You know how a lot of stories are being redone but grittier? I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. The redone Batman trilogy, for instance, really got into some fascinating territory. And in general I’m a huge proponent of art causing an emotional response (one of the reasons I feel video games should be recognized as the new wave of art in the world). That’s why I’m rather torn on the new Snow White movie.
It’s clearly gritty, and it’s a good thing to see fairy tales get back to their often rather grim roots (see what I did there). So here, instead of the overly-saccharine Disney edition where the worst of the dangers is a long nap, we see a kingdom torn apart, hundreds of young women slaughtered, and some hardcore Machiavellian Evil-Queening. Good! That’s good. That should normally provoke a response.
And yet, it doesn’t. Most of it feels quite bland. Part of this is down to acting… I think Chris Hemsworth does well playing Thor but he kept the same lack of emotional range for his role as the titular huntsman. Same with whatshername, the Twilight girl, who was about the same as Snow White. The horrible Dark Forest doesn’t seem too bad, even if it does seem to kill plenty of folks. The evil queen certainly seems evil but honestly, I don’t feel like I should care.
Things take a very sharp and welcome turn for the positive about halfway through when the dwarves get involved, though. Get this: Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and one of my recent favories, Ian McShane as four of the eight of them. The other four were less common names, but solid actors nonetheless. It was a refreshing and vibrant (and totally well-acted) counterpoint to everything else that was going on, and as they go into their magical CGI fairytale land, suddenly you get the feeling that there’s a real reason for Snow White to be battling this evil queen. The fact that the dwarves take a few unneeded sidesteps into outright comic relief are worth overlooking.
But then, with their support, eventually it all wins out, blah blah. And if you can’t tell from that, the ending is rather disappointing as well. Decent action, ok climactic smackdown, weak epilogue. Oh, and cue the sequel which has been announced, because you can’t just do one film anymore.
I don’t know. I want to blame my disinterest on the two lead actors, but I don’t think they’re alone in dampening my enjoyment. So much of the film had a sense of “Renaissance Festival: The Movie!” about it. And I even get the mild sense that the brilliant acting in the middle was what carried those scenes, rather than decent writing. I can’t say it’s worth taking the time to watch, but it’s also not like it’s a travesty. Meh.