Over the past few months I have been obsessively following this story and I can't get enough of it. It's just too good to be true: Two films based on the same story, each with talented casts, that are being released within less than 3 months of each other. It's like a more interesting, more sophisticated and more high-stakes celebrity feud.
First, here are the fast facts:
Snow White #1
Snow White and the Huntsman
Snow White - Kristen Stewart
The Huntsman - Chris Hemsworth
Evil Queen - Charlize Theron
June 1, 2012
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman, ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed, winds up becoming her mentor and protector in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Snow White #2
The Brothers Grimm: Snow White
Snow White - Lily Collins
Prince Andrew Alcott - Armie Hammer
Evil Queen - Julia Roberts
March 16, 2012
A dark twist on the classic fairy tale, in which Snow White and the seven dwarfs look to reclaim their destroyed kingdom.
Let's compare, shall we?
The Snow Whites:
Clearly the people behind Snow White and the Huntsman are going for an epic, Lord of the Rings feel, which is fine except that Snow White's armor looks almost exactly like the Gondorian armor from Rings. The tree on Snow White's shield is dangerously close to the Tree of Gondor design. The notion that imitation is a form of flattery does not apply to film-making in my opinion. It just comes across as sloppy and unoriginal. Anyway, that's not what I'm here to talk about.
Even when I was young I was never a fan of the Disney princess movies. I don't like damsel-in-distress stories, so I like that this Snow White is going to be a tough warrior princess. You would think that after the Twilight films no casting director in their right mind would cast Kristen Stewart as a princess, however, after seeing the direction this film is going to take, I like the idea. Stewart does romantic and happy quite terribly, but intense and serious quite well. However, there is more danger of being called a copy-cat because Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland did essentially the same thing: turning a classic storybook girl into a warrior. See the similarities?
The Brothers Grimm: Snow White is also being marketed as a "modern" and "dark" interpretation, however, the picture of Lily Collins as Snow White does not look very dark. She looks a bit like a porcelain doll. This is the first film in an intended series of films called The Brothers Grimm, so this movie has the difficult task of setting the tone for the rest of the series.
I actually really like all the color in this photo. Lily Collins is the daughter of singer Phil Collins and she has just burst onto the scene. Her breakout role was playing Collins Tuohy is The Blind Side. That role didn't give her much to work with so I have no idea how good of an actress she is.
The Love Interests
I fell pretty hard for Chris Hemsworth when he played George Kirk in Star Trek. It is so hard to find an actor who can be an action star, but can also play the intimate, emotional moments. With most action movies I feel like the star is usually one or the other, rarely both. That being said, I have full confidence that Hemsworth can be both. Come on, who didn't cry at his performance is Star Trek? And though I haven't seen Thor, he received rave reviews, so he's got the action part covered. So let's go down our checklist: Overwhelmingly handsome. Check. Acting ability. Check. Action star status. Check. Scruffy action hero beard. Check. Stoic, brooding facial expression. Check.
Playing the love interest in The Brothers Grimm: Snow White is Armie Hammer. Armie Hammer is another new face. He recently played Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network. According to Entertainment Weekly, the prince in this film is caught in a love triangle between Snow White and her evil step-mother. (That cannot be very good for their mother-daughter relationship.) Unlike Chris Hemsworth, Hammer has yet to be tested as an action star, however, I'm not sure how much action there will be in this film. I'm sure he will brandish a sword and ride a horse, but this film seems like it will be much less of an action movie than Snow White and the Huntsman. The picture of Lily Collins in The Bros Grimm is the only promo pic out right now, so we don't have a look at what the other characters will look like, but of course Armie Hammer will look the part once he's in costume.
The Evil Queens
And of course, you can't have a modern fantasy film without a sexy, evil villain. I am not a huge fan of Charlize Theron. My favorite movie that she's in is The Cider House Rules and even in that, she's not the stand-out actor. I don't really have much to say about her except that her costume is pretty amazing. Of the two Evil Queens, I think she definitely has the upper hand. Julia Roberts does not do sexy very well these days, but I think she could be great if she chooses to be passive-aggressive evil.
Neither of these films are on my list of highly-anticipated films of 2012, but I'm still looking forward to them. Who knows if either of them will be very good? In this year alone, there have been two films based on fairy tales that were both critical and box office disasters. The first was Red Riding Hood and the second was Beastly, which was based on Beauty and the Beast.
Whether the movies sink or swim, I will definitely be following this story to the end.