Friday, June 01, 2012
This film is very much a dark fantasy revision of the Snow White story with the young Snow White (Raffey Cassidy, Dark Shadows) growing up in an idyllic fairy tale kingdom until her mother (Liberty Ross) dies. The death leaves her father, King Magnus (Noah Huntley), heartbroken and then the kingdom is attacked by a mysterious black glass army. The King defeats the army and frees a prisoner, Ravenna (Charlize Theron). He marries her the next day (got to be wary of those short engagements) and finds himself murdered on his wedding night. Ravenna had summoned the magic army as a ruse and opens the castle to her flesh and blood army.
Whilst the Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan) manages to escape with his son Will (Sam Claflin), Snow White is captured by Ravenna’s brother, Finn (Sam Spruell), and imprisoned in a tower where she grows up to be Kristen Stewart (Twilight 1, 2, 3 & 4 (part 1)). Now, Ravenna is definitely a witch – she casts magic spells, we know, such as summoning a whole animated black glass army – but she is also a vampire and we first see evidence of this when Snow White is still imprisoned.
Ravenna has been using her power a side-effect of which is the appearance of wrinkles as she suddenly ages. Finn brings her something to help her – a pretty young prisoner called Greta (Lily Cole). The Queen grabs the girl and sucks the youth out of her… Note that it is the youth she sucks out of the girl, rather than simply the life; this is reminiscent of our vampires in Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter. Indeed Greta, back in her cell now aged with the appearance of a crone, brought said film to mind. The mirror (Christopher Obi) warns the Queen that Snow White – who has just come of age – is her downfall but also her salvation – if she takes the Princess’ heart it will grant her immortality with none of the associated pesky youth sucking.
So Snow White escapes into the dark forest and a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is sent after her and is soon helping her on her quest to restore the kingdom and thus the land (which has become barren under Ravenna). This is, of course, because the Snow White tale is about imbalance in nature via the Maiden, Mother, Crone archetype as the now barren (step) mother refuses to become the crone and relinquish her position to the maiden who is of age and due to become the mother herself; nature stagnating as a result and the imbalance passing only when the maiden defeats the (step) mother to attain her rightful place… However it is vampiric elements we are looking for, not pagan archetypes. We do see some more youth sucking, or the aftermath thereof with bodies aplenty, and we find a village of women who have scarred their own faces to save themselves from Ravenna (she only sucks those she deems the pretty ones). We discover that she has lived twenty lifetimes and that the original spell cast upon her involved blood (three drops of fairest blood) and it is through Snow White’s fair blood she can be stopped. When she dies (I assume you do know that Snow White is destined to be triumphant) the Queen rapidly ages (as does her brother when he is killed, having been kept alive through her sorcery).
That’s it, but definitely enough to class this as Vamp – especially as it is the core element of the main antagonist. The film itself was rather watchable, if too referential in places. Scenes look as though they might have been lifted from Lord of the Rings – incidentally the dwarves are created much the same way as the dwarves and hobbits in Lord of the Rings with some very familiar actors resized on screen – and a set scene lifted directly from Princess Mononoke. Kristen Stewart again only has one expression but it actually fits the film (except at the end, where it is almost painful watching her try to crack a genuinely happy smile). For some reason crossing the land with the Princess takes forever, whereas other characters zip back and forth like the clappers (a common fantasy film complaint). I am also unclear as to how Greta managed to get her youth back at the end and have put it down to a bad case of the happily-ever-afters. However the core film is dark, interesting, looks good and is Vamp.
The imdb page is here.