They've done it again. Two Hollywood flicks sourced from the same story, releasing the same year. Don't major studios speak to one another or at least figure out what else is being made? How does this happen? We don't know. But we do think this calls for a film face off between the latest dueling dupes, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.
The first out of the gate (according to the current March 2012 release date), this Snow White spectacle promises to reinvent the classic fairytale with a new comic "wrinkle". As in a wrinkle-worried, divinely devilish Queen (Julia Roberts) in pursuit of a financial bailout/rich Prince charming (The Social Network's Armie Hammer) inconveniently obsessed with exiled princess/rebel leader Snow White (The Blind Side's Lilly Collins). Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) also stars as the Queen's bungling, badly treated servant.
With Tarsem Singh, the director of The Fall and The Cell behind the lens, Mirror Mirror should be visually spellbinding. Plus, if the trailer is any indication, Julia Roberts will be in top comic form as the witty Joan Rivers-esque villainess. The film's refreshing feminist twist casts Snow White as a plucky bandit leader rather than a doomed damsel in distress.
At first the pun "Snow Way!" seems clever. But when it's accompanied by a dwarf pummeling someone to the sound of the overused Scarface line "say hello to my leetle fren", or a "puppy love potion" that causes the prince to crave a belly rub, hopes for the film's humor plummet. The script will likely amount to a series of bad puns and corny dwarf jokes.
Snow White and the Huntsman
For those who prefer fairy tales with more grimness and less childlike delight and wonder, this Rupert Sanders-directed fantasy may be the clear winner.
Co-written by Drive's Hossein Amini it features a youth-sucking queen and a mysterious monster. Adept at dark tales, the cast includes Kirsten Stewart (Snow White), Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (Evil Queen), Thor's Chris Hemsworth (the Huntsman) and Pirates of the Caribbean's Sam Claflin (the prince). With Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland) producing, the cinematography and CGI effects also looks as breathtaking if not more so, as Mirror Mirror's.
Here again, Snow White's a fighter rather than a fainting damsel in distress. That little update is no longer so fresh when it's in two Snow White movies in the same season. Who copied who doesn't really matter. Also, other than TV commercials, Sanders, unlike Singh doesn't appear to have any prior experience directing feature films.
Both Snow Whites have much to tempt an audience, but ultimately we think which you'll prefer boils down to (as we mentioned earlier) how you like your fairy tales served. Or what you're in the mood for at the moment. Personally we're craving a heavier helping of grimness, and not so much goofy wordplay. The Huntsman it is!