Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,
Beemer
dr_tectonic

Black (Widow) and (Snow) White

I had plans to go see Snow White and the Huntsman (aka "SWATH") on Friday, when Jerry was off seeing Prometheus with Pyro & company (which I think I'm interested in seeing, but they were seeing it in 3-D and I've decided that I don't want to see movies in 3-D anymore unless it's integral to their schtick). But I stayed a little late at work and ran out of cope, so I stayed home and chopped vegetables instead.

So I decided to go Sunday afternoon instead, and through conversational happenstance, ended up going not just with Jerry, but also Chris & Todd and with Rosemary. So that was nice! (Afterwards Chris & Todd took us to Smashburger for belated birthday celebration. Thanks, guys!)

Anyway, the movie: I'd heard that the plot and acting were kinda enh, but the visuals were gorgeous, so I went in expecting that and was not disappointed. It is indeed a very pretty movie, and there's a fair bit of storytelling done with just visuals. (And the movie doesn't spoonfeed you every last detail, which I always appreciate.) The pacing for all that gorgeousness is kinda slow. Charlize Theron chews the scenery like nobody's business, while Kristen Stewart's acting range runs from A to B. She does have more than one expression; I believe I counted three by the end of the movie. If they'd cast a kind of plain-looking actress with charisma and presence as the lead, I think it could have been amazing.

But I liked how feminist this retelling was. The romance is massively downplayed; there's some relationship-building between Snow and the Huntsman, but that's not the point of the story; it's about an heir taking back the throne from the usurper, and it so happens that both of them are women. Prince Charming is, at best, an irrelevancy. And the climax of the film is a fight between Snow and Ravenna (the evil queen), where Snow White is wearing completely standard armor and all of the men in the story are stuck in the room outside, taking no part whatsoever. Which is pretty nifty.

They even came thisclose to having really interesting commentary on power based on looks and glamour vs power that comes from who you are, i.e, charisma/personality. (Sadly, that was undercut by casting Kristen Stewart, who is pretty but incredibly bland, as the lead.)

Now, there are plenty of ways in which the movie is also kinda problematic, but the big picture view is that they took a story about an incredibly passive girl and made it into a story about a young woman who does things. It may not be great, but it is better. And that was refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing and feminist, remember how I was talking about how Black Widow is the most central character in The Avengers and not just walking fan service and how that was really nice? I read a VERY interesting pair of blog posts about how not everyone sees it that way, and why that might be happening, that I recommend to you:

The Superhero Men Don't See: Evidence
Scarlett Johansson in a Gorilla Suit: The Superhero Mundanes Don't See
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