Director : Tarsem Singh
Starring : Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mark Povinelli, Jordan Prentice
Running Time : 106 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now
‘The Snow White legend comes alive’
We all know the story of Snow White. King and Queen have a baby they call Snow White. Queen dies and King remarries beautiful but evil Queen *boo, hiss*. Queen uses magic mirror to reinforce self esteem and body image but eventually Snow White grows up and mirror doesn’t lie and tells Queen that Snow White is fairest of them all. Queen loses it and orders Snow White be killed. The killer can’t do it and lets Snow go, making her promise never to return. Snow ends up living with 7 hard working dwarfs. Snow meets Prince who sweeps her off her feet, saves her and her Kingdom. Evil Queen is thwarted and they all live happily ever after.
This retelling is a little different. This one is told from the point of view of the evil Queen (Roberts). She has her devoted-ish underling Brighton (Lane) who does all her dirty work but mostly everyone is afraid of her. During early exchanges in the movie, it becomes clear that this Queen has an acid tongue and is not shy of sarcasm. Eye rolling and sneering and all. I like it.
Many years before, her husband, the King, went missing and she barely tolerates the presence of the young Snow White (Collins), making her keep mostly to her bedroom all by herself. The castle servants adore Snow and never let her give up hope the Kingdom will be hers once more. Today is Snow White’s 18th birthday so changes are afoot.
The Queen has basically drained the life out of her Kingdom with heavy taxes to fund her lavish lifestyle so is disliked by everyone. She is also broke and thus needs to find herself a new rich husband. Enter the dashing young Prince Alcott (Hammer) who is very handsome and very rich. He has also just had a nasty encounter with thieves in the forest. These thieves are 7 dwarfs. He meets a beautiful young woman whom he falls instantly in love with. You’re starting to see it all, right?
Okay, this is where the fun really starts. The handsome Prince is bought to the Queen shirtless and as they talk, the Queen is amusingly distracted by the handsome man before her and, as she fumbles around for words, she reluctantly requests that a shirt be bought for the Prince to wear so she can concentrate. The kiddies in the cinema didn’t quite catch why the grown ups were chuckling.
So the Queen sets her sights on the handsome young Prince and throws a grand ball in his honour. It’s a costume ball and the costumes are really rather dazzling. Spectacular in fact. Lots of food, dancing and merriment ensues. The Prince dances with Snow White and the smitten young couple only have eyes for each other.
Alas this is a fairy tale and true love never did run smooth. Snow White is sent to her death but survives and stumbles upon the 7 dwarves…..or they stumble upon her….it’s not really a pivotal plot point. She is not very welcome by all of them but manages to negotiate one night under their roof. Of course, as we know, she proves her worth and moves in permanently.
I loved the dwarves. I loved the different personalities and the quick, sharp wit. Of course, this is partly due to writing but the delivery by the various actors is fantastic. They quickly became my favourite characters, especially the love struck Half Pint (Povinelli) who is so endearingly in love with Snow White that you cannot help but smile each time he tries to charm her.
Snow White joins her band of merry thieves and becomes quite the swordswoman. When she encounters the Prince again, once more stuck in a sticky situation, she decides she has read enough of Princesses being rescued and sets about doing the rescuing herself. This could have been overtly feminist and awkward but it is not.
Remember how Snow was sequestered in her bedroom and had little to do but read? Yeah, her feisty nature comes from the love of her people and from the fairy tales she herself has read. Team Snow!
So she sets about claiming what is rightfully hers with her new skills and new friends in tow.
I liked this movie. It made me laugh, smile and giggle. It had plot holes as big as plot holes can be but it just worked. This is a Disney movie after all and with a PG rating, it was as snippy, clever and sarcastic as it could be without putting itself out of reach of it’s main audience. I would go so far as calling it campy good fun. Nice clean campy good fun but campy fun nonetheless.
Roberts was really great as the evil Queen with just the right amount of bitchiness. Hammer was gorgeous as the handsome Prince. But it is Collins who stole the show. She was really engaging as Snow White and walked the fine line between fairy tale Princess and modern chick with apparent ease.
This is a great movie to take your own little feisty princess to see. This movie has all the elements of a lovely afternoon out for mums and daughters…..or any other variations you care to think of.
Is it a great movie? No it is not. Should you wait till DVD? No, you should not. Well maybe, yes. This is a good movie if you are pulling your hair out during the last week of the school holidays (here in NSW least).
Make sure you hang around for the Bollywood ending. No one can accuse this movie of taking itself too seriously, that’s for sure.