blood_winged: (Russia - Purple)
[personal profile] blood_winged
I'm at my dad's until Sunday, and we went out today to see two films, because we felt like it. Both of them seem to have been quite poorly received by the critics, at least where I live, but I don't really trust critics anyway. So, here's what we went to see.

John Carter has been moaned at for ripping off Star Wars and several other similar franchises, when the character himself was first introduced into literature in 1912, sixty-five years before Star Wars was first released. It has also been criticised for being predictable, slow, and dreary... which I suppose it would be to critics who, as a friend of mine on Facebook said, 'poo-poo anything that isn't "Remains of the Day" or directed by someone obscurely foreign'. Apologies if you've seen John Carter and genuinely didn't like it, but if that's the case I'm sure you had better reasoning than the twerps writing reviews for The Guardian.

As for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it was a little slow in parts and sometimes you just wanted the dialogue to end and for something to blow up, but that's what you get for translating a 100 year old story to screen.

Carter himself, a disillusioned Confederate captain who has long since stopped caring about anyone but himself (or so he claims), is an interesting character in my opinion, although his whirlwind romance with Princess Dejah Thoris is something straight out of a fairytale. The story itself mirrored the American Civil War, but rather than remaining apathetic and detached from the plight of the people, on Mars (or Barsoom), he finds that there are things that he grows to care about and wants to save.

Dejah is your typical warrior princess, a very strong and independent woman and a slight bafflement to the 1860s Confederate, no doubt. How quickly he gets over the idea that a woman can fight, lead, etc, surprised me but I suppose if he spent the whole movie putting her down it wouldn't be a very fun movie to watch. Dejah is the princess of the city of Helium, a city more devoted to science and knowledge, which has been in a civil war with the moving, destructive city of Zodanga. On the sidelines are the Tharks, who appear to be a parallel to the Apache Indians.

They are mostly content with watching Helium and Zodanga destroy each other, believing that they will be able to reclaim what is left by the end.

While I will concede the point that this movie occasionally drags, I found it to be very entertaining and it had several points which made me laugh out loud (the first of which comes to mind being when Carter and the Tharks charge into Zodanga near to the end of the movie, only to find that they are in the wrong city. The Thark leader, Tars Tarkas, silently thwaps Carter on the back of the head).

We went to see the last showing at 9.25 this morning, and it's likely that it will be out of screens in most places now, but I think I'll be buying the DVD when it comes out.


The second film that we saw, Mirror Mirror, is also one that's been sneered at by critics for being too cheesy, shallow, and for not following closely enough to the original tale.

Well, I'll give them one thing - Mirror Mirror is certainly a cheesy film. It follows the story inasmuch as Snow White is born, her mother dies, then her father disappears, leaving her alone with her wicked stepmother. From there, it departs almost completely, save for a few key characters.

The 'wicked stepmother', played by Julia Roberts, isn't entirely convincing as a totally evil character, but a totally evil character in a movie as admittedly cheesy as this would most definitely be out of place. While yes, she is certainly wicked, it was more in a way that made me chuckle and know that everything was going to go wrong for her, rather than a way that made me concerned for the safety of anyone in the movie at her hands.

Though, she did manage to turn Nathan Lane into a cockroach.

As with all evil characters, she gets her comeuppance, though makes a reappearance at the end with the infamous poisoned red apple. Snow White, however, is not fooled by her, instead telling her that she has now lost, and she should realise it.

Lily Collins' perfomance as Snow White is at times a little lackluster, but I feel that a lot of critics have judged her too harshly. While I won't say I found the character utterly engaging, she wasn't awful, and she did occasionally manage to hit the mark on comedic timing, if she never quite seemed to grasp the choreography of her fight scenes.

Not to mention that running in a dress five times as wide as you are is quite a skill.

Her fairytale romance with Prince Alcott is, as you would expect, your typical love-at-first-sight, but it manages to not be cloying.

Prince Alcott is your run-of-the-mill Prince Charming. Dashing, earnest, and utterly in love with Snow White from the moment he sets eyes on her. Unfortunately for him his good looks and his money draw the attention of Snow White's stepmother, who tries, but ultimately (obviously) fails to trick him into marrying her.

Alcott is the butt of a few running gags involving a small group of bandits and the loss of most of his clothes (and the queen's subsequent distraction) which didn't fail to raise giggles in the theatre.

In another difference from the fairytale it is the prince who is saved by true love's first kiss, rather than Snow White, no doubt in an attempt to bring some more gender equality to the tale.

The seven dwarves provided a great deal of the comedy in the movie. Rather than a crew of miners, they are a group of bandits who have turned to thievery due to being shunned by the community of the nearby village. Despite the initial protests of one of the band, she is allowed to stay with them for one night, which quickly progresses to her being trained by them, and joining them in their work.

This leads to a very nice costume change and the inevitable result of her running into the prince again.

Her development from a kind, strong willed but shut-in princess to an equally kind, strong willed and sword-wielding warrior isn't terribly convincing and seems a little contrived at times, but I could certainly forgive it for how pretty everything was.

And the surprise appearance of Sean Bean at the end didn't hurt, either.

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