The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Snow White: Showdown

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which Snow White is the fairest of them all? Hollywood has recently produced two projects based on the classic fairy tale: “Mirror, Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Though both films star a pale princess and an evil witch, the similarities pretty much end there. So which Snow White spinoff wins?

“Mirror, Mirror” was first to hit the big screen on March 30. The basic premise of the film is that the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) has taken over the kingdom and left it in ruin as a result of her lavish lifestyle. She has set her sights on marrying Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer) to solve her financial issues, but Snow White (Lily Collins) is determined to reclaim the throne and bring back the kingdom’s golden days.

Collins definitely looks the part of the dark-haired, rosy-cheeked princess, but unfortunately her version of Snow White is less animated and lovable than her 2D Disney counterpart. For the most part, the acting is lackluster and not believable, which becomes particularly obvious when she delivers lines in a deadpan voice when more emotion is clearly needed. For example, while she’s dancing with the prince during the ball, she ever so casually mentions that, “Ever since my father died, [the Queen has] terrorized the people and ruined the land.”

Collins’ co-stars don’t fare much better. Although Hammer looks like the perfect prince, his teeth are the only sparkling thing about his character (literally). From his swashbuckling moves (that make him seem like Robin Hood’s little brother who is trying too hard) to his strange “puppy love” outbreak, Prince Andrew Alcott is not the suave hero you want him to be. Those who are just looking for eye candy are better off watching the Social Network; Hammer is much more charming as the Winklevoss brothers.
The Evil Queen is undoubtedly the most complex character of the movie. Roberts delivers sarcastic comments from her gaudy gold throne, drowning in her vanity while still demonstrating sparks of the “evil queen” character. But just as she protests to her magic mirror that she doesn’t have wrinkles yet, “just crinkles”, her performance “just crinkles” the surface. In trying to be funny, sarcastic and wicked at the same time, the Queen has so many competing personalities that the audience doesn’t quite know what to make of her. Plus, it’s just hard to see Julia Roberts as a villain.

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“Mirror, Mirror” tries to create a “love at first sight” relationship between Snow White and Prince Andrew. They have an awkward first meeting in the woods (made even more awkward by the fact that the prince is half-naked) in which they act like two hormonal preteens who have absolutely no idea what to do around each other. Unfortunately, as the movie progresses, the chemistry does not improve.

But while the acting is stilted, the script itself is probably more at fault. From the start, the movie is jam-packed with cheesy lines that seem forced, even for a kid-friendly fairy tale comedy. Repetition of phrases such as “you need to believe” throughout the movie leaves audiences in disbelief at the screenwriter’s choices. Another cringe-worthy theme that shows up way too many times in the movie is “saying please” (such as when Snow White won’t untie the prince from the tree until he says “please”).

The film’s best quality may be the intricate, flamboyant costumes, which seemed to be inspired by Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Unfortunately, Snow White does not live in Wonderland, and while the crazy colors and patterns worked for the Red Queen and the Mad Hatter, they seem out of place in “Mirror, Mirror.”

Lovers of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale are better off waiting for the June release of “Snow White and the Huntsman”, which offers a darker take on the story. In the movie, true to the original tale, the Queen sends a Huntsman on a mission to kill Snow White and cut out her heart. The Huntsman falls for the princess and ends up teaming up with her in a war to kill the Queen.

The star-studded cast includes Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen, Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman and Sam Claflin as Prince Charmant, who seem to fit their dark character counterparts and match the overall intense atmosphere of the movie. The released trailer is ominous and action-packed at the same time, with promising CGI graphics and medieval costumes.
Judging from the trailer, “Snow White and the Huntsman” comes out on top in terms of special effects. For example, the Queen’s mirror in “Mirror, Mirror” is simply a silver reflection of Roberts, while in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” the mirror manifests itself in a liquid gold knight that melts off its frame. The soundtrack, which comes from the same composer responsible for the scores of “The Dark Knight” and “The Hunger Games”, also seems to be superior, with an epic action movie theme reminiscent of “Mind Heist” from “Inception.” “Mirror, Mirror’s” soundtrack, on the other hand, is confusing; for some reason, the movie ended with a Bollywood-inspired tune with dancing to match.

So which is the fairest of them all? “Mirror, Mirror” might want to take another look in the mirror because “Snow White and the Huntsman” has the potential to rule the kingdom with its adaptation.

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