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Snow White and the Huntsman

In the story of Snow White, if you remember, the huntsman is the guy who the evil queen sends to bring Snow White out into the woods and murder her. He’s gonna do it, ’cause work is work, but then he looks at her and falls in love with her beauty or is touched by her innocence or what have you and he just doesn’t have the stomach to, you know, cut open her stomach. (If she was ugly this would be a shorter tale). The Queen wants to know for sure the girl is dead but probly thinks it would be rude to make this guy haul back the whole body, so as a compromise she asks him to bring back some organs  (lungs and liver in the original, heart in the Disney version) so he carves up a pig and brings her impostor parts.

In this new movie-fication of the story the huntsman (Chris THOR Hemsworth) has to go find Snow White (Kristen PANIC ROOM Stewart) in the woods and bring the heart back to the Queen (Charlize Theron) because she needs it to magically stay young forever. He doesn’t know who the girl is and there’s not much tension like he’s really gonna kill her, he just doesn’t do it and then they travel on one of those slow, boring fantasy journeys occasionally enlivened by monster appearances. No pigs are harmed.

It’s not like “this is the story, but through the point of view of the huntsman.” It’s just a variation on the same story but now the huntsman is in most of it. Even in the beginning part before he shows up he’s the narrator, he gets to say “once upon a time.” I don’t know who he’s supposed to be telling this story to. Is he talking to us? How does he know about us?

The Queen has a gong hanging on her wall that’s her magic mirror, she thinks it even turns into the shape of a reflective guy who talks to her (a cool effect). In one shot we see her brother watching and she’s talking to nobody, implying that it’s all in her head, she’s crazy. Except she’s not: she really has an army of mirror people, she can morph into a bunch of crows, etc. Maybe this is the loophole to explain why a magic mirror would tell her she was not as “fair” as Snow White even though she looks like Charlize Theron. Yeah, she has magic powers and all that but this one aspect, the talking mirror man, is just a manifestation of her low self esteem.

She does have alot of wrinkles that she has to keep down through magic means. She can devour people’s life force and stuff. She didn’t know the Dorian Gray trick, I guess. In one part she bathes in white paint, but maybe it’s supposed to be milk. Maybe coconut milk. I don’t know if animal milk would be that perfectly white back then. I’m pretty sure this was before Louis Pasteur.

from IMDb trivia: Although Republican Presidential candidate John Huntsman dropped out of the race in January of 2012 it was too late to pull the plug on the film, which was released several months later as planned.

Charlize has the most fun. She doesn’t make it into a joke or anything but she’s going pretty mega and does a scene where she just writhes around on the ground for a long time.

Snow does run into the seven dwarfs (sic), who are played by Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and two other guys I didn’t recognize (Johnny Harris and Brian Gleeson). It’s a very impressive special effect, except pretty distressing because seven little people actors had to get their faces covered so that famous people could take the credit. “Hey buddy, we like your size and all but we’re gonna go with somebody else for the head.”

The dwarves help out and even make an anti-whistling joke (get it? “Whistle While You Work.” These aren’t your great grandfather’s seven dwarves!) but she doesn’t stay at their house. You dumb motherfuckers, don’t you know she’ll wash your dishes and do your laundry for you, and generally make everybody happier? You’re not taking proper advantage of the situation.

Oh well, I guess this is not that Snow White, and she doesn’t sing to birds and animals. It almost seems like she’s going to. There’s a part where she comes to a land of fairies and all kinds of badgers and squirrels and turtles and shit come around, but they don’t land on her hands and she just smiles, doesn’t warble. She does have a life-long relationship with some birds who seem to point her in the directions she should go, and at first it seems weird considering the lifespan of birds, but later it turns out there are little sprite guys inside the birds controlling them, and they probly live as long as a Snow White I guess.

The twist here is that Snow White is some kind of ecological chosen one. She can talk to animals and calm down a rampaging tree monster in much the same way as Riddick calms a dog monster. She’s so in tune with nature, in fact, that she makes the entire forest re-enact her favorite scene from PRINCESS MONONOKE, where a big deer god comes out and inspires awe but then gets shot with an arrow.

I think they make a point of trying to make her character active and not the passive, squeaky, singing housekeeper from the Disney version. They mention in the beginning how she was known for her tenacity or something, I don’t know. When she’s escaping from imprisonment she crawls down a sewer and dives off a waterfall without hesitation. Then in the middle part she does more moping but at the end she does a big BRAVEHEART speech. “WHO WILL GO WITH ME? WHO WILL BE MY BROTHER!?” “AAAAYYYYYEEEE!!!” Even though none of them saw that cool dive she did they follow her and luckily have armor that fits her little girl body.

Hemsworth plays a good tough guy, but they don’t give him much of a character to play, which might explain why Tom Hardy, Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen and Hugh Jackman all turned it down before the producers or somebody said “hey, what was that movie I just saw? THOR. I guess him.” They’re working on a sequel, where we will be excited to find out what further adventures in huntsmanship he has. If he has two axes we’ll recognize him as probly the same character.

Without caring about the characters this is a pretty boring movie.I probly made a mistake choosing the extended cut. It would be nice, though, if more fantasy movies looked as good as this. The cinematography is beautiful, with deep colors and contrasts but different from that Narnia type of look. Also some nice uses of darkness and light, such as the night time sword fight with flames in the background. The special effects are excellent, especially the tree troll guy, who looks like somebody Hellboy would know. But I think it’s a gorilla inside a motion capture suit.

So we’ve had new versions of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and SNOW WHITE where the title characters are the chosen one and lead an army into a battle against evil at the end. I guess next will be CINDERELLA, PETER PAN, maybe LADY AND THE TRAMP. I figure the lady is probly the chosen one and the tramp is the huntsman in that one. Also Dumbo and Bambi will look good in armor.

This might sound tasteless but hear me out. They gotta do a Jesus movie like this. Maybe the sword fights would go against what we think of Jesus, but you gotta consider new angles for getting the young people interested. It could work. Think about it, Hollywood.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 1:16 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

95 Responses to “Snow White and the Huntsman”

  1. I would watch that Jesus movie.

  2. The Original... Paul

    September 12th, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I was actually considering seeing this, but right now Charlize Theron is acting as a massive red flag for me. The two movies I’ve disliked the most this summer have featured her in them, and I’m not itching to make it a hat-trick.

  3. The Original... Paul

    September 12th, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Also I would totally watch that Jesus movie as well. Film producers, please take note!

  4. I find it ironic that these fairy tale movies are vogue right now, but they never did get around to making a movie of American McGee’s Alice even though they planned to for years and years

    also, does anyone remember that Sigourney Weaver movie “Snow White: A Tale of Terror”?

  5. Didn’t they do a kung fu Jesus with the Matrix? Swordfighting Jesus would be a slightly different spin.

  6. I remember reading a review for that particular Snow White movie with Sigourney Weaver in a local paper. It was back when people were still reading newspapers. The reviewer reported that the crowd had a lot more fun making up dialogue when the sound went out partway through the movie than actually watching it.

  7. This is one of those movies that I really don’t care for at all. The trailer looked so generic and boring and the shot of Hemsworth, wielding his axe like Thor wields his hammer, so that audiences immediately remember where they know him from, was too much for me.

  8. “So we’ve had new versions of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and SNOW WHITE where the title characters are the chosen one and lead an army into a battle against evil at the end. I guess next will be CINDERELLA, PETER PAN, maybe LADY AND THE TRAMP.”

    HOOK was sort of that version of Peter Pan…………….

  9. Paul, if it makes you feel better, isnt she considered the best partd of those movies? What was the other one besides Promethius?

  10. I liked this. I agree that emotionally it’s not very involving – It’s not particularly funny, or exciting, or touching. But the characters and actors are likable enough, and the conflicts strong enough. I liked it how the witch was at times very vulnerable, almost sympathetic in her pain.

    Visually it’s really cool.

    And I don’t get why people have a problem with Stewart. She was solid in this, and fit the role well. I’ve never seen Twilight movies, so I guess I will never find out why so many people dislike her. She’s been excellent in several movies.

  11. Sternshein: If I remember correctly, Paul had an allergic reaction to YOUNG ADULT earlier this year, not unlike Nolte’s allergic reaction depicted in Griff’s avatar.

    I don’t suppose I can convince you to go back to the cartoon Helen Hunt avatar, can I Griff?

  12. I liked this for the same reasons that I liked Immortals: Eye Candy. This is arguably the prettiest movie of the year. If you’re into good cinematography, it’s worth a look.

    Stewart wasn’t as annoying as I thought she would be (I actually think she’s okay in films like Adventureland and Into The Wild). Charlize was great (South Africa represent!).

    As for Paul not liking Young Adult… Yeah, that sounds like the Paul we all know.

  13. Yeah, Vern, I liked the visuals too. They made the film feel like a throwback to 80s stuff like LADYHAWKE, especially with the more gritty feel to the world and there not being so much overt fantasy stuff, just a grimy medieval setting most of the time. It is a pretty big what the fuck that Snow White, as played by Stewart, is considered better looking than Charlize Theron. She’s not ugly or anything, but…not stunning. I even thought some of the scarred ladies were better looking than her(and that’s not a derogatory thing, as these are just good looking women with a couple of lines on their faces. Not Two-Face or anything). Which reminds me:

    SPOILERS

    There’s this whole thing with her childhood friend hearing she’s alive and going looking for her, and to do it, he infiltrates the Queen’s brother’s gang. This includes him just standing by as they set fire to that village with the scarred woman, and only breaking his cover once he learns Snow White is there. I kept expecting SOMEONE to give him shit for that later on, but no one brings it up.

    END SPOILERS

    RE: Dwarf actors…ehh, I dunno. You have a point about the attitude of casting, but in fantasy fiction, aren’t Dwarves meant to be like an actual RACE, and not just people with Dwarfism, and therefore not physically quite the same as a real life little person, with differences in proportions and such? Still, maybe it wouldn’t be an issue if there were more Peter Dinklage-types they could have gotten. The guy from IN BRUGES, for instance.

  14. @tuukka: I think it’s guys who have a problem with Kristen Stewart. She reminds them [us] of that Unique Rebel Girl we all knew in high school, for whom hitting on was more a step over than a step up. When she rebuffed them [us], it wasn’t a total, ego-flattening surprise. But when she later took up with this tall, skinny dreadlocked goober named Trent, they [we] realized she was in fact a stupid bitch for wasting herself on such a mook, and dismissed the whole matter.

    …Until such time as Stewart popped up on the radar after the first Twilight movie, thus reminding them [us] of that high school nonsense. Plus she’s just not that good of an actress, unless sullen/a 3 bong hits buzz demeanor is what’s required. She does lassitude like it’s nobody’s business. Still, I’d hit that given the chance, but only doggystyle.

  15. It’s not that complicated. She got famous for something that only girls like. Young guys hate that with a passion that is completely disproportionate to the alleged crimes commited. It’s happened to everyone from Leonardo Dicaprio to Justin Beiber, and it’ll happen to whatever person or thing 13-year-old girls latch onto next. As grown-ass men, I think it’s pretty important for us to stay out of it altogether, as having an opinion on the viewing/listening habits of little girls is probably the least badass thing in the world.

  16. The only movie that I ever saw with Stewart was ZATHURA and she was quiet alright in that one.

  17. Stewart is pretty good in ADVENTURELAND, but then Robert Pattinson is pretty good in COSMOPOLIS too, so who knows?

  18. I second the calls of all pretty and no substance for this flick. It feels like the studio’s hands were all over it. While the natural story arc favors a sorta Princess Leia/Han Solo dynamic between Snow White and the Huntsmen the suits had to go and wedge in this childhood romance because it’s deemed from the box office that two men must vie for the hand of the heroine (see the recent RED RIDING HOOD for another example of same), regardless of how unwieldy it makes the plot.

    Now, I’m all for this dynamic. After all, us guys have plenty of movies where Bond or heroes of a similar persuasion work their way through a choice collection of screen beauties ‘cus that’s something guys want to see. If women like the two suitor dynamic then that’s fine, but the second suitor shouldn’t feel wedged into the plot as though he were—oh, I don’t know—some studio mandated fourth draft insert. Everything about the prince feels tacked on a gratuitous, and that’s why his scenes feel hollow, to cite one example of where this movie falls short.

    That being said, Theron is the best part of the movie, like she was in her other summer movies this year. That, I think, is the mark of a star; they’re the best thing in a movie, even if the rest of the production falls flat. I can’t wait to see her in FURY ROAD. Fun times should be had, or so I hope.

  19. I thought the prince was in there because that’s the Snow White story – she ends up with the prince, the huntsman is only in that one part. But you’re right, he still seemed like an after thought. “Oh shit, isn’t there supposed to be a prince?”

  20. My wife has made me sit through a couple of the TWILIGHT films and I have seen THE RUNAWAYS, based on what I have seen I don’t think Stewart is anywhere near as bad as an actress as she is made out to be. I think if anything she has been miscast in roles that don’t play to her strengths. I think the main reason she gets hated on so much is because of what Mr. M was alluding to earlier.

  21. I guess b/c I’ve never seen the original Snow White (any of them) I for some reason thought the Huntsman was always her love interest and the love triangle just reeked of post-Twilight “Team Edward/Jacob” marketing (like the aforementioned Red Riding Hood).

    Other than that, I actually thought this could have been great, but is only a solid matinee. There’s great ideas and it has the foundation and visuals for a classic, but the middle-section is too soggy and the action at the end was poorly shot. Not to mention out of nowhere – most of the events of the last half of the movie seem to happen because the story dictates it, not because of a natural progression to the story, if that makes any sense. There’s absolutely NOTHING leading to Snow White leading an army into battle, other than the commercials for the movie.

    Still, I was genuinely moved by that last scene between Theron and Stewart, and this movie does get points for being yet another “dark and gritty” reboot while still embracing the magic and fantastical stuff from the story (like Vern I’m still wondering about that “it’s all in her head” mirror scene though)

  22. This movie was an absolute chore for me to sit through. I can watch lengthy David Lean epics with no problem, but for some reason Snow White and the Huntsman felt like it went on forever. I think part of the problem was that the film was so repetitive. The good guys run away. Eventually the bad guys catch up. The good guys run away again. The bad guys catch up again. Etc., etc. And then there’s a big battle where Kristen Stewart has magically learned how to swing a sword and lead an army.

  23. I myself can´t get my head wrapped around whatever it is that´s popular amongst teenagers, so I steer clear of it. They like Justin Bieber? Great for them. I don´t get it, but on the other hand I don´t get the hate for him either. It all seems immature to me.

  24. I think you guys are forgetting that Stewart was the girl in Panic Room too. She held her own with Jodie Foster at, like, 12.

    Also, while we’re on the subject of objectifying women that none of us will ever know on a personal level; yeah, I’d do her. But then, I go for sullen and pale. And androgyny. And tattoos. And facial piercings. But I guess two out of five ain’t bad.

  25. fair play, full disclosure: I have only watched half of this, I will finish it tonight.

    Is the Huntsman a romantic interest? The role was clearly written for someone much older than Hemsworth based on the tone he takes and the things he says to her when they first meet, and also evidenced by the people who they tried to cast early on (if I remember correctly Viggo was signed on until pretty much the last minute).

  26. Right there with you RBatty024 and with Vern. This is an excruciatingly dull, joyless and un-engaging movie. I had the same exact problem with this movie that I had with Amazing Spider-Man, both of which I wanted to leave during. The characters are poorly-defined and are uninteresting, there is no natural story progression, no energy to anything, no life. Lots of action, no thrills to any of it. It’s lifeless. Inert. It’s $200 million dollars plus of pure nothingness.

  27. If Kristen Stewart is the fairest of all, then I belong on the cover of GQ, and Uwe Boll is a genius who deserves to win an Oscar. I didn’t find the fantasy stuff (trolls, fairies, Ray Winstone’s haircut) nearly as hard to believe as when the magic mirror blatantly lies to Charlize Theron about K-Stew being all prettier and hotter than her and she believed it.

  28. “I don’t suppose I can convince you to go back to the cartoon Helen Hunt avatar, can I Griff?”

    you liked that one then? well if you insist

  29. In Kirstin’s defense, she totally made a hipster mullet look good.

  30. I actually liked this quite a bit. I was impressed they really had an action end every two minutes. Kinds like Neil said but really they deliver, and I don’t remember it being bad action.

    And it looked great. I was surprised that after the affair they ditched the star, but no, this is the guy you want to keep around.

    Probably my fifth fav of the summer, a thrill for me. I watched the theatrical cut tho.

  31. Nice review Vern. Your third paragraph does a great job of illuminating how little effort seemed to go into the script.

  32. Has anyone watched IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES in the last 20 years? I wonder if that one has held up. I remember liking it at the time.

    Griff: Thanks for bringing back your Bride. Fat Nolte was freaking me out.

  33. I watched the first half hour of it maybe 13 or 14 years ago. I don’t remember anything about it except for the skin-falls-off-revealing-a-werewolf-puppet-underneath scene, but that would have been enough to make me watch the whole movie if I hadn’t made the mistake of trying to watch it with a bunch of norms who insisted I shut it off because god forbid every movie isn’t shiny and state of the goddamn art.

    I don’t watch movies with people very often anymore. Kinda sad, but it’s their own damn fault.

  34. Yeah, I’ve exempted myself from the routine home movie-viewing habits of most of the people I know. None of them can sit still and concentrate on a movie anymore. The movie might as well be a painting hanging on the wall of their home while they go about their lives. That’s fine if some shit like TOWER HEIST is playing and your attention isn’t rewarded by the film, but I’ve watched people bitch and complain about DRIVE being a poor movie after watching it under conditions that could best be described as domestic chaos: kids running around, playing with pets, gossiping, doing laundry, fucking around with phones.

    So I got kind of a Howard Hughes thing going on with my home-viewing now. Seems to be working for me.

  35. People, man. They get brainwashed with this concept of how a movie should look and feel and assume that anything that varies from that notion was just made poorly. I used to naively assume that everyone could appreciate a good piece of ridiculousness but I was totally wrong. It was when I tried to show BRAINDEAD to my college friends that I realized how differently I was wired than most people. Whereas I am eternally grateful whenever somebody introduces me to some epic weirdness, they acted like the movie was bizarre and absurd by mistake, like Jackson (who was unknown in America at the time except to horror nerds who knew him as “that guy who made DEAD ALIVE”) had tried to make a normal movie and failed. They somehow felt that the fact that Jackson achieved his goal of making a wacky splatter comedy was a reason to hold the film in contempt instead of celebrating it.

    I think a little part of me died that night. I stopped trying to share the movies I loved with people, because people didn’t deserve them.

  36. I seem to have a solid cadre of friends who can appreciate some good weirdness/cult oddities/bad-but-interesting/etc kind of movies. I can’t even count how many people I’ve shown I KNOW WHO KILLED ME to, and the folks not predisposed to that kind of shit seem to be able to appreciate it on some holy-shit-what-am-I-seeing level. My problem is actually finding people who want to watch the more artsy fartsy and pretentious stuff with me. Every now and then there’s one that my brother or Mr Subtlety is curious about, and once in a blue moon my wife throws me a bone and watches one with me, but I’ve learned the joys of watching movies by myself this way. Just the other week I watched a 4 1/2 hour movie called MYSTERIES OF LISBON and it was awesome, and I never would have seen it if I had a hang up about watching movies alone.

  37. I hear you. I found that I was getting outright hostile reactions from people even when I’d recommend stuff that I thought was a reasonable compromise between my taste and the mainstream, like IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE or BROKEN FLOWERS. I must have recommended AFTER HOURS dozens of times over the years; there wasn’t a single instance where it went over well.

  38. I refuse to choose movies anymore. Maybe if I have a Netflix I want to get out of the way or something, I’ll suggest it, but at the first sign of doubt I drop it. I’ll never try to convince anybody to watch because I usually regret it. People are just too resentful of having their precious time wasted by something that wasn’t exactly what they wanted. I just point at my 3000+ DVD collection and tell them to pick whatever they want, because I’d rather watch a movie I’m not particularly interested in at the moment than recommend something I do feel like watching and then have to deal with the fallout when they insist on being a fucking baby about it.

  39. I also prefer watching alone. Always have. People are just too fucking noisy. They won’t switch off their cellphones or they talk shit all the time or, even worse, they laugh when they fucking shouldn’t.

    My barometer for someone to watch something with is usually The Phantom. If they can’t appreciate it, then fuck ’em.

  40. Funny thing is, I tend to be pretty accommodating with other people’s tastes, usually with the hope, like Dan mentioned, that something unexpected will come from it. I’ve recently sat through an Adam Sandler film, a crappy romantic comedy, and a few episodes of a vampirecentric television serial, yet if I were to suggest watching AMELIE or THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, I’d the wrongful party in the court of public opinion.

    Dan: I rented MYSTERIES OF LISBON based entirely on the gorgeous cover image. What a beautiful, bizarre, intoxicating movie. Definitely the best thing I’ve seen this year.

  41. See, even though I’ll let anyone else choose the movie out of my collection, I will refuse to watch one that I’m not into. I don’t force my movies on anyone and I expect the same courtesy. My roommate’s been trying to make me sit down and watch GONE WITH THE FUCKING WIND for years now. I just say, “Remember that time you couldn’t get through 20 minutes of SCOTT PILGRIM without being a total cunt about it and ruining the experience for everyone else? That was the day you lost your right to try and guilt me into watching a four-hour epic about how the end of slavery was really hard on rich white bitches.”

  42. Not knowing the languages your friends speak Jareth, but with me AMELIE isn’t a good example as I never watch subtitles. And I’m not alone. And Knox, you’re the arbiter of what’s funny? I remember watching Brain Donors in the theater and the friend I was with and the few other patrons were obviously laughing at me laughing more than they were laughing at the movie itself. I laugh at what I find funny, and I laugh loudly. It’s one thing to complain people are ruining your enjoyment because of their distractions or off-topic rambling, but denying honest reactions like laughter, clapping, yawning and other personal stuff doesn’t seem fair.

  43. I have had a few pleasant surprises watching other people’s preferences. Years ago I watched Phantom of the Opera (Schumacher version) with my “I’m super! Thanks for asking!” gay housemate and somehow really enjoyed it.

    I questioned my sexuality for a few days after that, but still… That movie’s got some mad costumes, yo.

  44. You don’t watch movies with subtitles, Chris? What the fuck, man?

    As for the laughing thing, I was talking about people laughing at stuff like the characters flying in Crouching Tiger. Inappropriate shit like that. Wasn’t really thinking of comedies or laughing if a movie’s really bad.

  45. I wonder sometimes how fans of mainstream movies would respond if I asked them to articulate their appreciation of their chosen films in a way similar to how we articulate our preference for fucked-up shit on this web site. I wonder if mainstream audiences actually watch movies with an entirely different agenda than cinephiles do.

    I swear I’ve asked people why they want to see a particular mainstream movie, and their response has pretty much been a verbatim recitation of the advertising campaign. A buddy who was trying to get me to see TRANSFORMERS actually called it a “must-see romp.” I usually don’t have the energy to confront the full weight of mainstream taste and viewing habits. So often it’s like talking in a completely different language.

  46. Chris: Most of my friends here in Canada are bilingual, many of them Francophones. And the whole “freedom fries” thing wasn’t an intervening variable up here, so we can watch AMELIE without feeling guilty for betraying our country or whatever.

    Majestyk: Forgot to mention: Best. GONE WITH THE WIND. Smackdown. Ever.

  47. Oh man, “must-see romp”? That’s awesome. reminds me of that line from ADAPTATION. “Mom called it ‘psychologically taut’.”

  48. Dan & Jareth finally caught up to the MYSTERIES OF LISBON love. What, motherfuckers, you didn’t pay attention to my Best of 2011 picks? My recommendation wasn’t good enough for you? You had to rent it based on the cover art?

    http://outlawvern.com/2012/02/25/extremely-loud/#comment-2348134

    I saw SNOW WHITE: RISE OF THE HUNTSMAN in the theatre, and my first impression was exactly what I’m reading here. Probably the best cinematography of 2012, beautiful stuff that’s well worth seeing on the big screen once, maybe the best visual effects of the year in the queen’s black magic stuff, but the action has no compelling reason to exist, no stakes that we care about, no momentum that makes the climax climactic, Detective Jane Twilight has no screen presence, makes no impression, doesn’t look like the kind of gal who makes dead flowers bloom & sunrises glow anew, and looks even less like an armed warrior leader. Not her fault; that’s just bad casting, lack of screen-testing.

    In conclusion, I’ll miss Charlize Theron’s semi-mega acting aspirations, but I’ll probably see the sequel[s], and then praise their beauty and probably complain about why I didn’t really like them.

  49. I guess next year I should make a note to watch whatever movie Mouth claims had the “Best Costume Design”

  50. I learned long ago to not try to rope normal people into watching BASKET CASE or NIGHTBEAST, but I struggle with artsy movies because if I’ve seen something really interesting or moving I nearly always want to discuss it with people and kind of deconstruct it. It helps me better understand and make sense of what I’ve seen and what it meant — and even if I write about it I never can quite seem to get the same thing that I get out of a good two-or-three-way discussion over a couple shots of whiskey. Fortunately I’ve found at least one person in my life to go to about any kind of movie with. Got at least one person I can count on to go to shitty horror movies, one person who will see arty foreign film, one person to see dumb action movies, etc.

    That having been said, I’m often surprised at the range of movies people will love if they get exposed to them. I had a bunch of roommates who loved to listen to shitty rap-metal and loved movies like RESIDENT EVIL, UNDERWORLD, even the god damn BUTTERFLY EFFECT, which they will honestly defend as a “mind-blowing sci fi”. One day I said I had to leave early, I was going to catch a movie, and they asked to come along. “I don’t think this will be your cup of tea” I said. “It’s an animated French film about bicycling with almost no dialogue.” They insisted, and I reluctantly let them come along, assuming I was going to get an earful at the end. Wrong. They fucking LOVED it. To this day, these gigantic tone-deaf nerd stereotypes go around pushing DANE COOK *and* THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE on anyone who will listen.

  51. TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE is a special case. Most people seem to be able to enjoy it. It’s a strange movie, but not really in any alienating ways, plus it is genuinely entertaining and funny. And short and action packed. Hell, my dad loves it and he doesn’t like anything animated OR French.

  52. I’m just saying, people will also surprise you. I mean, obviously TRIPLETS is a born crowd-pleaser, but it seems like often times people won’t even give something a chance if there’s even a whiff of arty weirdness about it. Hell —since someone brought it up earlier– if anyone on Earth can watch AMELIE and not be brutally charmed into submission, I’ve never met them. Those aren’t exactly UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, but they’re films which are pretty noticeably different from mainstream fare in their execution (if not exactly in their content). Usually I assume that automatically means people won’t give them a chance, but it’s nice to be proven wrong more times than you’d expect.

  53. 1. “I’m just saying, people will also surprise you.” Just last week, my mom called me up to tell me how much she liked GHOST RIDER 2. This is a woman who normally subsists on movies in which the plot revolves around somebody being pregnant and not wanting to tell somebody else about but then it all comes out at a party scene at the end of the movie and maybe “We Are Family” plays over the credits. So anything is possible.

    2. “If anyone on Earth can watch AMELIE and not be brutally charmed into submission, I’ve never met them.” It was, you know, it was alright. I probably would have been beside myself with swooning if I saw it when I was 20, but instead I saw it when I was a bitter old man of 30, so I felt a distinct disconnect between how charming and whimsical I was supposed to find the title character and how insane and annoying she would be if you actually had the bordering-on-autistic little brat in your life. I honestly ended that movie feeling bad for the poor chump she ended up with, because she’s crazy enough to make his life a living hell but hot enough so that he’d never be able to bring himself to break up with her.

  54. I do think it’s funny that as much as the Evil Queen obsessed over beauty, she apparently never advised her brother to get a better haircut over all those centuries.

  55. The Original... Paul

    September 13th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Majestyk – ouch.

    And Sternshein, the two movies I was referring to were “Prometheus” and “Young Adult”.

  56. Majestyk: I know a few people who express similar misgivings about AMELIE. I’m a chump who got all choked up when the suicidal goldfish was set free, but I get your point. Surely you must have liked DELICATESSEN more?

    Also, I thought you knew: The plot of GHOST RIDER 2 does in fact revolve around Ghost Rider being pregnant and not wanting to tell anybody else about but then it all comes out at a party scene at the end of the movie. Then Danzig plays over the credits.

  57. I loved both DELICATESSEN and CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, but without the darkness of those films all you’re left with in AMELIE is the whimsy. And at this stage in my life I am not particularly the target demographic for whimsy. Something tries too hard to touch my inner child I start calling Protective Services.

  58. I mean, I don’t dislike the movie, really. It’s well made and imaginative and Audrey Tatou is adorable. It just didn’t wrap me around its little finger the way it wanted to. It’s supposed to put a spell on you and make you feel all sparkly inside, like a family of microscopic teddy bears are having a picnic in your soul or something. I mostly just thought it was cute but full of shit. I enjoyed watching it but didn’t buy it for a second.

  59. You guys ever see A Very Long Engagement, Jeunet’s follow-up to Amelie? I think it’s very underrated.

    It’s got this nice mystery driving the story, some wonderful filmic invention, stunning cinematography and design, and a character you really want to see succeed.

    I think it’s Jeunet’s forgotten gem, much like A Serious Man will probably one day be seen as the Coens’ forgotten gem.

    Didn’t they approach Jeunet for Life of Pi? Would have been interesting, I guess, but I’m glad Lee got the job.

  60. I know a girl who insists that AMELIE is a superhero movie for girls. I suppose she’s thinking of scenes like when she takes revenge on the Mean Grocer; a sort of simple social justice is enacted much in the way a superhero plot plays out. I don’t know what that makes Dominique Pinon’s character. Maybe the Great Orgasmo?

    It’s never occured to me to question Jeunet’s sincerity; I was pretty convinced by the longing that he depicts, even if it’s largely tmpered by humor. I assumed it is part of the design of the film to invite viewers to question the artifice of the whole thing, like that little sequence where Amelie casts herself as a martyr.

    You’ve got a point about the artfulness of the film and the charisma of the cast being a bit of a slight of hand trick. For French speakers there’s a whole level of untranslatable puns and aphorisms that add yet another level of distraction.

  61. Knox: Apparently Jeunet spent a lot of time developing LIFE OF PI but the project fell through. He made a few disparaging remarks about the process when promoting MICMACS.

    Agree with you about A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT. I actually find the war scenes in that film far more harrowing than anything in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

  62. I don’t doubt Juenet’s sincerity at all. I’m sure he’s the type of person who looks on the bright side and believes that the world is a magical Rube Goldberg device powered by the saintly machinations of Manic Pixie Dream Girls and all that happy horseshit. He just didn’t get through to me on an emotional level, and that’s my own fault. I don’t find romance all that interesting, in life or in stories, and on my better days, I tend to lean more toward the “The world is a giant pile of shit but every now and then you find a jelly bean in it” school of optimism. I understand that AMELIE is a fantasy, not a drama, but it’s not a fantasy that holds any value for me. I enjoy the fantasy that one man with a gun can right all the world’s wrongs, but the one about how we’re all connected and everything works out in the end and love conquers all and etc. just makes me resent the actual world I live in, where everybody’s selfish and greedy and nobody listens to anybody else and nine times out of ten love is more trouble than it’s worth.

    Battle scenes are pretty cool, though, so maybe I’ll finally get around to watching A LONG ENGAGEMENT. As a person of 1/16th Micmac descent, however, I am offended by MICMACS’ apparent lack of respect for my people’s long history of zombifying dead animals. I guess the soil of my heart is just stonier.

  63. Come on, Majestyk, you have to be a pretty romantic guy to eat all that shit just to find one jelly bean!

  64. At the end of the day, it’s your stony heart that will make you a valuable leader when the CHUDS lay siege to the world. God knows Team Juenet ain’t gonna last long after the apocalypse.

  65. I know I am a little late to the party but interesting conversation about recommending movies to your friends, and personal movie watching habits versus modern movie watching habits.

    I am lucky enough to have a few friends that appreciate my movie recommendations, but I have learned to be very careful what I recommend and who I am recommending it to. I remember one time years ago my wife and I were hosting a movie night at my house and I showed EQUILIBRIUM because I figured it had Christian Bale battling with his emotions in it for the ladies and Gunkata for everybody else. For the most part everybody was into the movie until (SPOILERS) Christian Bale is faced with the prospect of murdering a puppy and then a number of the women watching the film turned on it and it was only a matter of time before they directed their wrath toward me. Not only did they not want to finish the movie, but they were offended that I would even expose them such a “mean” film.

    I used to never go to the movie theater alone and I didn’t watch that many films by myself at home either, but these days I tend to see movies by myself more often than not. However, that is not by choice. With my work schedule and personal commitments it is hard for me to make the time to go to the movie theater or sit down and watch a movie with friends or family that doesn’t conflict with their schedule and commitments.

  66. A co-worker once asked me to recommend a horror movie to her. I told her that MARTYRS was the best horror film I’d seen in years.

    Turns out the co-worker’s idea of horror was stuff like EAGLE EYE. Now she doesn’t make eye contact with me when we pass in the hall.

  67. Charles -I don´t remember EQULIBRIUM all that well, but doesn´t some people get murdered in that movie? Sounds to me getting upset over a puppy is pure asonine horseshit. No offense,dude. But those women sounds like the kind of dumbwitted idiots Hollywood concerns themselves over in their movies. Meaning ” it´s ok if people die as long as the innocent house pet survives”, just like INDEPENDENCE DAY which had that stupid scene of that dog escaping the flames. There is usually a dumb scene or shot inserted just make sure a house pet survives.

  68. Charles, next time those broads come over, show them INSIDE.

  69. Shoot, they were totally ok with people getting graphically murdered, but the idea of a cute and innocent puppy getting offed crossed the line. In the defense of the women that got offended, the scene in question where Bale is faced with killing the puppy is hilariously manipulative. The film is looking for that response, and doesn’t seem to be aware of how ridiculous it is that a film that fetishizes violence and bloodshed the way EQUILIBRIEM does would try to use the threat of puppyside to manipulate the audience.

  70. Man, that shot in INDEPENDENCE DAY is one of the funniest things ever. There’s this fucking tsunami of flame three feet away, throwing cars around like autumn leaves, and the dog doesn’t even get singed. If only the rest of the world’s population had discovered that the only way to protect yourself from an alien explosion ray was to hide behind an unlocked door.

  71. But wait, they weren’t inspired by the fact that he had, earlier in the movie, murdered his own *wife* and yet when told to kill the puppy he refuses to do so and instead dedicates himself to bringing down the dystopian world which he has spent his life defending?

    I mean, if that isn’t pandering to the pro-puppy crowd, I don’t know what possibly could. Were they also mad that the animals in HOMEWARD BOUND encounter dangerous obstacles?

  72. “But wait, they weren’t inspired by the fact that he had, earlier in the movie, murdered his own *wife* and yet when told to kill the puppy he refuses to do so and instead dedicates himself to bringing down the dystopian world which he has spent his life defending?”
    To be fair, you got that wrong. He had nothing to do with his wife’s death. She got found out and executed the by the authorities, and I don’t think he actually flipped the switch on the incinerator himself or anything. He does execute his own potnah though.

  73. I liked AMELIE a lot, but CITY OF LOST CHILDREN was more my speed as well

  74. Some people just can’t take bad things happening to animals. I once had to leave the theater during the Collector because a cat got glued to the floor or something and my wife couldn’t take it. She also cried hysterically, I mean like she had been punched in the face and stabbed in the stomach, during nearly the entire running time of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We always have to skip the kitten scene is Drag me to Hell. War Horse? Forget about it, the trailer is off limits.

    I think it generally has to do with the way things are presented, in most action and horror movies people are presented a disposable, non-characters we aren’t supposed to be upset when they die, animals are very rarely shown that way though. When an animal dies the film maker is usually going for a reaction. Now obviously my wife is a pretty extreme case, which is both endearing and annoying, but I don’t think it’s all that odd. I think it’s generally what the film makers want.

  75. Mickey, I agree. For example, Steven Seagal has no problem beating up an old man in a bar or breaking a guy’s wrists then throwing him down a flight of stairs, but he has no tolerance for cruelty toward animals. Actually, Bale’s sympathy for the puppy could almost be considered an example of badass juxtaposition, he obviously shares the same stance on animal rights as Seagal. To your point, I also think it is more culturally acceptable for a tough guy to show compassion to an animal and not be perceived as “soft” then if he showed the same compassion for another man.

  76. I know so many people who just shut down when a dog is harmed or killed in a movie, and these are people whose job it is to watch and evaluate movies. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I love animals and I’d never want to see one harmed, but I hope I’m sophisticated enough to view it in the broad context of the film. Certainly if a movie is killing a dog to jerk some emotion out of you, aren’t we sophisticated enough to see through that? And if an animal is a character in a film, shouldnt they be able to make a sacrifice just like human characters?

  77. I’ll admit to being more affected by the death of animals in a movie than the death of people. There’s just something about animals that make them seem inherently good. Hell, even when I hear stories about a chimpanzee that goes apeshit and tears off someone’s face, I often feel sorry for the ape (as well as the victim). When animals do something awful, you can just chalk it up to instinct. Of course, I don’t discount a film just because an animal dies in it, but I often question whether or not it is necessary. And yet, at the same time I’m not a vegetarian. So, I guess I’m kind of a hypocrite. It’s one of those situations where my gut reaction is completely at odds with my intellectual understanding of the world.

  78. Be emotionally affected,Rbatty. That’s why they’re in the movie in the first place. It’s the Manchurian Candidate like trigger that amuses me.

  79. Jesus Christ!

  80. “The Power of Christ Impales You!”

    Best tagline since “In Space, No One Can Eat Ice Cream.”

  81. Griff Remade: Pump Up the Volume

    September 15th, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Fred: If you haven’t seen it already, one day you could watch LEOLO and put your theory to the test. I know a guy who shrugs off the most horrific pictures of factory farms and animal testing, yet he couldn’t sit through what they do to the cat in that movie. Like Mickey says above, the scene in question was shot with maximum discomfort in mind.

    Too bad, because LEOLO is otherwise an incredible film, one I’ll never sit through again.

  82. RBatty024, you bring up a good point. I think most people think of animals as inherently good or innocent, but think of mankind as being cruel or corrupt. I am not saying that is right or wrong, I am just making an observation. However, you can’t blame people for their prejudice against mankind, we earned that reputation. We have a long history of being shitty to each other and other animals.

  83. The Original... Paul

    September 15th, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I think people think that people have the capacity for evil, animals don’t. Especially the cute ones. There are exceptions. Brazillian wandering spiders, for example, get a pretty bad rep.

    Of course it’s a pretty illogical instinct, and maybe even an arrogant one (who are we to say what other species are capable of, if we haven’t observed it ourselves?) but it means less torture of cute animals, which generally speaking is a state of affairs that I’m in favour of.

    It also leaves the door open for a lot of really dark humour like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_zpdyBz3VM

  84. “I think people think that people have the capacity for evil, animals don’t.”

    Well said Paul.

  85. Have you guys ever seen monkeys in action? They are some vicious motherfuckers. We’re talking midnight raiding parties to decimate neighboring tribes, rape their females, and eat their babies. They also tend to fall into the same patterns of bullying and brutality that people do in similar proportions. Also, remember that adorable picture that was floating around the interwebz of the spider monkey carrying around a puppy? Yeah, that puppy was the monkey’s fuckdoll. He was gonna rape it death and then maybe eat it, but probably just kill it on a whim and leave it in the street. It might not define what it’s doing as evil, but what evildoer does?

    So maybe it’s just a primate thing. We don’t have wings or big claws or much else in the way of survival accoutrements. What we do have is the willingness to fuck you up beyond all reason and necessity. That’s what we do. Evil is our evolutionary success story.

  86. Mr. M, I don’t disagree. Nature and wildlife can be brutally cruel and random. However, most people assume that animals actions are dictated purely by instinct but human beings possess an intellect that provides us with choices and in turn the capacity for evil. If a monkey brutally kills a baby monkey it is not the monkey’s fault, being savage is in their nature and they lack the intellect to differentiate between right and wrong. If a person kills a human baby the blame is placed more on the individual and not the species because they possess an intellect and ability to perform greater reasoning so they should have known better.

  87. The Original... Paul

    September 15th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Charles – that’s kinda where I think the arrogance comes in. In assuming that “lesser” animals don’t have any kind of moral compass. Nobody’s ever had a philosophical discussion with a monkey. Not that I think most animals WOULD be able to vocalist any kind of moral code that goes beyond natural social patterns, you understand, but my point is that we only have an animal’s behavior to go on. We can’t ask it what it’s thinking.

    Not that most species have shown themselves capable of the kind of higher reasoning that, for example, allows them to develop / work complex machinery (although some can use tools). But that’s a different thing altogether.

  88. This may be a crackpot theory but do you think people are so desensitized to human violence that they think railing against animal violence makes them moral?

  89. In defense of apes, I’ve also read about Chimpanzees who have drowned themselves trying to save friends and loved ones. Because Chimps can’t swim, they’re deathly afraid of water, so it goes against all of their survival instinct to try and save another drowning Chimp. Because they must fight their natural survival instinct, I say that Chimps get extra points for this sort of self-sacrifice.

  90. I don’t know, interesting question Fred. Did you guys know that American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866, but Child Protective Services (CPS) were not put into place until 1980? I don’t know if we are desensitized to violence toward other human beings, but it seems that as a culture we have a much bigger problem with you abusing your dog than if you abuse your child.

  91. The Original... Paul

    September 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Fred – I think that as a species we’re naturally desensitized to violence against one another, because we are competitive by nature. Some say that the portrayal of violence in the media desensitizes us to violence; I’d say that if we weren’t already desensitized to it, we’d not have any portrayal of violence in the media in the first place. Cute animals won’t try to steal your girl or your house. Other people might.

    I mean, I wasn’t taught to be a violent person or to enjoy violence by my parents. Yet I enjoyed wrestling in my teenage years, and I’m an MMA fan now. That’s a sport where guys beat each other up for money. Enjoying that must come from somewhere, right?

  92. i wonder if one of the ideas informing the near-universal squeamishness for depictions of animal violence is the perceived simplicity of non-human animals. even though a fox caught in a trap is probably far more willing to chew its own foot off than a similarly bound human would, and would probably be much more poised while doing so, i think we feel like somehow because we believe animals cant really understand what is happening to them, that makes them pathetic and therefore more pitiable than humans. i suppose implied in that attitude is the idea that awareness is a kind of power, even if it’s awareness of being totally fucked. i dunno, seeing depictions of a person getting savaged in a movie gets me just like an animal death does. but i guess i could see the gunning down of some random character and not bat an eye, whereas if i saw some random feral dog get gunned down in a movie i would probably wince.

  93. Walmart has this in their bargain bin, currently on sale for $3.74. At that price, I’ll go ahead and see it, I always thought it looked nice at least, even if I don’t follow the careers of Stewart, Theron, or Hemsworth when he’s not Thoring it up.

  94. Recorded this a year or so ago from Pay TV. Still haven’t watched it. (But I have a long list of unwatched movies, so it’s not because I don’t want to see it.)

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