Fans of Walt Disney’s version of the ‘Snow White’ fable may be surprised by ‘Snow White & the Huntsman’. Grittier and more foreboding, this spin on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale is certainly different. Whilst showing some cleverness in its utilisation of some of the story’s classic motifs it isn’t a patch on Disney’s still gorgeously animated version of a famous piece of literature.
Snow White (Kristen Stewart) knows much about misfortune. After the death of her father, a King of a vast realm, her wicked step-mother Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) determines to kill her. Escaping from her clutches after discovering the Queen is an evil sorceress Snow White flees into the wilds. There she meets a huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth), and a band of dwarves who aid her in her quest in ridding the kingdom of Ravenna’s magical malevolence.
Directed with earnest seriousness by Rupert Sanders ‘Snow White & the Huntsman’ is a rather dour affair. Devoid of the original tome’s feeling of wonder it doggedly wallows in the grime and desperation characters face. This brings a more ‘generic’ feel to events and mirrors the humourless texture of many similar recent movies. Which is a shame as it dilutes the fable’s unique essence with drawn out chase/battle sequences having an air of familiarity.
Theron seems the only person having some fun and revels in some of the silly dialogue she mutters. Her co-stars are competent without being memorable with a screenplay dragging proceedings to unwieldy length. As expected the special effects are suitably amazing providing most of the film’s highlights. From glass soldiers to a nice sequence inside an enchanted forest these convey the sense of magic the story lacks.
Having a predictability the Brothers Grimm never had in their work ‘Snow White & the Huntsman’ moderately entertains. Its unoriginality in portraying its protagonist’s journey dilutes its impact with its weak script failing to amaze.
Rating out of 10: 5
‘Rock of Ages’ is the newest kid on the jukebox musical block. With a threadbare plot hanging together some hit rock tunes it’s very much a movie full of spectacle and high energy songs. Whether that’s enough to engage audiences is another matter as most from this genre forget to tell a good story. Spicing events with 1980’s outfits and music can only go so far with ‘Rock of Ages’ barely entertaining even if it may find a willing audience of hard-core head-bangers.
Sherrie (Julianne Hough) and Drew (Diego Boneta) are a couple working at the Bourbon Room. A magnet for trend-setters, the likes of owners Lonny (Russell Brand), Dennis (Alec Baldwin) seem keen on indulging in sex, drugs and rock and roll. When glam metal rock superstar Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) arrives, the stage is set for musical and physical excess with the party always staying in full swing.
‘Rock of Ages’ is like a Hollywood version of karaoke. Instead of singing in a bar or performing in front of a music video they make movie versions instead. Whilst few have made a memorable mark it’s doubtful this will. Based on a Broadway musical it betrays its stage origins with a glacially paced script and very predictable story. One knows the course events will take with the bland characters highlighting the lack of inspiration and dynamic flair.
Not that the dance sequences are forgettable as they are superbly performed. Some of the rock tunes are great although having an original soundtrack is usually more interesting. The setting is fun with the decade of excess reasonably well rendered. It’s a shame everything is so sanitised in the usual glossily commercial fashion. The actors have tons of fun but only Cruise leaves any impression with his showy performance.
As musical movies go ‘Rock of Ages’ is a bit of a toothless tiger. It could have been more honest in is depiction of the era with the cast looking a bit too perfect for this mediocre tribute to a golden era of American rock.
Rating out of 10: 4