wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
[personal profile] wealhtheow
This film is very conservative, in the way that a lot of fantasy turns out to be.  The good leaders are those who are born to it--even though Snow White has been locked up, without human interaction, education of any kind, or having anything to do with the kingdom, for the last ten years, she's still the best possible ruler for the kingdom, by virtue of her blood.  The poor woman who rose to power through her own skills is a terrible ruler, and just having her in power destroys the kingdom.  It's a classic trope, but it's still super weird to see a hereditary monarchy held up as the Best Governing System Possible.

Having Snow White and Ravenna as the two main characters makes the story feel a little more fresh.  Having the epic showdown be entirely between two women, and two women who fight viciously and bloodily, was a nice change from the usual.  Although why Snow White stands patiently for Ravenna to do her Epic Villain Monologue while killing her friends is beyond me.  You're two steps from Ravenna and she's killing your friends with magic--why just stand motionless?  It felt like either the (Doylist reasoning) the director was sloppy or (Watsonian) Snow White was stupid or scared.

As a character, Snow White is kinda awful.  I went into this movie completely willing to be won over by Kristen Stewart and Snow White.  She is very pretty and has a sword--really all she had to do was not annoy me and I'd love her forever. 
And yet!  Every single one of her scenes involves someone selflessly sacrificing themselves so she could escape!  The village girl, the horse, the dwarf, etc.  The number of times someone shouted "Go!" at her while she wept and fled was just...ridiculous.  If Snow White is renowned for her bravery and heart, I need to see it.  Also? She almost never speaks!  There are whole sections where it's just the dwarves talking to the Huntsman, or the Huntsman talking to William, while she stands there ducking her head or petting an animal or whatever.  The bit where she actually gives a speech and then leads them into battle was great, exactly what I wanted more of!  I just wish there'd been more indications earlier in the film that she was that sort of person, because for the vast majority of the film she seems to have no skills beyond lovability.

I don't really get how Snow White triumphed over Ravenna, in the end.  I feel like just stabbing her was kinda lazy storytelling.  Ravenna was obsessed with youth and beauty--wouldn't it have been cool if Snow White won over her by turning her back on those things?  Like, she has to choose between getting horribly burned and killing the witch-queen who is standing in the fire, or staying outwardly beautiful but losing the war?  Or Ravenna gives her the choice of being her right-hand and staying young and beautiful forever, like her, and Snow White turns it down?  Or at the very least, showing Snow White being tempted by the mirror and then smashing it instead?  idk.  Just pitting blade against blade did not feel satisfying, even though it was a nice visual.

I also don't get the romance?  I liked that Snow White is queen in her own right, and that the movie doesn't end with her wedding, like Disney Princess films generally do.  But it seemed like, if she liked anyone, it was William...but then it's the Huntsman's kiss that wakes her, and he's the one she seems to be looking for at her coronation.  So I'm not sure what was going on there, not least because the characters hardly talked to each other at all.

The visuals are gorgeous; they're what lured me to the film in the first place.  Very reminiscent of Legend or Labyrinth. 

But the movie is sooo sloooow.  There are whole sections that lasted way too long--every dwarf bit, for instance.  And the poor dwarves!  Yet again, dwarves are comic relief, instead of being fierce fey creatures in their own right.  Someday I will see a fantasy film that does not poke fun at dwarves even once, and that will be a glorious day.

Overall, it was ok.  I'd watch it again if it was mostly just the Ravenna scenes, with some of Snow White diving through sewers/running through the woods/riding into battle for good measure.
 

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wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
wealhtheow

July 2014

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