Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth

The ‘fairer’ Snow White film of the year.

https://i2.wp.com/i2.listal.com/image/3624717/140full.jpg“I shall give this wretched world the queen it deserves.”

2012 has featured the release of two live-action adaptations of the Grimms fairytale, with Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror and Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman. I rather hated the hell out of Mirror Mirror due to it’s ridiculously cheesy approach to the fairytale. Snow White and the Huntsman is the complete opposite to that film – this is a dark, gritty, and even violent re-imagining of the beloved tale. The verdict is in – Snow White and the Huntsman is far more superior film to Mirror Mirror. This the first feature film from commercials director Rupert Sanders, and he’s handled this big budget blockbuster with technique and skill. The most notable change to the original story is the character of the Huntsman – he’s given a bigger part in this film. There are many things one could nitpick about, particularly with the screenplay, but Snow White and the Huntsman manages to grab your interest from the get-go, and it is without a doubt, the fairer Snow White adaptation of the year.

Snow White, the young princess of Tabor, is imprisoned in a tower after her father’s kingdom is overthrown by the evil Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Years later, Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart) escapes her prison just as Ravenna, who is now queen, learns from her Magic Mirror that Snow White’s heart is the source for her immortality. Evading capture from the queen’s guards, Snow White escapes into the dark forest, a place where no-one comes out alive. The Evil Queen enlists the help of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture Snow White. However, the Huntsman ends up siding with the fugitive when he comes face to face with her, and the two set out to overthrow Ravenna. Meanwhile, Snow White’s childhood friend William (Sam Claflin) sets out to find her after he learns that she is alive.

Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini, the screenplay is riveting for the most of the film. Like I said earlier, this is a hugely different re-imagining of Snow White than we’re used to. The writers really embraced the grit, and threw in all kinds of dark and spooky elements. The queen in particular is beautifully characterised villain. You get the sense that this evil queen was actually a human being at one point, and now she’s a complete monster. This is achieved through actual establishment of the character – we see flashbacks from her past, and the relationship with her evil brother (played by Sam Spruell) is also established well. Snow White also has been written well, though this is a totally different Snow White to the one we’re used to. In the film, she’s a ‘chosen one’ type character – throughout the land, many believe she is destined to overthrow the queen. What’s terrific is you actually get a feel that Snow White and Ravenna were complete opposites – they were true rivals who had to fight at the end no matter what. Last but not least, the Huntsman is a terrific love interest – it’s a nice twist on the classic tale.

This brings me to the flaws of the screenplay – the love triangle. The inclusion of the character William was a truly unnecessary decision. He got in the way of the developing the relationship between Snow White and the Huntsman – to be honest, their relationship could’ve been stretched out a lot more. There also doesn’t seem to be any purpose for the love triangle. There’s no conflict between William and the Huntsman, and William himself isn’t the most interesting of characters – he’s actually the most insipid of the film. Another qualm I had with Snow White and the Huntsman is the pacing, particularly around the middle act of the film as Snow White and her companion are evading capture from the Queen’s men. It felt tedious around this part in the film – nothing seems to happen, and the plot doesn’t go anywhere. The queen is also off-screen for far too long. Still, the story kicks right in once we see a surprisingly effective twist on the poisonous apple and the spell-breaking kiss. The introduction of the dwarves also livens up the mood of the film, as they’re pretty much the only source of humour. These characters are simply hilarious, and again, the writers added a nice gritty attitude to the characterisation of them – they’re not the most pleasant of dwarves.

I think it’s a no-brainer when I say this – Charlize Theron stole the show. She was hot as always, but she really brought the villainy to this role. Theron has so much range, and I’m still waiting for the day where she delivers a bad performance. Like all good actors, Theron works with the script to make sure her character has depth and is convincing, and through her, we can see the humanity Ravenna once had. This is the first time in a while where she’s played a truly evil villain, but she pulls it off with so much skill. If there’s one thing that can carry a film, it’s a good villain, and she definitely delivered on her part. While all the other actors are almost always upstaged by Theron, they still bring solid performances to the film. Kristen Stewart gets a lot of hate for her role in the Twilight films. I personally am a fan, and while she struggles with her accent from time to time, Stewart delivered the vulnerability and fierceness of her character beautifully. Chris Hemsworth is also good value as the Huntsman, showing that he can deliver great performances outside the Marvel films. His Scottish accent was also perfect, and suited the gritty tone of his character. The dwarves were all sensational, played by well-known British performers such as Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, and Nick Frost. All deliver a solid performances of their mischievous characters. Sam Claflin did get on my nerves from time to time as William – he just doesn’t seem to be trying. Maybe it was his character, but so far, nothing he’s done has been that amazing. Remember Pirates 4?)

On the technical side, Snow White and the Huntsman is a masterpiece. This film is absolutely riveting when it comes to the visuals. With superb creature design, the visual effects used to create all the mythical creatures is amazing. There are trolls, trees that turn snakes, and at one point in the film, the characters stumble upon a beautiful garden called Sanctuary – the visuals alone in this location make it a joyous watch. With luscious cinematography by Greig Fraser, this is definitely one of the most visually stunning films of the year so far. Sanders also uses his visual effects creatively when it comes to the Evil Queen. She transforms into a flock of ravens, engulfs herself in flames, bathes herself in a white liquid – all the effects done with the Queen always have a great combination of spooky and exhilarating. What’s also mind-blowing is the make-up done on Theron – throughout the film, the Queen actually grows older, and it’s a really cool effect. The production design is top rate, and again, all is shot beautifully by Fraser. Sanders shows that he has an eye for beauty – Snow White and the Huntsman always manages to impress on this aspect. What really surprised me is how much action there is in the film. There are a lot of action sequences here, and although some are quite short, the spectacle of them is magnificent. Sanders stages some really exciting set-pieces, particularly the climatic raid on the evil Queen’s castle, and all this is assisted by James Newton Howard’s epic score. The costumes by Colleen Atwood are worthy of an Oscar, with Snow White’s armour she wears at the climax being huge favourite of mine – Stewart looks like a total badass when she dons it.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a must-see in my opinion, and it’s a promising debut from Sanders. With a standout performance from Charlize Theron, who may prove to be the best villain of year, and a beautiful visual style, this re-imagining delivers, and you’re better off seeing this than Mirror Mirror. What I find extremely strange is a sequel is already being planned – what could they continue on with? Something tells me the love triangle will have more of a place in the sequel, but if it ends up like Twilight… oh dear.

8/10

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One hell of a good time at the movies.

“Yeah, thttps://i2.wp.com/i2.listal.com/image/3390769/200full.jpgakes us a while to get any traction, I’ll give you that one. But let’s do a head count here: your brother the demi-god; a super soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins, and YOU, big fella, you’ve managed to piss off every single one of them.”

There’s never been a movie that’s had more hype than The Avengers. Since the first Iron Man movie, Marvel has been setting up a film adaptation of the popular comic book series, hinting at the audience with several post-credits scenes. There have been several Avengers set-up movies, with The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and a sequel to Iron Man. All of these films were a major success individually, and it was a no-brainer than movie-goers everywhere was excited for The Avengers, particularly fans of the comic books. Directed and written by Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind a list of popular TV shows, The Avengers didn’t live up to the hype for me personally, but I can’t stress how much fun it is. Whedon himself is a comic book fanboy himself, and he’s treated the subject matter with a lot of respect and love. This is an amazingly enjoyable summer blockbuster.

Loki (Tom Hiddelston), the evil brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), has managed to acquire the Tesseract, the all-powerful energy source that was found at the bottom of the sea in Captain America: The First Avenger. He invades the Headquarters of Shield and manages to turn both Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgaard) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to the dark side. Shield’s leader, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), summons together five heroic figures to help save the world: Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans); Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

At the end of the day, the plot for The Avengers is nothing special. The whole situation is just an excuse for Shield to bring The Avengers together, and I’m fine with that. What Whedon does that sets The Avengers apart from most of the mindless action movies we’ve seen this year is with his characters – he gives them depth. Although the characters have been established in the set-up movies, Whedon’s script actually explains more about them and shows to the audience who these people are. There’s also some great development with the character of Black Widow, who we never got see a lot of in Iron Man 2. We are shown the relationship she shares with Hawkeye, which has its ups and downs. While it gives some extra dimension to her character, it reduces Hawkeye to a plot device – I had a problem with him as a character, as he has hardly anything to do until the climax. But still, you get a good sense of heroism from the film, as Whedon takes the time to actually develop a few of The Avengers. The Hulk is finally given a chance to shine here, and Tony Stark finally starts acting like a nice guy (only slightly). With a fan of The Avengers at the helm, the depiction of these heroes is dead on – they are heroes, and you get that terrific vibe throughout the whole film.

There’s also great deal of character conflict, which definitely adds a lot of emotional depth to the film. While the middle of the film drags slightly, this is when all the conflict actually starts to emerge, as the heroes begin arguing – they don’t get along so well as you’d expect. The main thing, though, that I think fans will take away from this is Whedon’s witty dialogue. This is a tremendously funny film. What’s great is the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film’s not supposed to be grim like The Dark Knight – it’s got a completely different tone, and Whedon works with it. There are laughs scattered throughout the whole film, and each character has their own moment to deliver a hilarious line. The constant references are great, and you can’t get enough of Tony Stark’s snappy lines. With so many films now failing on the humour department, it’s great to see that a big action movie like this can still generate applause from the audience.

The cast is impeccable – there’s literally no one who bothered me. Robert Downey Jr. is always reliable to deliver his witty dialogue – his comic timing is superb. Having played the role of Stark in two movies prior to The Avengers, Downey Jr. pretty much knows the character so well that he can’t screw up the portrayal of that arrogant and spoiled attitude. Chris Evans brings a noble and likeable presence to his performance of Cap, and Chris Hemsworth still remains just as good as he was in the title role of the orignal Thor. Also kicking a lot of ass – Scarlett Johansson. Words cannot describe how hot she is in this film, and she definitely knows how to portray a badass convincingly. Jeremy Renner, though I wasn’t so into his character, still managed to bring an action hero vibe to Hawkeye, and makes me look ever so forward to his upcoming role in The Bourne Legacy. Tom Hiddleston still pulls off the same wicked and mischievous performance he gave in Thor, but I had a huge problem with the character of Loki in this film. He just didn’t seem like much of a threat – he spent most of the time getting his ass kicked. That being said, there is a moment between him and The Hulk that will guarantee applause from the audience. Speaking of The Hulk, Mark Ruffalo was excellent, bringing the best performance as Bruce Banner yet seen on film. As Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson was confident and in good form, while Clark Gregg stole all his scenes as Agent Coulson – he was simply hilarious. And last but not least – Cobie Smulders! While her character had very little to do, I just couldn’t stop staring at her. She was beautiful in the role, exuding confidence and a badass attitude thrown in for good measure. And she dons that black leather suit like a goddamn champ.

As an action movie, The Avengers is top-notch. I remember seeing the trailer in 3D several times, and what shocked me most that it didn’t look bad. The 3D was actually amazing in this movie, considering it was converted. There are several moments where it’s used to great effect, particularly during the climatic action sequence of the film. The last half hour is awesome. Reminiscent of the destruction of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the climax is set in New York, as swarms of aliens wreak havoc upon the city. It’s filled with amazing long takes, heaps of explosions, and top-grade visual effects. The action is edited and shot well – you can always tell what’s going on, even with all the destruction happening on-screen. The creation of the aliens and their ships is to be commended, and Whedon was, surprisingly, able to integrate each of the Avengers into the climax. Everyone has their moment to shine in the action – even Black Widow, who doesn’t have a great arsenal as opposed to someone like Iron Man. Also pretty spectacular is the production design – the Shield headquarters is amazing to look at. The costumes, particularly those of Black Widow and Maria Hill, are sensational, and Alan Silvestri’s score is the very definition of epic, lending weight to that heroic vibe the film pushes for.

I won’t lie, I’m not as in love with this movie as most movie-goers are. I was actually expecting a 10/10 movie, but it still didn’t end up being a perfect movie for me. The Avengers has been stated as the best Marvel film to date, but I still must disagree. I enjoyed Spiderman 2 and X-Men: First Class slightly more than this, but I’m not saying it’s a bad movie. Hell no, this is so much fun. With so many mindless action movies being spit out by Hollywood these days, it’s refreshing to see an action film that has heart, humour, and some pretty mind blowing action sequences. The summer movie season has started off with a bang – get to the biggest cinema available in your area, purchase a large popcorn and soda, and enjoy the ride!

8/10

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