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Monday, 13 December 2010

Snow White: The Fairest of Them All (2001)

A review of mine. This rather modern version of the Grimm's fairytale film was made by Hallmark in 2001. Not like the Disney animation with musicals and following the story to the book, this TV version has another slant to the tale.

It's all illusion and nothing is real, as the theme goes. First of all, the parents of Snow White are poor instead of royalty. A woman hopes for a child at the beginning of the film, and her wish results in a daughter being born. However, it also meant paying the price for her own life, and so the mother dies. The father of Snow White falls on hard times and he carries her off into a blizzard, where he wakens a magician by accidently breaking the ice because of a tear. He is granted a wish, for a secure home, a palace, and a queen. There the man is not so much a real king but his wish is granted, and he too would end up paying  a price.

The queen would arrive, and she's the stunning red-haired Elspeth, who is a vicious natured witch. She also does truly look "fair" although that is illusion. Her appearance is glamour, and yet she is so dazzled by it all that she's forgotten how she truly looks. The king, father of Snow White, falls in love with Elspeth only after a shower of glass, using it's magic to capture his heart and it's a love spell. So his love for her isn't real. The gnomes of the palace are all not what we assume either. There is, amongst them, a dwarf who was turned to stone that sits in the garden. We as viewers get to see why this happened. Snow White grows into a young woman and the queen clearly is jealous of her.

The spell is fractured when the queen's greed of wanting the visiting handsome prince Alfred's heart, resenting the king as she cannot feel love herself, only wants others to love her. To do that she uses shards of magic mirror dust. The piece of mirror in the king's eyes falls out after the queen hits him in a rage. She tries to use her tricks again by capturing the love of a prince but it all fails. The prince accidently crushes the chink of enchanted glass but a servant has already fallen for the queen under a spell when another piece of glass enters his vision instead of the prince's. Using glass magic reflected back shows a false unreal love. Here the queen discovers that even her flawed magic is shaking when it's revealed who the true fairest of them all is: Snow White. The queen does not return the love of the servant but uses him in her game to kill Snow White and remove the princess so that she can have the prince.

Now the film gets tricky but for kids it's lovely and colourful.

The servant cannot kill Snow White but he lets her escape but in so doing, betrays the queen. Snow White runs through the night forest and attacked by trees. She's is persued by the handsome prince who becomes a bear, and this frightens Snow White away. The queen also caused that dilemna. Now the queen is exposing her hatred to all. She may have the reflection of looking beautiful, but her very inner self is twisted and vile.

Snow White reached the dwelling of the six characters with the comeback of the long lost seventh dwarf after that spell was broken too. The dwarves consist of days of the week and colours of the spectrum. Not all are pleased by Snow White's arrival at first.

As the film unravels, one can become easily dazzled by what is meant to be real and what isn't. For example, the dwarves control the elements and become rainbows. They also create snow! The prince one wonders if he's a bear or if he's a human. As a bear, he gets locked in a glass snow globe, picked up by a wild wolf, and dropped further up the stream. The illsuion shatters to extreme later and there are some weirdness, when all the gnomes come back to life and the queen shows her true colours. The film is lush in bright technicolour, and the effects of glass and mirrors create a prismic field of fakeness and distortion.  All of it is the queen's own illusion and all live under her false making, cast under her illuminating spells.

The film is also like a combination of other stories, "The Snow Queen" and "Snow White and Rose Red". Is there a werewolf theme to it? The prince in the shape of a bear, the transformation and indication, of shapeshifting by a curse, and imprisonment in more glass. Both father of Snow White and the prince and future husband of Snow White find themselves trapped in glass as Snow White is locked in a case made of ice. Ice resembles glass. Much of this illusion shines on every single fragment of the film's plot. The story expands on the mirror and eyes instead on the apples. The apple in this film looks unreal too, with one half red and poisonous but natural looking, while the other half dipped in white chocolate is purified of poison. It's as though the apple was deadly anyway.

Snow White: Fairest of Them All

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