Film Reviews

Snow White, the Dragons, and the Seven Elves

The Film:

Grimm’s Snow White

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Snow White teams up with a group of elves to prevent her wicked stepmother from absorbing the power of a magical flame (no joke). Also, for no apparent reason, DRAGONS. EVERYWHERE.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Basically, a star fell to earth and became a magical flame from which two types of creatures sprang: dragons and elves. Being an elf really blows because, even though they have special magical amulets, many have been enslaved by humans. Since this movie is basically Snow White directed by Peter Jackson, there is a prophecy that tells of a hero who will rise in times of turmoil. That hero is…[dramatic camera pan out] Snow White. I think? Even though (spoiler alert) she doesn’t really do anything.

So, exposition/prophecy is out of the way, and we move on to the action of the film. The king of, I don’t know, wherever the fuck we are, is out hunting when a REALLY high quality CGI effect dragon attacks his party. The king calls out to one of his men for help, but the dude takes off running, leaving the king to a nasty end.

DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGONS.
DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGONS.

Cut to the queen, who has to practice acting super upset about the death of her husband, which she in fact orchestrated with the help of the huntsman, aka that guy who ran away when the dragon showed up. Not only does the queen have access to elven magic for reasons I don’t totally get, but she also has her magic mirror (of course). I guess this is just not an acceptable amount of magic because what she really wants is to find the mythical flame.

Meanwhile, one of the queen’s men has trespassed onto the lands of a neighboring kingdom, conveniently ruled by a handsome prince who wants to avoid another war. He decides to go visit the queen and propose marriage, so they will form an alliance/not kill each other. Insert obstacle: Snow White, who looks a lot like Alice in Wonderland since she’s blonde and wears a blue dress for almost 100% of this movie. When the prince sees Snow White, he’s super turned on. Or falls in love. For my (non-existent) less cynical readers. Snow White has come home after years of living in the convent where the queen sent her.

So anyway, the prince proposes to the queen anyway because he’s too noble, and acts all offended but invites him to stay to discuss later. This kind of looks like it was shot in someone’s living room, which I suppose is probably luxury compared to a lot of medieval lifestyles, and in general a risk you have to take when watching bad movies, but still. I kept expecting someone’s cat to run across the screen.

That evening, the prince wanders around the gardens, which is a useful plot point since Snow White’s only hobby is literally just walking around and humming to herself in the garden. The prince basically asks her out even though he’s kind of pre-engaged to her stepmother (which, I’ve learned from Facebook, is a real thing).

2
Seriously, the Alice in Wonderland vibe is so distracting.

So the queen gets upset at this point because (a) the magic mirror gives her sass about Snow White being prettier, and (b) Snow White is stealing her pre-affianced. This is the point where the queen tells the huntsman to kill Snow White. As he’s about to commit murder it becomes apparent there are elves watching. Additional obstacle: a dragon shows up and kills one of the men. For some reason, the huntsman cuts out this guy’s heart and gives it to the queen, while the elves save Snow White. The elves take her in and heal her, even though one of the elves objects (who is, coincidentally, named Orlando and is a really bad actor).

The queen then realizes Snow White is still alive thanks to her mirror, and feeds the huntsman to her were-dogs that kind of have mohawks. She turns her attention to Snow White and tells her guards to unleash the dogs because she is probably not legally allowed to say “Smithers, release the hounds.”

The dogs are about to get Snow White, but the prince saves her by distracting them. Then a dragon shows up, nooooooooooooooo, but everyone makes it out alive. When the prince tracks down the elves’ cottage, they deny the existence of Snow White. This is either going to end totally fine, or the prince is going to slowly lose his mind like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo.

Just for the hell of it, Snow White and one of the elves go to the palace and sneak around; they see the queen convincing the prince that he was just hallucinating out of grief and they should get married ASAP. The elf is captured, but Snow White manages to escape. Now they need a castle insider, so they plan to recruit Isabella, an elf who works for the queen, when they see her at the market. This is a really shitty plan, as Isabella has no interest in helping, and the whole thing is pretty much a setup anyway. The queen, disguised as an old crone, gives Snow White a poisoned ring. Since they think she’s dead, the elves prepare to give her a Viking funeral, but the Prince shows up and realizes she’s still alive. He kisses her hand and wakes her up, which is at least less creepy than the traditional making out with a dead girl part of this fairy tale. The prince proposes to Snow White, and she accepts.

Evil Queen's hat game:  strong.
Evil Queen’s hat game: strong.

At this point, Snow White is reluctant to seize the throne from the queen, which sucks. However, she changes her mind after the prince is captured trying to free that elf from earlier. The queen can kind of bend minds to her will; when she does this to the prince he plays along and says he’ll marry her again. I should point out he’s chained up in a dungeon at this point, so we’re getting way closer to 50 Shades territory than I would’ve expected from this movie. The queen marches out with her army to destroy Snow White and the elves for good.

When he sees the army approaching, Orlando tries to give the elves a motivational speech…“We’re going to die with honor, etc, etc.”

4
One of many ambiguous facial expressions.

This is the prelude to some reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bad battle scenes. The hitherto unmentioned Dark Elves show up out of nowhere and attack; they’re basically ninjas, which is pretty cool.

Unfortunately, the battle ends in defeat—the prince has been stabbed, and Snow White/elves have been captured. For whatever reason, the queen decides she’s going to marry the prince instead of kill him, which is just stupid. One of the elves, presumably dead, is actually still alive and frees Snow White, who fights the queen and decapitates her.

The elves heal the prince…and they all live happily ever after.

The Critique:

Snow White, already one of my least favorite fairy tale characters (except maybe in Fables), is just a total pushover in this adaptation. This is possibly (probably) more reflective of my own twisted psyche than the film, but the evil queen was awesome and should have won. All she wanted to do was to be all-powerful and hook up with a young, attractive dude; would you not do the same thing if you were the ruler of a kingdom? No? You’d be a constitutional monarch? Yeah, don’t bullshit me. The queen is basically Queen Elizabeth I in terms of badassery, and Snow White is…I don’t know, Catherine Howard or basically any of Henry VIII’s wives. Obviously way more fun to be QEI than dead/exiled.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Largely because it combined Snow White and dragons.

P.S. Sorry to my former self who tried to keep blog posts under 1,000 words, but you know what? In the immortal words of OneRepublic, it’s too late to ’pologize.

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