Friday, April 8, 2016

Snow Queen and the Huntsman?

I'm both intrigued by and worried about the upcoming Huntsman: Winter's War.  I have a soft spot in my thorny heart for Snow White and the Huntsman.  Besides being a gorgeous film, there were some vivid fairy tale archetypes and themes that hit my sweet spot: the waste land, the white stag, Ravenna as a crow queen and beauty as a weapon, etc.  It looks like this film is going to continue in that direction of powerful imagery, but I'm still hesitant to get my hopes too high.  At this point it's more of a general, nondescript feeling than a handful of solid reasons.

It's strange that the huntsman-part of the first film was made the series anchor.  At the end of SWATH, it felt like it was setting up for a sequel that would follow Snow, with a Snow White and the ____ title.  Ravenna was dead.  Okay, so they resurrected her.  I'll suspend disbelief.  But this is both a before and after with the supposedly defeated queen.  (Though I adored Charlize Theron's performance--that alone is worth watching!)

The adoption and expansion of the role of Hemsworth's huntsman will forever change our perception of the first film, and I don't like movies that do that.  I think it's sloppy story-telling, it changes the already-powerful and satisfyingly vague backstory of Ravenna in the first film.  I understand that they couldn't get Kristen Stewart back for a sequel, but they're creatives . . . they could have figured something out.  (For that matter, how about Emily Blunt in the role of Snow White?  She's a much better actress than Stewart.)

We've already had one Snow Queen disaster with Disney's Frozen.  Andersen's tale is my favorite, and I don't take kindly to loose or artless interpretations.  Emily Blunt's character could be done very well or not.   Though there is a symmetry in making the villain from Snow White and the Snow Queen related.  Come to think of it, wouldn't a better title have been Snow Queen and the Huntsman?

There's lots more that I'm wondering at; some of which make sense, I suppose, for entertainment purposes, but which doesn't please my demanding since of aesthetic!  I'm all over the map on this one, so enough from me.  What do you think?



  1. Interesting. You critique this new idea of Ravenna having a background story that more solidifies her character and how she got where she was when we first meet her in SWATH. You mention is takes away from her elusive past.

    This is super similar to something you mentioned about Angie Jolie's reprise of Maleficent. They gave the most feared and hated evil characters of all time an excuse (written into a background story). "See, she has a reason to be so hard-hearted. She was betrayed by her first love." NO. No, no, no.

    Why does there need to be a reason to be evil? Can it not just be? Do we need to know EVERYTHING nowadays? Lame. The mystery of why these woman are who they are is why they are so entrancing.

    No, don't give me a justified, once scorned, woman. Give me the evil queen.

    1. Good point, I hadn't thought about Maleficent. That was a ... what do you call it .... I'll go with "subversion" ... of the fairytale, making the bad guy good. That's not what it's called, but you get the idea. Huntsman is just adding to the background but in a confusing way. There was no mention of a sister. There was a brother, who died, in the first one, so the utter silence of this one character and then her major role in a sequel is just like ... yeah, you guys are really forcing this sequel thing.

  2. I don't agree with your notion that "Frozen" was a "Snow Queen disaster", ecause Frozen is not an adaptation of The Snow Quuen. Frozen is a movie that borrows a few elements from The Snow Quuen and is bsed on the same central theme of taking harship upon oneself for love.

    Just because Shakesspeare when writing Romeo and Juliet was inspired by the Ancient Greek myth of Pyramus and Thisbe, borowed some elements from it and based his play upon the same central theme of the tragic consequences of intolerance and hate for love, this does not make Romeo and Juliet a "Pyramus and Thisbe disaster", even if the plot is completely different.

    Writers are inspired by the wors of others all the time. Noone writes in a vaccum. The production team of FRozen made the conscious decision not to adapt the Snow Queen and instead create their own story that is still true to the message that sometimes there need to be sacrifes madein the name of love.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Julia. I thought Frozen was an adaptation of The Snow Queen, like Tangled was a version of Rapunzel. Admittedly, I haven't done much research on the topic, so I must be wrong.

      I do, however, find Frozen to be one of Disney's worst fairy tales, even apart from being a version of the Snow Queen, and plenty critics agree with me there.

      Still, I doubt Disney would ever try to make a "Snow Queen" movie now that they've made Frozen. Pretty sure they consider Frozen to check off the Snow Queen box. Which, actually, is a relief to me!

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