Disney Princess Film Festival – Event Cinemas

 

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Do you remember the first Disney Princess you wanted to be? I do….

Cinderella.

It is a tale that had me spellbound. I guess it still does.  It has the rest of the world spellbound too because it is one repeated in movie after movie after movie. Of course, these days Cinderella is likely to be a struggling Uni student and Prince Charming is the local butcher who searches the world…. or at least Facebook ….. until he finds her. But the story is the same…true love and a kind, pure heart can conquer all.

*sighs*

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Movie Review: Snow White & the Huntsman [M] – #SnowWhite

Director:  Rupert Sanders

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan,

Running Time :  127 minutes

Release Date :   June 21, 2012

From the very first moment, you know you’re in for a visual feast. The opening scenes set up a very gothic story of a beautiful Queen who wishes for nothing more than a daughter.  As three drops of blood stain the snow, her wish is granted. The kingdom rejoices but their joy is shortlived as their beloved Queen dies.  The King soon remarries the ravishing Ravenna (Theron) who is visibly jealous of the young Snow White (Stewart). As Ravenna walks down the aisle on her wedding day, all eyes are on the young Princess. Snow White’s fate has been sealed.

After the death of her father, the young Snow White is imprisoned by the evil new Queen. The gorgeous and vain Queen has a myriad of magical powers and with the help of her creepy brother Finn (Spruell) rules the Kingdom with a cruel hand. It isn’t long before all is dead and desolate.

On Snow’s 18th birthday, the magic mirror tells the Queen she is no longer the fairest in the land and to reclaim the title, she must have the heart of Snow White. Coincidentally, on this day Snow White escapes her tower prison and heads into the dark forest, a place the Queen has no power, magical or otherwise.  So the Queen sends a huntsman (Hemsworth), a man grieving the loss of his young wife and with nothing left to lose, to kill Snow White and bring back her heart.

The huntsman realises he has been duped and agrees to take Snow White to the castle of Duke Hammond, who was her father’s dear friend and advisor and who fights still to oust the evil Queen Ravenna.  Along the way, they encounter others who wish to see their beloved kingdom restored to it’s former glory, including 8 dwarfs and an array of magical creatures both fair and foul.

Theron is divine as Queen Ravenna. Unlike other versions of the Snow White tale, this movie offers a back story for the Queen and you actually feel empathy for her. Theron moves effortlessly between a sad, damaged, inwardly reflecting young woman who has suffered at the hands of many to an overtly theatrical and dramatic Queen who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. As fine an actress as she is, Theron is perfection when she is overplaying the drama, just shy of the absurd. The Queen’s costumes are gothic fantasy brought to life and should certain moments have been downplayed by even the arch of an eyebrow or the sweep of an arm, you fear Theron would have been engulfed by the costumes themselves.

Hemsworth is a fine huntsman with just the right amount of brawn, brains and bravado to play the hero. Having literally just walked off the Avenger’s set, Hemsworth was in fine physical form to play a sword wielding Scotsman, who sets out to rescue not only the damsel but an entire kingdom. My only complaint is that the thick Scottish drawl Hemsworth adopts for the role was difficult to understand at times.

Stewart, as the feisty Snow White, was the real surprise here. First of all, I was stunned at how beautiful she is in this movie. She was entirely believable as a young woman whose beauty could threaten that of the Queen.  Of course, her beauty was not quite the ethereal, ice queen beauty of Theron but more an earthy, Boadicea, warrior woman type of beauty. In fact, I couldn’t help but compare Stewart’s Snow White to the heroic Joan of Arc as she fought for her people. There is a lot to be said for a woman who will fight at the side of her men and not simply issue instructions and cast spells to aid her quest.

Yeah, take that Queen Ravenna!

Stewart’s acting could use some finesse, especially the deep emoting moments, but this is a young woman with the world at her feet and apparently, a lot to prove. Oh yes, I have seen the snide comments about Stewart and ‘Bella’ and I feel if you cannot walk into a movie theatre and differentiate between two separate, and very different, characters, then the fault lies with you, not the actor. I’m not seeing many comparisons between Hemsworth’s Thor and his Huntsman even though the similarities are indisputable, so why the Stewart hate?

The special effects, as evidenced by the trailer, are spectacular. From the very gothic and vaguely creepy magic mirror sequences, the non-human armies and the scenes involving the ravens, we are swept into a magical world of sorcery and spell casting. The sets are huge, dark and foreboding. The dark forest is literally alive. The castle is set apart from the rest of the kingdom and the only colour of real note is the colour of spilled blood. The dwarves are wonderfully crafted with the faces of some very familiar actors digitally placed onto the bodies of real life little people. It is very effective.

I really enjoyed this dark re-telling of the Snow White tale. It is a fine complementary partner to 2012’s other Snow White movie, the high camp and very quirky Mirror, Mirror. The two are as different as night and day and thus complement each other perfectly. These movies show that an eye cast over the same story can envision two very separate outcomes.

Special mention for the most adorable fairy/pixies I have seen for a long time. No glitter or pink for these fairies, these are the pixies of childhood dreams…..or my long lost Brownie lore.

Snow White and the Huntsman [M]

 

Hollywood loves to make their movies in pairs and 2012 is the year of the Snow White retelling. I have already seen and reviewed Mirror, Mirror which is a high camp farce for all ages. This new Snow White movie is something else entirely. It looks dark and gothic with Twilight’s Bella Swan Cullen Kristen Stewart as Snow White.

Charlize Theron as the evil Queen looks gorgeously scary and Chris Hemsworth, last seen in The Avengers is wielding a mighty sword yet again as the ill fated huntsman sent to kill the young Snow White.

I cannot wait for this movie as dark and gothic is certainly my bag baby. Here is what IMDB has to say:

Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen. Unable to tolerate the insult to her vanity, the evil queen decides that Snow White must die. The queen sends a huntsman to kill Snow White. However the huntsman finds himself unable to murder the innocent young woman, and instead ends up training her to become a warrior capable of threatening the queen’s reign.

In Aussie cinemas 21 June 2012

Get excited RAWR!!!

Mirror, Mirror [PG]

 

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.