Monday, June 25, 2012
Snow White and the Huntsman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Snow White and the Huntsman shows a lot of promise when it first starts. In fact, the entire first act of the film unfolds perfectly with the introduction of the Evil Queen and how she quickly takes over the Kingdom after she murders the King and imprisons his daughter. Knights, swords, magic, it's all rolled out "old skool" style like those fantasy films from the 80's that i used to enjoy so much growing up as a kid.
That's what i loved most about Huntsman, it completely indulges in the fact that it's a fantasy film. The design team must have had a ball bringing it to life, it looks amazing on screen. Sadly, the amazing visuals aren't strong enough to hide some under-developed characters and an unevenly paced storyline.
After an initial promising beginning, Huntsman slowly starts to become a little boring as we hit the middle mark of the film. As we are introduced to the dwarves and the blossoming romance between Snow White and the Huntsman, i noticed that i started to not care about what was happening in the story.
The main issue with the dwarves is that they weren't as interesting as they should have been. Sure they looked the part, and made some slightly amusing jokes every now and again, but overall, the history and depth the writers attempted to add into Snow White's mission of revenge via the dwarves and their "wisdom" felt flat and uninspired.
Speaking of uninspired, the romance between the Huntsman and Snow White had zero chemistry and i had no idea why either of them were attracted to each other. It was an addition to the story that felt forced, like the makers felt like it HAD to have a romance otherwise it would be missing something. To be honest, i thought Snow White's childhood relationship with the Prince showed more potential as a future romance than with the Huntsman, they at least shared a history.
The middle section of the film also brings the fast pace of the beginning of the story to a sudden halt. Had the new characters introduced to us during this time been more interesting, this wouldn't have been an issue, but since i didn't care about most of them, it all just felt a bit dull. Thankfully, one of the best moments in the film occurs during these parts which brings the stories excitement level up again as Snow White enters the Fairy Forest. It's a beautifully created scene that brings the story back to Snow White herself and leaves the boring new characters on the sidelines where they deserve to be. This is followed by the poison apple scene and Snow White's "death", which were also both nicely done.
As we near the end of the film, and as things start to pick up again in the story, we are left with a build up to what feels like a possibly epic final confrontation between the Queen and Snow White. Once both woman are finally face to face ready to slug it out though, we unfortunately get a very quick and anti climatic battle that should have been so much bigger than what was presented to us.
The Queen was supposed to be very powerful and dangerous, and she seems like a pretty easy kill at the end of the day. I know she was weak by the time we reach the ending, but still, she was so desperate to live forever and so willing to showcase that throughout the whole film, i expected her to put up a bit more of a fight.
Casting wise they did a decent job. Much has been debated about Kristen Stewart in this role, people don't seem to think she looks the part of "fairest of them all" when compared to Charlise Theron's obvious stronger beauty, however, i still think Stewart brought her own sort of beauty to the role of Snow White. Her big beautiful green eyes, her long dark hair, it suited the character well and she played the part believably.
Chris Hemsworth is decent as the Huntsman, however he does look a little bored at times since he really isn't given anything challenging to do other than act like a poor mans Thor.
The real winner of the piece however is Charlize as the Queen. She's a very dark character, Charlize merges psychotic and beautiful successfully. She did at times scream a little too much, but i guess that added to the melodrama of the character anyway.
Overall, Snow White and the Huntsman is an enjoyable enough film if you like fairytales for adults. Had it executed pacing more evenly and had a stronger finale, i would have loved it. As it stands though, Huntsman is a pretty looking, but flawed movie. Decent enough for a watch certainly, but it could have been so much more with some tweaking.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace
Directed by: Ridley Scott
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.
In case you've been living under a rock for the last year, Prometheus has been hinted at being a very loosely based prequel to the Alien franchise. Because of that, Alien fans are very curious as to how much both films are linked together.
In Prometheus, any links to Alien are fairly low key. Essentially what we are given are two different teams from two different franchises existing in the same universe, but having two different storylines beginning from the same source material".
The tone and feel of Prometheus borrows very heavily from Alien. Giger's artistic creations take center stage once again, which gives the movie a great nostalgic throwback feel to the Alien series.
Seeing the film on IMAX really gave the visuals of the movie a spotlight to shine under. Every sweeping landscape was beautifully showcased, and Ridley's always slick direction looked amazing on the big screen. When it comes to aesthetics, Prometheus gets everything right.
Story wise, every character follows a similar pattern to a lot of these sorts of sci-fi films with characters being a good mix of curious doctors, captains, hard arsed corporate big wigs and assorted angry and wild crew members being thrown into random events throughout the course of the film.
Nothing new is brought in as far as character development is concerned, although it wasn't really an issue since the characters are likeable enough and cast well. Stand outs are Charlize Theron as the cold Meredith Vickers, and Michael Fassbender as the intelligent robot, David.
Much like Alien, the pacing is slow and steady with some great tension as the drama starts to kick into gear. Anything Prometheus lacks in mildly under-developed characters gets made up for with an entertaining story.
My only small gripe with the film was that it didn't actually answer the two big questions the movie was asking of the audience to actually stick around for. I would have been happy to have at least one answered, but the answers to "why were we made" and "why are we being destroyed" don't actually come to any sort of resolution. Of course that would be something that could be explored in a sequel, however, i still think the movie felt too open ended. Sure the characters discover where we came from, but it wasn't enough for me to really feel like i got as much as i needed from the story as a pay off.
The one thing that made up for that was the one and only moment of the film that really tied a strong link to Alien, and that was a scene that pops up right at the end. I won't go into detail about what it was, but it certainly put a smile on my face as a fan of the Alien series. It was a good fan finish.
Overall, Prometheus was a solid film. It feels completely unfinished in many ways, and i guess we'll see more of it once the next movie comes along. For now though, Alien fans will get a lot out of it, and non fans will be in for a well directed and tense sci-fi drama.