I love my readers, but there are some thing I just won’t do for you.
One of those things, is sit through “Snow White and the Huntsman” again just to see the new “extended edition” that’s out this week.
But I did watch the Blu-ray of this year’s other “Snow White” movie, “Mirror Mirror” so I could compare and contrast them in today’s post. If only I’d known how interminably boring the first three-quarters of it would be.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start with the most important thing: the Queen.
Charlize Theron is amazing in “Huntsman.” She’s so much better than the movie itself that she wills it to watchability on sheer charisma and awesomeness. She totally gets into her evil part but never dips into total camp. She’s mesmerizing and beautiful.
Julia Roberts does her best in “Mirror Mirror,” but she can’t lift the material. She’s trapped by its awkward inability to find the right tone. Like the movie itself, sometimes she’s serious. Sometimes she’s silly. Sometimes she’s campy. She’s all over the place. She could have been the film’s center but is instead its greatest victim. But she’s still lovely.
Winner: Charlize Theron, by a landslide
Now, on to Snow White.
I’ve never seen a “Twilight” movie, so I had nothing against Kristen Stewart going in. “Surely,” I thought, “the tales of her lack of acting ability are an exaggeration.” They’re not. She’s just awful. And it doesn’t help that she almost NEVER CLOSES HER MOUTH. Not in a “talks too much” way, but she’s always walking or running or staring with this gaping hole in her face. Did all the fake fog and smoke clog up her nose so that was the only way she could breathe?
And when your mouth is permanently open like that, it limits the number of expressions you can have. She had maybe three.
Oh, my gosh, she was terrible. And the few times she did close her mouth, she was actually kind of pretty. But in no universe is she better looking than Charlize Theron.
Lily Collins is OK as Snow in “Mirror Mirror.” She’s certainly prettier than Julia Roberts. And she’s got a lot more spirit than Stewart. But in context of the film, she’s kinda dull, too. Though it seems to be the character’s fault, not Collins’.
Winner: Lily Collins
Next, the Huntsman.
He’s in the title, so Chris Hemsworth is pretty important to the story in his version. He’s fine. He’s pretty, too, though he gets grunged up a lot. He’s much better as Thor.
“Mirror Mirror” doesn’t have a huntsman, but it does have Nathan Lane wasted as Brighton, the queen’s right-hand man. He fulfills the huntsman’s role of taking Snow into the woods to kill her (in this case, feed her to The Beast). He doesn’t have the heart and takes back a bag of miscellaneous entrails he picks up at the village butcher.
Winner: Chris Hemsworth
Can’t forget the prince!
“Huntsman” does have one, but in a twist to the classic story, he’s not the love interest. He’s her best friend growing up. It would have been funny if they’d made him gay. But this isn’t a funny movie.
In “Mirror Mirror,” the prince is played by the dashing Armie Hammer. (I still can’t believe that’s his name.) He’s somewhat charming, is shirtless a lot and does a great job imitating a lovesick puppy, but like everyone else, he’s wasted. Not in a drunk way, of course, but maybe that would have made the movie more interesting.
Winner: Armie Hammer
And last but not least, the dwarves.
In “Huntsman,” they’re actually the second most interesting thing behind the queen. They’re crafty and not afraid to get in the fight (after a while, anyway). They’re the heart of the movie.
The “Mirror Mirror” dwarves are comic relief in a movie that’s supposed to be funny but isn’t. They’re nice enough, and Metro Detroiter Martin Klebba is their leader, but they don’t add much.
Winner: “Snow White and the Huntsman”
I really wanted to like both these movies, but forces moved against me both times.
In “Snow White and the Huntsman,” it was Stewart. She just dragged an otherwise interesting movie down. Really, they added some nice twists to the story. The queen’s magic was seriously creepy. And they even worked in a unicorn. The Huntsman had a compelling background, and Theron was so good. The effects were great. If they’d cast just about anyone but Stewart, I’d give it a B.
“Mirror Mirror,” on the other hand, was just boring from the start. It looked amazing, I’ll give it that. The effects, sets and costumes were stunning and imaginative. The tweaks to the story were enjoyable. But it just couldn’t strike the right tone. And most attempts at comedy fell horribly flat. The last, climactic quarter showed flashes of life by all involved, but it was too little too late.
Winner: “Snow White and the Huntsman” is more watchable because of the story and Theron — just fast forward to her parts.
It makes me yearn for the season premiere of “Once Upon a Time.” Now that’s a compelling new Snow White story.