Once upon a time…

A rainy morning equals me staying later at work, which means less time to do my own stuff.

So before I sat down at the producer’s desk, I knew I wanted to finally read a script picked from several a friend had sent earlier this year.

I chose SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN by Evan Daugherty, mostly because it sounded interesting, and I knew it was in production.  What I didn’t know was that it was a spec script that sold for $1.5 million.  For that much cash, it must be an incredible piece of work.

It’s a clever take/spin on the traditional Snow White story, except here Snow is on the run from the Wicked Queen, and the dwarves are supporting characters lifted straight out of LORD OF THE RINGS who don’t come in until about halfway through.

Basically, the Queen uses alchemy and a little magic to keep herself young and beautiful, but no matter what she does, Snow will always be the fairest in the land.  Snow runs, but the Queen recruits the Huntsman to bring her back.  This goes off without a hitch, but ends with Snow and the Huntsman on the run.

They endure several sequences of adventures, getting away from comic relief in the form of bounty hunters, and each growing a little as characters, which is expected.

The whole thing ends with all the characters done wrong by the Queen attacking the castle while the subplot involving the Queen marrying the brutal king of a nearby kingdom reaches its conclusion.  I can’t remember what happens to that king, so I may go back and re-read it.

I liked the idea of the Magic Mirror having a more human appearance, but didn’t understand why it fought for the Queen during the aforementioned battle.  The concept of fairies as mercenaries was clever, but they were only in one sequence (attacking the dwarves’ den). It’s almost as if Daugherty thought of a few ideas connected to fairy tales, and tried to incorporate as many of them as he could into the story.

Overall, I enjoyed it.  It was easy to follow the story, and there’s definitely a strong sense of adventure throughout the whole thing.  Because of that, I was paying more attention to how it went from one sequence to the next, rather than
as a whole.

I wasn’t sure what to make of how Daugherty did that.  First Snow and the Huntsman are getting away from the bounty hunters at a humongous waterfall, which they go over, then all of a sudden they’re emerging onto an icy tundra-like environment.  It’s like he had each sequence planned out, then just went from one to the next.  I wonder if those transitions could have been smoother, or maybe a little more smoothed out.

The writing itself was pretty good, but not as “wow”-inducing as I was expecting.  Sometimes it almost seemed sloppy.  A scene where Snow and the Huntsman take on the Queen’s guards is over before it begins; something like “within moments, they are the only ones left standing.”  Part of the story is Snow getting the Huntsman to train her to survive in the wild, and this is the big payoff.  It should have been a little more fleshed out.

From what I could find, this is scheduled for release next year with THOR’s Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, TWILIGHT’s Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the Queen.  The only one I’m not sure about is Stewart.  Will she be believable as a princess turned warrior/survivalist?

I can see getting this through Netflix, but not paying to see it in the theatre.

-Movie of the Moment – SUMMER WARS, an anime from 2009.

Imagine the Internet, but on a much grander scale, with practically every aspect of life controlled on it or through it.

Now imagine an AI program made exclusively to hack programs taking control and basically screwing up the way the world runs.

In other words, Facebook has turned evil and is out to destroy the world!  I realize some people already feel this way, but this is just a bit different.  And it’s set in Japan.

Oh, and the only three people who can stop it just happen to be in the same place at the same time.

This was a fun and brilliant combination of standard Japanese animation (a family reunion of sorts for the matriarch’s 90th birthday at their country house) and eye-catching CG (almost everything set in the virtual world).

Basic set-up: girl asks two computer geek friends if one will help her with something, which turns out to be posing as her boyfriend/fiancee at her great-grandmother’s party.  The boy who goes is also a math whiz.

One of the cousins is the best gamer in this virtual world, and the black sheep uncle created the hacking program, which the US military decided to test, but soon lost control of, and now the program is running amok and has taken over almost half a billion accounts.  See? Just like Facebook.

The three must work together in order to stop the evil program from not only basically taking over the Internet, but dropping a satellite onto a nuclear power plant, resulting in the death of much of humanity.

And you thought all the Japanese ever fought were giant monsters attacking Tokyo.

While I prefer to watch foreign films in their original language, I went with the English version for this one.  No reason; just felt like it.  But it’s always weird to hear Western voices talking with a Japanese sensibility. I think it adds to the charm.

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