Tuesday, July 02, 2019
The Fairy Tale Project | Snow White: The Fairest of Them All (2001)
Who's in it?: Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, The Conjuring, Bates Motel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Kristin Kreuk (Smallville), Clancy Brown (Highlander, Shoot to Kill, Carnivàle), Vincent Schiavelli (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Better Off Dead...), Michael J Anderson (Twin Peaks, Carnivàle), Warwick Davis (Return of the Jedi, Willow), and Martin Klebba (Corky Romano, Pirates of the Caribbean, Scrubs, Mirror Mirror).
What's it about?: An Everything But the Kitchen Sink version of the fairy tale.
How is it?: I almost gave up a couple of times, but finished the film out of sheer stubbornness. Miranda Richardson is pretty great as the Queen and so is Vera Farmiga as one of her disguises, but Kristin Kreuk, while heart-breakingly beautiful, is also heart-breakingly empty as Snow White. She gives nothing to the performance and there's no way for me to connect to the character.
And even though she's fun, I don't connect to the Queen either, because unlike other versions and the original fairy tale, she's not trying to hold onto what her culture values about women. There's no social commentary, she's just evil and greedy. She doesn't actually care about what the King thinks of her; she's just trying to take over the kingdom. Boring.
I guess someone could argue that that's a more feminist take, but I'd argue back that it's not, because it doesn't actually address feminist issues. And that's not even considering that the power the Queen uses in her attempted coup comes from her older brother (Clancy Brown) who I guess is a genie or something?
The genie is indicative of my biggest problem with the film, which is that it just keeps layering on random elements for no reason. Like how the prince gets turned into a bear and then shrunk and put into a snow globe. Or how the dwarfs are named after days of the week, given the corresponding personalities from the "Monday's Child" song, then color-coded so that together they make a rainbow, but then they can actually turn into a rainbow and use it to travel long distances. Any one of these things could be interesting if there was a point to it, but it's all just thrown on top of the story without any consideration for what the story becomes.
I disliked the movie, but I'd have hated it more if not for Richardson and Farmiga's clearly having fun as their versions of the Queen. And the dwarf casting was pretty great, too. In an instance where a random, unexpected detail actually worked, Vincent Schiavelli is thrown in as one of the dwarfs alongside favorites Martin Klebba, Warwick Davis, and Michael J Anderson.
Rating: Two out of five Evil Farmigas.