Princess No More

It is quite easy to like a film that promises to stay a bit farther off the original icky-sweet plot of the fairytale on which it is based. The 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland is a testimony to this. Such movies give you the impression–and the satisfaction–that fairytales can indeed grow up. And that their stories can be told another way without losing its general plot.

This might be, I was really not that sure, the same ground on which Snow White and the Huntsman was anchored on. In this so-called dark and twisted version of the originally bright fairytale, we were made to watch the princess literally battle against the evil queen.

Snow White was still the beautiful and pure princess of Tabor. Her skin as white as snow and her lips as red as blood, she had a happy life as a child. But things changed when her mother died and her father decided to save an equally beautiful woman named Ravenna from the Dark Army. Ravenna, though, did not have the heart as beautiful as her face. She killed the king on the very night of their wedding and took over the whole Tabor. The kingdom instantly died, poisoned by their new queen’s ruling. Powerful as she was, Ravenna and her brother Finn sapped the kingdom and its pretty women of their beauty and youth. Snow White was locked away at a secluded tower of the castle for years.

There was only one threat to the Queen’s reign–Snow White herself who managed to escape the castle. The one face fairer than the Majesty, Snow White’s heart was what the queen’s Mirror spoke of as the regimen Ravenna needed to be immortally young and beautiful. It was on this objective that Eric the Huntsman was sent to find the escaped princess.

What followed was a series of chase scenes when Eric decided to deflect the Queen when he learned that the other could not actually keep her side of the deal (which was to bring back Eric’s dead wife). Over different lands and so many other people, Snow White was chased until finally the Queen, disguised as Snow White’s childhood friend William, caught up with the princess and imposed the famous apple-biting scene.

Of course, as the story had it, Snow White was revived. Although, it was not by a Prince Charming but by the Huntsman himself! With her renewed life and strength, Snow White led her father’s people to a battle against Ravenna’s army. The battle ensued with an epic touch like any other ancient wars until at the end of the film, it was still a happy ending.

What’s Good

The cinematography managed not to be lackluster. There were scenes and graphics that were neat enough to carry a picturesque film. It was, after all, a fairytale so the scenes had to look and feel magical even if you erase the castles and the gowns.

Part of the opening scene (screenrant.com)

Capturing of certain parts of the movie was also beautifully and artfully done. To cite, there was the great shot of Ravenna sinking below a pool of what looked like milk. Focus was important in the scenes and it was given a good tap by the crew.

The Evil Queen–Before (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)

The Evil Queen–After

Although and definitely a bit lacking in color, the movie was able to capture what it meant: dark and twisted. The general atmosphere was hard to miss: this is a fairytale but there is something wrong in here, yes. It highlighted well how the kingdom was drained of life because of Ravenna and the battle scenes were effectively shown.

I also liked how the basic elements of the original fairytale were still there, if only to remind us that what we were watching was actually lifted from the same story our mothers read us at bedtime when we were younger. In fact, the film started with almost the same premise as the fairytale did. The dwarves were still there as well, finding Snow White and providing her happy times against the Queen’s wrath.

The famous “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?” was not left out, too, which might be because of its important role in the unfolding of the story. How the mirror was also depicted was quite cool as well. It was not comical and definitely not the talking mirrors other Snow White shows had.

The Evil Queen and the Mirror

It was just as good that the depictions in this film were wholly different from, say, the picture books and cartoon shows of the same tale. We had Snow White in a different and ultimately more disenchanting gown that made her character as strong as she was supposed to be. Even Ravenna’s ensemble was not as sickeningly imperial and villainous. At the very least, the movie tried its best to divert from the fairytale from its story down to its portrayal.

And What’s Not

There were several problems one as a viewer could experience while watching the movie. For one, cuts were not fluidly made. One scene changes into another and you would hardly understand why. It was saved time and again by the chase scenes but if one would delete one or two of those, you would realize that some cuts were better not done at all.

Another seeming problem with the film was how much it tends to tell when there should really be one solid plot. Understandably, there had to be a different focus of conflict (or conflicts) because the movie aimed to deviate from the usual. But putting together character development stories, a general chase plot, and a tinge of love story was not a very good idea for this film.

It might have something to do with the storytelling but a lot of the movie’s parts were not fully developed. They seemed to have happened out of nowhere, no foreshadowing and definitely no reason behind them. This was evident in the kissing scene of Snow White and the disguised William as well as in the development of the Huntsman’s back story.

Finally, character delivery was also unstable. There were characters with so much gusto that their delivery was superb and powerful. Others, on the contrary, were a bit laidback if not at all forgettable. These contrasting factors made the film keel dangerously sideways that by the end of the movie, you would not really remember anybody at all except for the three main characters:

Charlize Theron, Queen Ravenna

The Evil Queen

Queen Ravenna made Hollywood. Yes, it was Charlize’s Evil Queen. She was less menacing and more commercial in the way she portrayed her character. It was not as brilliant as, say, Helena Bonham-Carter. But for a movie villain, it did not at all defer too low from the usual.

An outraged Queen (lookingcloser.org)

It was then a good thing that Charlize had the looks of a Queen. True, she also had the regal stance and the plausible accent of a royal. At least, she had enough of the facial expression to convey her feelings. This meant that she did not rely on the way she delivered her lines–because she had a tendency to shout when she meant to be scary.

Chris Hemsworth, Eric the Huntsman

Eric the Huntsman

You be hunted by this man here and you really would be dead scared. Crazy Chris Hemsworth seemed to have overdone his being a huntsman a bit but you could say he really was into the part.

I just did not like his slurred lines but overall, Chris had it in himself to be more than just a fully physical action man. He was dirty as he should be. He ran well, sturdy and fast. And best of all, his Thor-self made him the great fighter that he was in this film.

Kristen Stewart, Snow White

Snow White (filmofilia.com)

Seriously, Kristen as a princess? Kristen? That big-voiced, heavy-stepping, sturdy girl? A princess?

Well, yes. The movie’s greatest defiance of the sweet and princess-y tale that is Snow White came in the form of their lead actress. Kristen was not known for her soft antics or girly acts. She did not even have the sweet voice of a princess. And this was just the right mix for the battling princess that the film aimed to show.

At the battle (all-things-andy-gavin.com)

The only problem with Kristen’s portrayal was (and because I could not phrase it any other way): she had so much Bella Swan in her! I know it would sound rude to compare how she acted Bella and Snow White because the two had so much differences. But it was so difficult to separate the two especially if you see the same old expressions. The way she acted when she bit the poisonous apple was quite the same way she did when she was bitten by a vampire in the Twilight. Even the delivery of her lines was like deja vu.

Crazy.

Oh well, you could only hope so much.

Overall, Snow White and the Huntsman was not a bad choice if you wanted a film that deviates from its own norms. But maybe, just maybe, you could do with lesser expectations so that you would not have the tendency to look for things that are not–and would never be–there.

Not a pin drop

My father has this almost-habit of going through different YouTube videos, watching recaps and audition performances of various singing competitions all over the world.

Well, Dad isn’t that tech-savvy but he likes good auditions and even better singers so he really took my sister’s how-to-browse-YouTube sessions by heart.

It is in one of his browsing days that he found this 16-year-old finalist at last year’s The X Factor UK. Janet Devlin.

She hits, man. Her sweetness and innocence and continuous blossoming all takes backstage when her voice comes out. In Kelly Rowland’s frequent expression, one can hear a pin drop in a room where Janet sings.

That’s what happened during her audition. Here:

See what I mean?

Throughout Janet’s time in the competition, you would see how people can change themselves from hair color to perspectives because of the desire to fulfill a dream.

Here are some more of Janet’s performances (my personal favorites). Watch them, see her grow and believe in the power of dreaming.

Janet singing “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Janet at her Judges’ Houses Audition singing “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Janet’s Final Performance, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

As my heart begins to shatter

First heard this song via my younger sister’s phone. It struck me because the music’s surprisingly and ironically relaxing considering the pain that the song contains. Oh well, listen and feel it yourself.

12:51, Krissy and Erika

Cause it’s 12:51 and I thought my feelings were gone 
But I’m lying on my bed, thinking of you again
And the moon shines so bright, but I gotta dry these tears tonight 
Cause you’re moving on and I’m not that strong to hold on any longer

(See full lyrics here)

 

PS. I’m not a big fan of the music vid. But the song’s cool just the same.

Claps and Cheers

Well I just gotta drop by and say my congratulations to the very much deserving winners at the MTV Movie Awards 2012. And by very much deserving, I mean:

Best On-Screen Transformation: Elizabeth Banks (as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games)

Elizabeth Banks at the MTV Movie Awards (ahyeahmockingjay.tumblr.com)

Well, who could ever say it was a bad choice, right? (thehungergames.wikia.com)

Best Fight: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Alexander Ludwig (The Last Fight of Katniss, Peeta and Cato)

Alexander Ludwig & Josh Hutcherson at the MTV Movie Awards

Fight at the Cornucopia (brainlessgifs.tumblr.com)

The gif above is the best I could find for the category, sorry. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t want to see Cato’s bloody face in my blog. But just the same, best fight is what this whole scene’s about.

Best Male Performance: Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games)

Josh Hutcherson accepting his MTV Movie Awards golden popcorn (3news.co.nz)

As the ever adorable Peeta (hitthefloor.co.uk)

Best Female Performance: Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games)

From Jennifer Lawrence’s acceptance video (dailymail.co.uk)

As the phenomenal Katniss Everdeen (hungergamesdwtc.net)

Best Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Emma Watson accepting the golden popcorn in behalf of the entire cast (uk.omg.yahoo.com)

Semi-complete Deathly Hallows Part II Cast (zimbio.com)

Any other cast you think should win this? I can’t think of any! (syaoran.net)

No surprise here, you know. Dan and Emma and Rupert. Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton. . .

James and Oliver Phelps . . .

Julie Walters . . .

Gary Oldman . . .

Can we go on forever? :))))

Emma was the only one present to accept the award. And she still was able to give the best speech of the night:

I don’t think I will ever accept an award on behalf of so many people. From Ralph Fiennes to Helena Bonham Carter to Hedwig and Dobby and all of them, this is amazing! We had over 200 cast members and I wish they could all be up here with me now. Sadly, they can’t. Obviously, I share this award, in particular, with Dan and Rupert. Wherever you are, I hope you’re watching and I miss you both dearly. Just thank you! I really, really appreciate it. Thank you!

And in true Hagrid fashion, may I just say: Well done, Hermione!

Best Hero: Harry Potter!!!!!

Daniel Radcliffe (topnews.in)

Harry Potter (moviechopshop.com)

Hell, you name anybody else as the better hero than this boy who saved an entire world on his own and I’d say you’re crazy. Haha! And maybe I’m biased because of my undying love for the series. But the fact that MTV Awards is based on fan choices, well that is saying something.

I love, love, love this set of MTV winners. And I hope next year’s would be even better even if it has no more Harry Potter nominations.