Briefly: Snow White and The Huntsman

So the wife said, “We’re going to see Snow White and The Huntsman. Want to come along?” I’d seen the trailers and it didn’t look horrible. So yeah. I don’t generally do much about current releases here, having less control over the presentation than I do with home video, not being able to rewind and confirm and the like.

I got reminded why I don’t do opening weekends. School is out, and even at a 3:00 showing, the theater is packed. But if there is one good thing about modern theater sound systems, they blare over the idiots in the dark. Until quiet moments. Then the hatred returns.

Like everybody else in the Net, I will start with the movie’s three major mistakes:

1) The worst: it spends its running time reminding you of other movies, instead of establishing its own character. There is a difference between wearing your influences with pride, and shopping for your own clothes.

2) Every fight scene is done with that thrice-damned close-up-shot-through-a-telephoto-lens style that started with Gladiator and has been dutifully aped in every movie with action scenes since. Making it worse: occasional intercutting with wide shots where you can actually tell what is going on. It is not immersive, it does not make the action more immediate, it is just confusing. Stop it.

3) It tries to make me believe that Kristen Stewart is prettier than Charlize Theron.

Past that, I actually enjoyed it.

1) Kristen Stewart is a better actress than I had credited. One of the ladies I was with opined that “she was acting with her teeth,” but hell, I was just glad she was acting. Some starlets don’t bother.

2) Charlize Theron always bothers, and holy cow does she act the hell out of the black queen.

3) Chris Hemsworth, I fear you are already typecast. But that is because you’re so good at this.

I’m kind of startled at the amount of vitriol I’ve seen unleashed at this movie, even given the three major problems I listed above. I was entertained, even at times spellbound by the imagery, and there is some great imagery in this movie.

When I sit down to watch a movie, the covenant I strike is simple: The movie agrees to entertain me, and I agree to be entertained. I’m actually a pretty easy mark. I do not expect every movie to blow me out the back of the theater; I do not expect to be constantly struck speechless by spectacle. I do not expect to have my life changed. It is sufficient to me that I simply go somewhere else for a couple of hours.

There are still movies that fail at hitting even that low mark. Snow White and The Huntsman wasn’t one of those. I went somewhere else for a couple of hours, brought back only briefly by the girl behind me demanding her date explain to her what had just happened.  Och, young people these days. Even have to have fairy tales explained to them.

If nothing else, I got a dwarf fix that will last me until The Hobbit next Christmas. Yes, it does come off as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Snow White, and while that is a curious thing, it is not necessarily a bad one.

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2 Comments

  1. I think the higher benchmarks from audiences now are mostly due to the higher cost in going out. You lay down $10 – $12 a ticket and then add on top of that, your entertainment threshold tends to rise. “I paid for this? Dance for me, monkey!”

    I’ve got a “second run” theater near me, so I don’t have that problem (the quotes are because they tend to get films about a month after release now, sometimes while they’re still playing at the multiplex). $3.50 a movie, plus $2 Tuesday. Sadly, it doesn’t appear they’re getting Snow White and the Huntsman, which I kinda wanted to see on the big screen.

    Also…sitting in a theater is the only way I can sit through a movie now without a break. I used to spend entire afternoons watching movies back-to-back, but now I’m lucky I get through the first 20 minutes before I hit the pause button. It’s not the movies themselves, ’cause it’s all kinds and eras (heck, I just watched Ball of Fire over two nights); it’s that I suddenly have no patience anymore. I thought it was supposed to be the reverse when I got old. Sigh.

    • That is a very good point about the ticket price raising the expectation threshold. Sadly, that also feeds into a lot of vicious circles; high expectations constantly tumbled, therefore excessively hyperbolic bad word of mouth (“This movie was the worst thing since the heat death of the universe!”), therefore an increasingly timorous Hollywood only puts money down on known moneymakers, therefore more pablum (only louder) is produced, leading to bad word of mouth. etc.

      Who am I kidding? Transformers 3 was one of the biggest money makers ever, and we are never going to have nice things again.


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