Once upon a time…Posted: March 16, 2012
I went to the cinema the otherday and saw posters for two movies that riff on the Snow White story (Mirror Mirror and Snow White And The Huntsman).
Apparently both movies tell the story in a new, exciting way and no doubt the stars of both will give interviews about how their flick is a reimagining or reinvention of the story.
Enough please. This reinvention thing is as overdone and cliched as the original fairytales.
Shrek (four movies, 5 if you count Puss In Boots), Hoodwinked, Enchanted, Ella Enchanted, Ever After, Red Riding Hood, Chicken Little.
I’m not against the whole idea of giving things a new spin and I enjoyed a few of those movies I’ve just listed.
And I’m quite looking forward to Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which might be daft fun and works as a sequel to the fairytale, as well as including a great crush-man crush combination of Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner.
And, there’s the brilliant comic series Fables which sees nursery rhyme and fairytale characters exiled in the modern world. Check it out, its very good.
But for the most part the reworkings don’t click with me, I think its because they largely fall a bit flat, and in their attempts to go against the grain actually rob the stories of their appeal. Fairytales are wish fulfilment things with lots of derring do and heroics. I get that the passive females are a bit old fashioned, but this ridiculous trend of turning every prince into a bungling fool and having the girl be resourceful is just as insulting.
Does the improvement of female characterisation have to come on the weakening of the male ones?
And there’s no need for it. Look at two of Disney’s classic movies- Aladdin and Beauty And The Beast– they follow the stories fairly closely, and the female characters aren’t exactly weak. Jasmine shows a bit more integrity than Aladdin and Belle is just delightful as she draws out the Beast’s humanity, she has a mix of great human qualities- kindness, compassion as well as integrity and strength of will.
Why not hark back to those? They’re great films and far better than any of the reworkings I listed above.
It doesn’t help that both of the two Snow White flicks look kinda crap. Mirror Mirror looks awful, with Julia Roberts overplaying it for laughs and some dire attempts at jokes.
But the weakness for me is Kirsten Stewart who when donning armour and carrying a sword just looks ridiculous. She looks like she couldn’t take on a mannequin.
Its not because she’s a girl, but because she looks like a little girl, maybe I’m carrying residual annoyance at her moping in Twilight, but Stewart doesn’t seem to show any grit or edge that would make her a convincing warrior princess.
Also, the main problem with Snow White is the whole “Fairest in the land…” thing. Now, with a cartoon that features two female characters (3 if you count the hag the witch turns into) then its easy to draw an attractive, perfect woman, although I must admit that like Woody Allen in Annie Hall I prefer the evil Queen in the Disney version.
But in a real life film its a tough burden to bear for an actress, they have to be flat out gorgeous, and I’m not getting that in either of these trailers. Don’t get me wrong, Stewart and Lily Collins are far from being ugly, but are they earth shatteringly, time-stoppingly beautiful?
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this is my blog so I am the beholder, and from what I’m beholding neither of them has that stunning quality. Even worse, Stewart has to go up against Theron in the fairest stakes, and from my seat, its not a close competition with Theron coming out on top.
I get that tweaking stories can give them a fresh spin, but the reason that these stories have endured for so long is because of what they were when they started out, and lets put it this way, will people be telling their kids the Snow White story we all know, or the one where Snow White puts on some armour?
Any thoughts? You know what to do. TTFN