No, really, what a great time to be a 12-year-old girl, huh? 2012 has summer movies that feature straight-up role models (Katniss and Rue in The Hunger Games, Black Widow holding her ground with demigods in The Avengers, Snow White, and later this summer: Brave). I recently caught an early screening of Snow White and The Huntsman, and like Thor and Red Riding Hood, there's no embargo for some early thoughts.
First off, the film needed -- say it with me, the sad refrain -- MORE people of colour, especially women. Also, also? Less heteronormativity. Speaking of, wouldn't it have been awesome if the Huntsman was a lady? Would've pushed that sucker right over into 4-star territory for the romantic tension alone.
At times, the film can't quite decide if it's a Zooey Deschanel daydream of fairy whimsy, a fan-made KStew/Bella YouTube music video, or Lord of the Rings. It's excusable, because it can be a little bit of all those things (all those somewhat derivative and somewhat cringe-worthy things) and still be enjoyable.
|Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.|
Dwarfs? Trolls? Fairies? All OK for Snowy, but mostly in the way of getting to an army. Let's hurry along now. There's an Evil Queen to fight.
And the Queen! Long live the Queen! Charlize Theron owned the movie, plain and simple.
I mean, really, even the film's marketing campaign can't escape her royal bad-ass. Check out the movie website. It's like it should be called: "QUEEN RAVENNA and that brat Snow White and sometimes Thor."
|Snow who with the what now?|
|Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful.|
We're all in the tower, we're all the princess, the witch, the sleeping beauty, the fairy. We're fighting death, fighting for regained youth, and fighting to stave off the fear of the unknown. HQIC (Head Queen In Charge) and Snowy are fighting their own fears that a woman's only worth in a patriarchal society is solely connected to her youth and beauty. Oh, hello same fight most women face every single day, how are you?
As for the romance, I really appreciated that it was secondary, as mentioned above. Snowy did shoot some eyes at her childhood-friend-turned-archer and her titular Huntsman, but thankfully the film did not fall into the trap of the angsty teen love triangle or become Medieval Twilight. If anything, impressionable youngin's watching the film may take away the idea that, hey, maybe young ladies (and lads) like yourself may want to kiss a few boys and see how you like it? And when you do meet a guy you spark with who respects you and makes your heart and ladyparts beat faster, he may not be all Prince Charming-y. He may have previous relationships (or a wife) and baggage and holy hi-ho-hi-ho that's really very normal, so get used to the idea.
The movie was a little "meh" at times, and there are somewhat problematic elements due to the fact that smaller-sized people were not cast in the role of the dwarfs; rather average-sized actors CGI-ed to scale. There are other actors beside Peter Dinklage who would like roles in Hollywood films. No need to hobbitify a role when there are capable and talented actors just waiting for a chance.
All that said, it's a much better take on the fairy tale genre than last year's Little Red 90210 and hopefully just a taste of what's to come with this summer's Brave and beyond. And long live the meaty roles for talented actresses who can be truly wicked.