A fairy tale for today’s mob of Twilight-raised, grimly serious gothic youth who prefer the Christian Bale Batman to the Michael Keaton Batman. Pretty obvious movie, and no part is more obvious than James “Newt” Howard’s big, big score. Alternates between patient carefully-composed images and too-close, too-frantic action scenes. Overall pretty good, especially when Evil Queen Charlize Theron is around.
After Charlize takes over the kingdom and kills all flowers and happiness, the imprisoned princess grows up to be Twilight Stewart and realizes there might be trouble in the kingdom when her cellmate Lily Cole leaves to see the queen and returns as an old hag, so Twilight escapes by slashing Theron’s albino brother Sam Spruell in the face. She meets her reluctant protector Thor Hemsworth and they go adventuring, collecting the exiled Duke’s army and the all-important dwarfs to help.
Pity doomed Lily Cole:
First it’s into the dark forest, which is extremely menacing to Twilight until she passes out, then it leaves her alone. It doesn’t bug Thor at all, making me wonder if he’s the actual Chosen One who will defeat the Queen with his beauty, but that was a false lead, because soon they meet a bridge troll, whom the princess charms with her sleepy Twilight stare. Then they visit the city of scar-faced women, and get it burned down, oops. Now the dwarfs, who were played by digitally-shrunken full-size actors – and this is why movies should bring back opening credits. I’d have surely recognized Dwarf Bob Hoskins and Dwarf Toby Jones (and maybe Dwarf Ray Winstone) if I’d been looking for them, but unaccustomed to seeing them so short and beardy, we only figured out Dwarf Nick Frost (in about one second) and Dwarf Ian McShane. Then all nine venture into the Fairy Garden, where CG animals go to relax between Tim Burton and Brendan Fraser movies, and they meet a white moose made out of butterflies. Finally to the Duke’s palace, where Twilight meets her boyfriend from when she was seven, now grown into a dreamy archer.
Evil Queen Charlize tires of all this, makes herself into a Dreamy Archer Terminator and delivers the poison apple (via doomed CG crows, in the third scene of bird death in this movie. Snow White of the Huntsmen hates birds!). Real Dreamy Archer cannot wake Twilight with his kiss, and when all hope seems lost, Thor makes a successful attempt. Queen’s palace by the seaside, dwarves in the sewer, arrows and boiling oil, too-close/too-frantic sword fighting, and Charlize is done in by Twilight’s Pure Love & Light (actually a
model rocket dagger).
Screamy Queen Charlize:
Sanders has made Nike and X-Box commercials. One writer was behind Drive, and the other writes/directs Dennis Quaid movies. Newt Howard scores every laughably over-serious movie of recent years (The Last Airbender, Water for Elephants, The Dark Knight, Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing) and the Australian D.P. shot Spider and Bright Star.