Who is the fairest of them all?

Snow White? Snow WHITES? TWO Snow Whites?? If my niece Mckinlie knew about this she'd be awfully confused. I'm of course talking about the TWO cinematic live action Snow White adaptations to grace the screen this year within months of one another. I'm really not sure why filmmakers were clamoring at the bit to adapt this particular fairy tale to the big screen twice in the same year and unfortunately neither one completely hit the mark. That's not to say they didn't both have their definite strengths. So which one is superior? Well there's only one way to settle which one is the best of the best...and that's by putting the two movies against each other in every single aspect I can think of. So let's start with the two Snow Whites themselves.

SNOW WHITE: The relatively unknown actress Lily Collins (daughter of Phil.) vs. K-Stew of Twilight fame. Now it's not that Stewart did a bad job or anything...she was surprisingly decent with what was given to her...but the problem was that not much was given to her. As a result, she was a far more blah character than everyone else in her film. Collins on the other hand was given real character development. You can see how she changes from an innocent, naive princess to a strong, determined woman willing to fight for her kingdom. Stewart on the other hand was already a warrior right from the get-go which is a bit unbelievable having been locked in a tower her whole life. I liked in Mirror Mirror the montage of her struggling to learn how to defend herself. Much more believable. Also lookswise I just felt like Collins much more embodied the role of Snow White. Stewart looked fine, but she just has a modern look about her....not the princess from a fairy tale look it takes to pull the role off. WINNER: Collins. Mirror Mirror

EVIL QUEEN: Charlize Theron vs. Julia Roberts. Okay first let me say that I do believe Julia Roberts was miscast for the role of the Queen. However she really had a blast with the part and played the role wonderfully and incredibly humorously for the movie she was in. It worked. It maybe could have been darker or could have been better...but it worked for the tone of the movie she was in. That said....Charlize Theron was absolutely incredible in this role. She was honestly terrifying and was definitely the best part of Snow White and the Huntsman. Without her the movie would not have worked, so I think I most definitely have to give this round to her. WINNER: Theron. Snow White and the Huntsman

HENCHMAN: One of the ugliest, creepiest pumpkin pie haircutted freaks I've ever seen in my life (thanks for that one Dumb & Dumber) vs. Nathan Lane. One is almost the epitome of the word creeper and the other is great comic relief. Seriously Nathan Lane gets away with quite a few of my favorite lines in Mirror Mirror. ("She lived she died, there will be a buffet at 2!") Like the last category this one is really apples and oranges and both fit the movie they were in. However, unlike my queens, I prefer my henchmen humorous than outright villainous. therefore the WINNER: Nathan Lane. Mirror Mirror.

LOVE INTEREST: Chris Hemsworth vs. Armie Hammer. So we've got hunky and brooding up against hot and hilarious (and also incredibly sweet). Can you say win win win? Really I have a huge crush on both of these actors and both played their parts incredibly well for the movies they were in. Hemsworth had a lot of charisma and was the best part of all the scenes he was in and Hammer was adorable AND had great comic timing. Both actors brought a lot to their films and I can't really pick between them I just love them both! WINNER: Draw.

LOVE STORY: No contest here really. All Hemsworth and K-Stew shared was an unconscious kiss (only ONE kiss and she's passed out during it!?) and a few throwaway glances. Collins and Hammer had some really sweet moments and nice little chemistry. Not that Hemsworth and K-Stew couldn't have if the script would have allowed for it....but for some reason it really didn't. No confrontation after the lame unconscious kiss...no nothing. I could have done with even more moments between Collins and Hammer too, but what they did have was really nice and they made a cute little couple. WINNER: Collins and Hammer. Mirror Mirror

DWARVES & SNOW WHITE DYNAMIC: By the time the dwarves made their appearance in Snow White and the Huntsman I practically forgot there were even dwarves in the story! I think this was really detrimental to this aspect of the fairy tale and there was much more of a memorable rapport between Snow, the prince and the dwarves in Mirror Mirror as opposed to Snow White and the Huntsman. I really can only remember that there was some clairvoyant dwarf in Huntsman. Other than that I remember nothing. I guess they seemed enamored of K-Stew...but I don't think to the same intimate, friendly level that was seen in Mirror Mirror. This is also supported by the fact that I couldn't find any pics of K-Stew with the dwarfs on google..WINNER: Mirror Mirror

TONE: Again...apples and oranges. On the one hand we have silly, almost slapstick type humor in a fairy tale setting against the realism of the darkness of an evil ruler. Snow White and the Huntsman was definitely more on the Grimm side of fairytales in this one. Both were good for what they were, but for me humor does go a long way. So the edge to Mirror. WINNER: Mirror Mirror.

COSTUMES: This one is a toughie. I feel like ALL the costumes in Mirror are just top notch. From the Queen to Snow White to the extras everything looks pretty whimsical and fairytaley. In Huntsman it's a much different story. The Queen's wardrobe is breathtakingly exquisite and just downright incredible. Everything else? Pretty forgettable. So for ALL the costumes maybe Mirror, but JUST the Queen's? Huntsman. Therefore I say the entire category is just a draw. WINNER: Draw. 

SET DESIGN: Both set designs here were really excellent for the tone each film was going for. Mirror Mirror felt more fairy tale land while Snow White and the Huntsman was definitely rooted more in reality. I really really liked the look of Huntsman and found it captivating, but since it's a fairy tale it's based on I'd rather see it look more like a fairy tale...so i give the slightest edge then to Mirror Mirror. WINNER: Mirror Mirror.

CASTLE: Okay is it weird I wanna take the castle from Snow White and the Huntsman and put it in the location where the castle from Mirror Mirror stood? I liked the pristine look of the castle in Mirror, but would prefer it look more like the classical castle of Snow White and the Huntsman. I do enjoy it's gritty look too which works for its movie...and I like how it lies on the beach. Kind of reminds me of Le Mount St. Michel. WINNER: I give the edge to Snow White and the Huntsman

FOREST: Haha okay this is a weird one I know and is a subdivision really of the set design, just like the castle category was... But this was one area that I really enjoyed of Snow White and the Huntsman. The creepy areas were terrifying and the magical areas were \wondrous. Mirror Mirror had a really hard time comparing to that and keeping up with that magic. WINNER: Snow White and the Huntsman

MIRROR: Both interpretations of the mirror were pretty darn wacky. In Mirror Mirror it was just an emotionless version of Julia Roberts talking back to herself. In Huntsman it was some...silvery being. Never was really clear on that. While the Mirror Mirror thing was interesting visually, I didn't really care for that interpretation at all. WINNER: Snow White and the Huntsman.

WEIRD/RANDOM/UNNECESSARY TAGENT... OR...ELEMENT THAT JUST TAKES YOU OUT OF THE MOVIE: Like I said, both movies had something that kept me out of it or kept me from completely being on-board. For Snow White and the Huntsman it's a sequence in the land of the fairies...that while beautiful (until you see the actual fairies...) feels completely thrown in and pointless when you think about it afterwards. With Mirror Mirror some of Julia Roberts communications with the mirror and actions resulting because of it are a bit weird, and the special effects near the end look just terrible. That really takes you out of it, even when the plot line that goes along with it is fine enough. WINNER: well there are no winners here. It's a draw.

LENGTH/PACING: In the beginning both flowed really well and were very entertaining and captivating. However I'm afraid I've lost most of my patience for medieval-esque battle scenes anymore....so Huntsman did lose a little of my interest near the end. Anytime I know there's a battle coming in a movie I get a little bored because I've seen it all before, and better in Lord of the Rings. It also doesn't help that it's about 20 minutes longer than the tightly edited Mirror Mirror. WINNER: Mirror Mirror.

STORY: Both films took their liberties with the familiar fairy tale...so which had a better take? Or rather which take was less offensive? haha. Snow White and the Huntsman gave an interesting backstory to the Queen and changed it so that Snow ends up with a huntsman rather than a prince. Mirror Mirror  SPOILERS never has Snow going unconscious and has her free HIM from a spell with a kiss rather than the other way around. Also the dwarves here are thieves. But everything else seems pretty well the same to how most people think of the tale. WINNER: Draw. I thought the additions to Huntsman were interesting enough and didn't detract, and I had no problem with Mirror Mirror either.

ULTIMATE WINNER: I think it's obvious I slightly preferred Mirror Mirror as it claimed 11 categories to Huntsman's 7. I don't know, its brand of humor just completely worked for me and I thought it was a sweet little rendition of the tale and just fun...even if it isn't perfect. And it does have fairy tale written all over it. What WOULD be perfect?? The ULTIMATE version would have been this: Lily Collins as Snow White with Charlize Theron as her evil stepmother. Armie Hammer as the Prince and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. Oh yeah....one hot love interest? TWO HOT LOVE INTERESTS?? The roles need not compete since one is a prince and one a huntsman...then she will just have to make the hardest choice anyone would ever have to make in the history of mankind (Sophie's Choice is nothin.) Sounds perfect to me :)

MUCH better love triangle. (K-Stew's third point to her triangle was pretty much forgettable. Oh yeah we're supposed to believe this guy goes up against Thor? Please.)


Amelia said...

Nice breakdown. It's interesting to see each part of those movies split up like that. Also in Huntsman I thought it was interesting only the queen could see the silvery mirror being and that they emphasized this to us (via the brother eavesdropping). It was an interesting take on magic and a good representation of her fractured mind/break from reality.

Mom said...

Now I need to see them!

Sarah said...

Yeah, now I'm curious to see these too. :) Thanks for the breakdown. It sounds like they were both pretty entertaining films with a lot of good points.

Mom said...

Okay, now that I've seen The Huntsman, overall I think I liked Mirror Mirror better. It's the movie I could sit through again. If I was channel surfing on a Saturday with clothes to fold, that would be the ticket.

First....K-Stew is completely miscast as Snow White. The girl looks like a teenager who is mad at her mom during most of the movie. Thought that the Joan of Arc speech stirring the troops was one of her better moments, but it didn't totally inspire. Handy that she had leather pants under that dress the whole time she was in prison. And nice that they gave her clothes during those many years. I would have expected her to come out in rags. And I asked Niel how she learned to fight. And she was pretty fit for staying up there so long.

Charlize is beautiful and no one is ever going to believe that K-Stew is fairer than she. Okay, I've said it. Now I will go and get a saucer of milk.

I haven't seen Lord of the Rings, but the fight scenes are too been-there-done-that even for me.

Loved your blog!

Oh, and I think that the reason there was no chemistry between her and the huntsman was because you kept thinking that she was going to end up with William. That was the one lucid kiss she had in the whole movie and ....spoiler alert...it turns out to be Charlize ala Whoopie Goldberg/Ghost kind of thing. Yeah, both the guys are way cute. I could have gone either way, but I tend to lean on the preppy not gritty side. Clean shaven versus just got back from camping look. So does she even end up with him? Maybe it was left unclear because the director was already having the illicit affair.....

Yep, sauce of milk on the way.

Niel said...

GREAT blog Emily... so good that I didn't read it prior to watching the films, but I agree with most of your points (other than I have no crush on anyone in either movie :)) Couple of thoughts:

I liked HUNTSMAN better than MIRROR for just the reason that I wanted to see an updated version of the fairytale grounded in its own reality (a la Lord of the Rings or Star Wars). MIRROR was still a fairytale, and as such was the more likeable and watchable movie... which is why I was so disappointed with HUNTSMAN. Two things HUNTSMAN needed:

1. Stick with a storyline! They tried to do way too much, and ended up not doing anything well. Think of the childhood friends torn apart and then reunited to... what? Went nowhere quickly. Or the kiss that wakes her up after an anguished expression of regret, leading to... what? One look at the end of the movie? Give me a break. Or the sudden emergence 3/4 way through the film that Snow White is life itself, curing all ills around her... leading to... what? Nothing that's what. Now if she'd gone on to cure the poor 8th dwarf that dies in her arms, then I might have believed... but nothing further was said. And, having 8 dwarves when they first met was a real distraction!

2. Figure out what each character can or cannot do and stick with it (I see a pattern here...). The huntsman is getting beat up in a bar brawl one minute, and then next scene he is besting whole groups of soldiers. Then he easily beats up the henchman brother, who in their next encounter beats him in the same type of fight easily. Then the Prince is all heroic going after Snow White despite his father's disapproval... but then she has to be rescued by the huntsman's return. Every time I started to root for someone the story line changed.

My changes to make of the HUNTSMAN the movie I wished I'd seen:

1. Switch Snow Whites (or just get rid of K-Stew all together!). Could never believe she was innocent and fairer than the queen.

2. Two love stories: The huntsman and his wife (which was 95% of the true love expressed in the movie anyway); and Snow and the Prince. Sorry Emily, no double trouble for me!

3. for #2 to work: Have the Greta character (who is robbed of her youth by the evil queen and turned into an old woman) be the huntsman's wife. Did I not see her returned to her youth in the last scene (and able then to be returned to the arms of her loving husband)? In fact, why not have a whole dungeon room full of old women found and all returned to their youth by the fountain of life, Snow White, and returned joyously to their families. THAT would have brought life back to the kingdom!

4. Huntsman's story has him going from drowning sorrow in drink from the loss of his wife, to big brother love of and protector of Snow White, to happiness at his wife's return.

5. Prince's story has him in anguish at having to leave her in the first scene to making it up by rescuing her amid displays of heroism and daring, to jealousy of the huntsman, to anguish at losing her again to the poisoned apple (that soliloquy belonged to him anyway), to leading the charge to take back the kingdom.


Sarah said...

I finally watched Mirror Mirror. Thank you, Netflix! It was really cute. I liked the tone a lot. Fairy tale with sugar and spice! :) Now, I'll have to see Snow White and the Huntsman and get back to you on it!