I doubt it has escaped the notice of most people that in quite a short span of time, two movies based on the fairytale of Snow White have been released to theaters. Mirror Mirror was released in March, and Snow White and the Huntsman came out June 1st. I have decided to do a double review and then compare the two. Because I can.
Mirror Mirror was a comedic fantasy directed by Tarsem Singh that really plays with the original fairytale. The evil Queen (Julia Roberts) realizes she is poor and decides marriage with a rich prince will save her. The prince she sets her heart on however, Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) falls for the beautiful Snow White (Lily Collins). The evil Queen decides to have her killed. Snow White escapes, making it to the dark forest where she comes across a band of dwarf thieves. Snow White joins them and gathers the strength to take back her kingdom.
While this movie was mostly geared toward children, I mostly enjoyed it. I thought the interpretation was very creative. My favorite part was that instead of the prince kissing Snow White to awaken her, in Mirror Mirror, Snow White kisses the prince to awaken him from thinking that he is a dog. And for the most part, Snow White fights for herself, rather than the Prince fighting for her. Although I didn’t like how in one scene Snow White feels the need to tell the Prince just that. It made me feel like I was being clubbed over the head. However, considering that this movie is for children, I can understand it.
However, I found the characters very shallow. Even the most interesting character, the evil Queen is a flat cut out. The movie does not explain why she does what she does. Obviously she wants to be beautiful and powerful, but we need to know why. and possibly by poor acting or sloppy writing (I guess both), the characters of Snow White and the Prince are just not that fleshed out at all. I give this movie a 4 because I like the basic adaptation, but the characters just don’t hold up.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Snow White and the Huntsman is a British and American film directed by Rupert Sanders. In this version of Snow White, The evil Queen Revenna (Charlize Theron) discovers that Snow White’s heart can make her immortal. So when Snow Whte (Kristen Stuart) escapes imprisonment, the Queen orders the reluctant Huntsman (Chris Hensworth) to hunt her down. Quickly realizing the Queen’s deceit, the Hunstsman fights to get Snow White to safety so she can strike against the Queen and reclim her throne.
This movie had some really awesome things about it. The first thing I think of is Charlize Theron. She was a great evil Queen, and a joy to watch. To my excitement, this version of the evil Queen was very fleshed out. The movie explains why she has become so bitter and evil: because she felt men use women until they were tired of them and then leave them to rot. So the Queen uses beauty as power.
I also loved most of the special effects. The scene when the Queen breaks up into a bunch of crows is amazing. I also loved the mirror, which is basically a metallic, gelatinous man. There are many more, but those are the two I remember most.
However, there were some problems. First of all, I had no idea what any of the dwarves were saying ever, which was quite frustrating. Even worse, other than the Queen, the characters were very flat. Even more than that, the relationships between them were shallow. There were quite a few moments where I felt there were a lot of missed opportunities. For example, when Snow White is reunited with her childhood friend who she has been separated from for at least ten years, wouldn’t you expect a scene which includes at most running towards each other across a field of daisies or at least an akward hug? And pretty much the entire movie sexual tension is growing between the Huntsman and Snow White. So when William, who clearly loves Snow White joins the group, that should disrupt the dynamic. I also felt the ending was very rushed and anticlimactic. However, the movie was already getting long, so I can understand these holes. I think to help this, the begiing sequence could have been shortened. It was a good sequence to be sure, but not all of it was needed.
And then, I’m sure you were all expecting this, I have to complain about Kristen Stuart. She kind of seemed dazed and confused the entire movie. And even when she gives an inspiring peech, it seems as if she is thinking “Oh, I actually have a voice?” As my friend Kinsey said, Stuart was really good at letting the other actors act around her. Although I will admit she could have done a much worse job. But it wasn;t good enough. I suspect she was chosen because the film makers thought that if they chose Bella all the Twilight fans would come see the movie.
So taking everything into account, I give Snow White and the Huntsman a 6. And it is worth seeing, even if all you do is drool after Thor.
Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman have an interesting relationship. Mirror Mirror is a comedy meant for children while Snow White and the Huntsman was very dark and meant for young adults and up.
Obviously, both films are extremely different. However, both attempt to make the fairytale more relevant to today by making Snow White more active and assertive, thus making the story have more feminist appeal. I don’t think either truly succeeded, but I think Mirror Mirror got the closest. As I said before, Snow White is determined to fight for herself and she kisses the Prince rather than him kissing her. However, even though he says she doesn’t want to depend the Prince’s help, she pretty much does.
Snow White and the Huntsman tries to do this to an extant. Snow White rides into battle with her army. She kills the Queen. However, this adaptation still has the awakening kiss, which is extremely misogynist if you understand the symbolism. It basically says that women need to wait until true love (aka a husband) before their sexual awakening. However, unlike Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman does not end in a wedding, but rather Snow White’s coronation, making the story seem more about her instead of Snow White and the Huntsman together. I wonder if an adaptation of Snow White can be made in which there is no prince or romantic interest. But then it would be very far from the original fairy tale.
In conclusion, I would say Snow White and the Huntsman is the superior movie. It’s more dramatic and visually interesting. However, I think the story of Mirror Mirror is a more creative adaptation of Snow White.