The trailers for two very different movies based on 'Snow White' found their way onto the web last week.
How do you take your evil Queen Grimhilde: with a delightful smile or delicious menace? You'll have your choice of both next year when Academy Award-winners Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron both take on the role in two different versions of the "Snow White" fairy tale.
The two films, which have been rivals since their development was announced, released their trailers last week, and it's clear that the adaptations couldn't be further apart in interpretation. "Mirror, Mirror," the Roberts-starring vehicle, is more of a children's film with bright colors and witty repartee. "Snow White and the Huntsman," the Theron film, is much darker and very theatrical. For two films based on the same central fairy tale, the two barely look like the same story.
"Mirror" stars crooner Phil Collins' daughter Lily Collins as Snow White, a damsel who must save her prince ("The Social Network" star Armie Hammer) before he is forcibly wed to the queen. "Huntsman" offers a more radical take on the story, with Theron's commanding a brave hunter ("Thor" himself, Chris Hemsworth) to bring her Snow White (Kristen Stewart) so that she may consume Snow White's heart. Suffice it to say that the second is not a children's movie.
While both films were originally set to come out later in the year, the team behind "Huntsman" decided to rush production to be ready for a June 1 release - a date that just so happened to be right before "Mirror" was set to be released. In response, "Mirror" moved to March 16, three months before. Since then, every bit of information released, from concept art to on-set photography to the trailer, has been heavily scrutinized, with entertainment news outlets like Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter poring over every detail.
Frankly, I don't understand the hysteria over the two movies. While the story of two Snow White films duking it out has been interesting to read about, the trailers have made it clear that these two movies can coexist easily. They're just not similar enough to make all the Sturm und Drang worth it. But the trailers did make one thing clear: there's no contest as to which film is going to be better.
While "Mirror" seems fun, the chemistry between the characters isn't quite there yet. Roberts doesn't seem to be really enjoying herself - like she wasn't ever quite committed to the role. It does seem like there's an "Alice in Wonderland" vibe going on here, but it's feeling incomplete. "Huntsman," however, is an absolute blast. Theron is vamping it up as the Evil Queen. It seems like this is her show more than Stewart's. The trailer doesn't actually feature the titular Snow White speaking, but hey, is it the worst thing in the world if we don't hear Stewart's "Twilight" brand of bored monotone?
2012 is shaping up to be the year of the Snow White film, but I wouldn't be surprised if "Mirror" winds up falling flat. March is a bit of a barren period when it comes to movies, and I'm not sure a Snow White adaptation is going to fit well there. But summer's a great time for an action-packed storybook tale, and the great advance buzz "Huntsman" has created should allow the darker film to open big and become the first critical and commercial darling of the summer.
The upside is that moviegoers will definitely have a choice of which adaptation fits their interests better. But when it comes down to quality filmmaking, it looks like the Stewart/Theron film is going to be the fairest of them all.
This is the opinion of Kevin O'Keeffe, a sophomore screenwriting major from Austin, Texas. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.