Tuesday, 5 June 2012

202, Snow White and the Huntsman

I have to admit it did feel a but repetitive going to see this merely 2 months after watching Mirror Mirror which in effect, is the same movie but this seemed like a darker twist on the tale - more like the recent Red Riding Hood from last year which interested me greatly as there's nothing better than a fairytale made for grown-ups (and my weird love of Grimm on TV currently is just heightening the temptation to see kiddie tales gruesomely transformed somewhat), that is unless Tim Burton does them as Alice in Wonderland was just plain weird!

Its easy to get the comparisons of these two adaptations of Snow White sorted from early on - they are nothing alike. Whereas Mirror is a comical romp through the enchanted fairytale with a slightly hilarious queen and a number of adorable dwarfs & even a goofy prince in tow, this movie has zero resemblance - making it exactly what I'd hoped for!

Lets start with the plot. Most of the movie to be fair plays along with the original tale pretty closely - After losing her parents, Snow is locked in the tower by the new wicked queen, she escapes to the woods and then has the Huntsmen track her down through the Forbidden Forest, being rescued by a number of Dwarf's and then with the newly acquainted Huntsman on her side and an army bought together under the war colours of her Fathers true followers she seeks vengeance against the Queen to take back her kingdom and regain her rightful place on the Throne.

Just as you remember it right? but this is definitely a darker and more sword slaying adaptation that may not entirely be suitable for your Disney loving clan of under 5's. Charlize Theron (who now appears in back to back blogs) is brilliant as the Queen - totally vengeful and jealous of Snow's beauty and with a slightly 'too close for comfort' relationship with her brother makes a great villain - her hoard of nasties are also on track with her with the aforementioned Brother seeming to more worship his sister than answer to her. Snow herself (Kristen Stewart) and the Huntsman (Thor) pair off brilliantly together once they meet up in the Woods and it doesn't take long for him to see she's not all bad and switch sides to protect, rather than destroy our heroine.

Then there was a surprising twist - and one I though might happen after reading the previews but not to the extent it did. The Dwarf's.

They were brilliant - but surprisingly not your usual band of famous 3ft actors this time it was a far more recognisable bunch with Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins (okay, he's tiny anyway), Ray Winstone, Nick Frost & Eddie Marsan (to name a few) who strapped on the prosthetics and by what I can only assume was the same trickery that made Coltrane's Hagrid appear giant like in Potter, made our normal band of 5ft+ actors minuscule in comparison to Stewart, Hemsworth, Theron and the rest of adult sized brood.

They were violent, comedic & lovable and when you pair this with the true cuteness of their forest glade of a home, the residential fairies and the animal magnetism from Snow White, only really explained in the Disney original animated classic that this feels more like any fairytale adaptation yet to make the big screen.

The Battle scenes are great - there is a real medieval feel to them with molten tar being poured upon our troops as they battle the evil armies and then the Queen herself seems to be nothing short of pure evil when seeking her only requirement - eternal youth. Stewart has shown that there could be life outside of Twilight - although the Apple dare fall too far from the tree and Hemsworth - well, lets just say his Scottish is not great, but he's likable all the same.

If as an Adult you want a piece of childhood memory pimped up a little for modern times then this is the one for you - All the cast were great, the Dwarf's were excellent and it pairs the adorability factor nicely alongside all the blood and battle compared closest (in my mind) to Russell Crowe's Robin Hood.

Leave the kids at home, snuggle them down with the 1937 Disney DVD with Happy, Dopey and the rest of the animated legends and take yourself out to watch the real version - one that I feel would have made whoever wrote the German original in about 1812 very proud.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

201, Prometheus

My anticipation for this movie was high - having originally believed it to be a prequel to 'Alien' and then having the entire cast at interview say its definitely NOT a prequel to then reading reviews saying it is a sort of prequel only with different characters only to then draw my own conclusions that have left me in no doubt that this movie is............................

Well, I'm not saying! but I'm sure each of you who see this will make your own judgements when you see it - just be sure to let me know what you thought!

This movie starts with the weird introduction of one of the Alien beings - right off the bat which is nice but slightly confusing as you'll see.  Then there is a bit of title sequence and we jump to the isle of Skye where an excursion unearths a few caves and the finding of some cave drawing aged at about 35000 yrs.  Once confirmed by two intrepid adventurers we then get a feel of the year - 2090 (ish) and now, outer space with an awaking crew after a 2yr stasis sleep on board the exploratory ship, Prometheus. 

It did amaze me that they at this point in the movie they decided to explain to the crew the mission they all signed up for, surely if you were going to miss 2yrs of your life there (and an expected 2yrs back) you'd want to know why before you counted sheep but our oblivious crew all seemed pretty happy with the fact they were sailing into the unknown, completely unknowing!

Captain Janek (Elba) is my favourite of the characters here - pretty laid back and chilled to whats going on around him but the intensity here is served up by Charlize Theron as the lady representing the company funding the mission alongside David the Android (Fassbender) who between them bring a slightly creepy side to the proceedings.

You'll notice Guy Pearce in the credits but I went the whole movie not actually noticing him it, but that was down to some pretty lengthy time in the make-up chair as he plays the ageing  Peter Weyland - the man behind the company represented by Theron.  We then have our explorers, Shaw & Holloway who are the excitable kids opening their best ever presents as they start to uncover the mysteries of the planet they have arrived upon and finally there is a mis-match of Biologists, Scientists, Pilots etc who make up the 17 strong crew of the Ship. 

That's everyone accounted for so whats this movie all about - Well, I was a little confused.  I don't want to entirely give the game away but its a search for the origins of the human race and the creators of it.  Questions need answering for our intrepid adventurers but before they get a chance to find the 'makers' they encounter some space nasties that kind of put a halt to proceedings and its becomes a survival lottery as the audience get to guess who get picked off next.

As far as special effects go - I was pleasantly surprised with this movie - the Alien world, its structures and 'residence'  were realistic and inspiring it just seemed to be let down a little by the speed of the story.  The whole plot just plodded along with a few storms and chases thrown in for good measure.  I only saw it in 2D but didn't really see how 3D would have made much of a difference - but I could be wrong.

To sum this up though I have to say it wasn't bad - it certainly wasn't as groundbreaking as it was built up to be but in my mind it was better than the slating I've seen it receive in some circles.

I have my feelings on if this is a prequel to Alien but as I said before - I'm sure you'll have your own ideas.  But if it is or isn't part of the grand scheme of things then as a stand alone movie it ticks a percentage of the sci-fi boxes so not all bad!