier this year, Snow White and the Huntsmen and Mirror Mirror, before talking about the Asylum rip off, but while I have seen, re-watched, and quite enjoyed the former, I cannot bring myself to start watching the latter. It's on Netflix, and it may well be very good, though I doubt it, and I fear I will never know. Something about the combination of Julia Roberts and Tarsem is just kryptonite to my ability to spend two hours with a movie. In any case, I think the existence of both of these movies somewhat gives lie to the aversion many people feel towards mockbusters, because as exploitative as the practice might arguably be, its not like the big studios don't do it as often as the littler ones.

Anyway, Snow White and the Huntsmen is another movie I didn't get a chance to review when it came out, and also like Prometheus, its a movie that is almost tailor made for my sensibilities. I love fairy tales, and especially dark re-imaginings of fairy tales, so much so that I've written both a roleplaying game setting and a television pilot based on the subject. I really liked Snow White and the Huntsmen, and actually enjoyed it a lot more upon second viewing. I know a lot of people hated it because they hate Kristen Stewart, because they hate Twilight, but misplaced nerd rage aside, I thought she was perfect to play Snow White, essentially the Bella of her day, and actually did a much better job than Charlize Theron, who I thought was a bit miscast. Then again, I think that might just be because I am incapable of seeing her as a villain due to her unearthly hotness, and I invariably side with her, much like Michael Bluth. Overall, especially now in light of the shittiness of The Hobbit, I thought it was a solid action fantasy movie that got a bad rap for the wrong reasons, and had it been made in the 80's during the heyday of this genre, it might well be considered a classic today.

Not As Hot As Charlize Theron = Suitable Villainess

The Asylum effort, Grimm's Snow White, is directed by the same person who made Sherlock Holmes, which instantly raised my expectations, perhaps to the films detriment. It's not bad, but it doesn't capture the sublime insanity of some of the studio's previous works, instead trying for a more serious take on a fantasy story, albeit with tweaks to the original source material including dragons, magic fire, and elves in place of dwarves. The latter substitution bothered me probably more than it should have, if only because it seems so unnecessary. I don't know why they didn't just do dwarves, except that maybe they thought they would have to use little people, and thought it would be easier to just put Spock ears on regular actors instead. I think there is a line where the changes to the original story are forgivable if they lead to something interesting in their own right (like Steampunk Iron Man), but when they seem like cheap cop outs that don't add anything, it takes away from the experience.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Whose The Shittiest CGI Effect Of Them All

Still, the bigger flaw of the film is that it shifts the focus of the story from Snow White to Prince Charming, relegating the title character to a boring ingenue who often slips into the background while the men do all the heavy lifting. I liked the female empowerment angle of the mainstream film, and didn't agree with the criticism that Stewart's Snow White was particularly Mary Sue-ish (at least not more so than the character's supposed to be), and that element is almost completely missing here, save for a rather brutal ending that I wish would have been built up to better and earned instead of coming out of nowhere. I can't bring myself to become invested in the plight of the downtrodden elves, and while many of the actors are committed and do a good job selling the reality amid all the silliness, it never reaches the sort of glorious heights as Sherlock, or even Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies.

Wolves Not As Cool As Mini T-Rex Robots

The climactic battle in the woods is well put together and almost makes the film worthwhile, but there's a lot of slow moving and uninteresting story to get through before we make it there. I'd say this is for die-hard fans of the company only, as anyone else less inclined to give it a chance might not have the patience for it. At the very least, its a hell of a lot better than Alien Origin.

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