Jun 17, 2012

Snow White and the Garbageman

Okay. First off, I love the idea of doing Snow White as a live action and making it a dark tale. But then, I saw what they did with it. I don’t know what happened, but something went wrong. I’m not going to compare it to the Disney animation because I expect it to be very different. I would be disappointed if it wasn't. There’s just… something wrong here. I’ll try to explain.

The movie starts with the villain taking over the kingdom by marrying and then killing the king. The princess, Snow White, is locked up in a tower where she resides for years. Let me make sure this is understood. They never let her out, not to stretch her legs, go on a walk, or a cross country run. She was unable to get any type of exercise at all. When she escapes by overpowering the evil queen’s brother (I’ll come back to this later), she is able to run away and escape the castle. She goes from being locked up in a small room to being able to run for miles, evading soldiers who go through physical training for their job. At a later seen toward the end of the movie, she wears full battle armor and runs up stairs to the top of a tower… and… is… not… even… winded. She’d be dead half way up trying to do that. But whatever. Artistic license, right?

Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest, because every fantasy story apparently needs a dark forest. The evil queen cannot chase her down herself because her magic does not work in the forest because… I don’t know. It just doesn’t, okay. Isn’t that good enough for people who read fantasy. They never question what they are reading. I mean, come on, they read about magic and elves and faries. They don’t care if things make sense.

Screw you, movie.

So the queen sends her evil brother to chase her down with the huntsman as a guide into the dark forest, after she just handed his ass to him. So he’s a wimp, basically. Well, that changes. He goes from screaming like a little bitch when Snow White overpowers him to being able to beat the crap out of the huntsman like he is a hobbit. So how did this happen? Probably because the story called for it. That surely justifies such a change.

Then there are the dwarfs. Yes they exist, and they are there mostly for comedic distraction. The problem with them is they are not really funny. In fact, there is so little character buildup with them that what is supposed to be a touching scene when one of the seven is killed by an arrow, I found myself wondering why they even tried to look sad. I thought it was more akin to losing a spoon from the pack. Sure it is kinda annoying, but there are six more. Oh, and one other thing about the dwarfs. There are seven, one is killed leaving six. They even say there are six dwarfs then. So there only being six is verified by the movie. Why are there seven at the end? I counted, a few times, just to be certain. Seven. Seven. There were six, but then there were suddenly seven at the end. Did they forget the script when shooting the last scene and forgot how many dwarfs they were supposed to have? Movie, can you really think we’re this dumb?

And the thing that annoys me the most with this movie is that it steals from so many others. Yes, to be fair, there is a lot of borrowing that goes on in fantasy. This is true of any genre as similar themes and ideas will find their way through many different stories. But there is a difference from borrowing an idea and plagiarism. When you borrow an idea, or even give homage to another, there is a little wink in there, saying we know we are borrowing it and are admitting it. Plagiarism is when you take the idea and portray it as your own with no mention of where the idea may have come from. There was a traveling scene that I swear was ripped straight out of the Two Towers. You know the one, where Aragorn, Legolis, and Glimi are traveling across the land hunting down the orcs that took Marry and Pippin. But maybe I’m the only one who noticed. Who has seen this Lord of the Rings thing anyway? Another one that I thought was very blatant was when they meet the Forest Spirit. It was a giant elk with the most amazing rack of antlers. It was an almost perfect depiction of the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke. But again who would get that reference? Because surely no American would watch this has ever seen anime before, especially one from Hayao Miyazaki. Who is that anyway? He couldn’t be a big name in animation, could he?

And this movie even has a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a reference from the Nostalgia Chick. In the movie All Dogs Go To Heaven, there is a scene where the main hero Charlie is sacrificed to a big lipped alligator in the sewer. He ends up singing with the alligator in the most surreal scene in that movie… AND IT IS NEVER SPOKEN OF AGAIN. Something so weird, so out of place, and it is not even referenced back to. The BLAM moment in Snow White was with troll on a bridge… because that’s where trolls are? It is about to kill the huntsman, and she stands up to it and yells. It yells back and she falls on her behind… and then they have a staring competition, and the troll goes away. Moving on now, because it is never mentioned again. That’s a bad movie. Bad. You deserve a time out!

And of course, Snow White, who grew up locked in a tower, dons armor in the end and plays at being Joan of Arc, sword fighting and everything. She was shown (rather awkwardly and for no apparent reason at the time) how to defend herself with one single move. This then latter makes her into a battle hardened warrior princess like Xena with no further training.

I have to admit some of the visuals were downright awesome, like the queen reforming out of a puddle of dead birds that landed head first into a brick floor and gooeyed themselves. And then there are the whimsical fairies that crawl out of bird chests like on Aliens. Less blood in this one though, but not as magical as I think they intended. It is a pretty movie, but it treats us all like we ride the short buss. In summary, the only thing I can guess that would have caused this movie to fail so badly was it must have been written by someone who has never read a fantasy book or watched a good fantasy movie. They must have had one explained to them many years ago and decided to try to write one without an understanding of the genre at all. They threw in every element and story idea they have heard about being in fantasy stories with no understanding of why. All I can really say is: Bad movie, no apple for you… unless it’s poisoned. Then you can eat it all you want.

Happy Reading
--R. A. Wilson

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