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Monday, April 1, 2013

Snow White & the Huntsman ~ guest review from Ketutar!

The following review of Snow White and the Huntsman comes from Ketutar of http://ketutarwriting.blogspot.se/; if you haven't already, you should definitely stop by and check out all the fantastic fairy tale stuff going on over there this week!

It all began with "Reactionary men who fear and hate strong women".

Before I read this "review", I was mildly interested of this movie. My biggest problem with it being Kristen Stewart. I find Twilight "trash and moral garbage and a lot of fuzzy thinking"... If that kind of "Manly Men" KNEW what romance novels like Twilight do to women, they'd review movies like that.

So, I started watching this movie. I stopped when Snow White was captured and carried inside and closed to the tower. Dark, incomprehensible, weird... Uh.

Then came Fairytale Fortnight. I have been wondering what to write about. There's so much! So much to do, so much to study, so much to research and think and share!

But - I decided that because I have seen some Snow White movies - for example the Tale of Terror - I could use this and see the movie. After all, I should see it myself before I say it's trash.

I'm glad I did. After the confusing start, it gets better.

Snow White is a classical fairy tale about two women. It has never been anything else. After having seen quite a many versions, I have to say that the Huntsman gives the men in the story the most power, responsibility and screen time.
If you think about the fairy tale, Snow White's mother dies at birth, her father remarries, and then - one way or another - is done away with, so that her step-mother gets free hands with her.
The Prince's job is to kiss her and marry her. He doesn't need to fight dragons, not even the evil witch. All he needs to do is to appear on cue and kiss the girl and be a good boy. He doesn't even need to say anything!
The dwarfs... they are mostly out, doing something. Sure, in the original story - and a couple of remakes - they have the honor of revitalizing her; cut the laces, remove the comb - and then make her a glass casket and be there as an admiring audience when the Prince does his part.
What kind of manliness and good moral example does that give to young men?

Or the Huntsman? In the original story, he just obeyed the Queen when she told him to do things he knew were wrong, but turned all bleeding heart and let the girl run away. In Snow White and the Huntsman, he is a man who loves his wife more than anything, a country song cowboy. Without his woman he ain't nothing... He is a skilled huntsman, finds the runaway girl in the Dark Forest. He isn't a fool, he asks to get the reward before he gives up the girl. When he finds out the Queen has lied to him, he sees to that the bad guys won't get the girl. Snow White would not have lasted a day without this strong and skilled man to protect and guide her. He also taught Snow White the necessary skills to win against the evil witch queen. She really couldn't have done it without him. And that is the kind of a man "Frank" thinks is "lesser version" of a woman, a "shadow" of a woman, unmanly, perfidious creep, weakling, a hyena-like eunuch.

Kristen did a good job. I like her Snow White very much. I LOVED the scene where she deals with the troll.
I loved the scene with the King of the Forest. (But I'm a Pagan, so I would, now.) It reminded me of Princess Mononoke.
She also reminds me of Jeanne d'Arc. Except that this time she is her own Jeanne d'Arc and will be rewarded with the crown, and not with the deceit of the men for whom she fought.

I also like the fact that Snow White is not just a victim of circumstances in this movie. I talked with my husband about these movies and Snow White, and I was reminded of Griselda. My husband said that Snow White is a coming to age tale. That her stepmother is there to force her to grow up. This idea has been used in a couple of these movies, for example the Hallmark movie. Snow White says she doesn't want to grow up, and her father tells her she can't stop it.
To me it's not so much that, but Snow White is another version of Griselda. The stepmother is "evil", because she doesn't want to give up her position to the more deserving Snow White. As youth and beauty wass all that mattered during the time these folk tales were invented; from 14th to 19th century. It was Snow White's time to be the queen, as she was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. Snow White was also more deserving, because she showed a kind and submissive nature in accepting that the queen made a scullery maid of her. She accepted that the huntsman was to kill her, and meekly waited for his decision. She served the little men in the woods, not expecting to be fed and sheltered, but being grateful for their kindness.
There is nothing of this submissiveness, meekness and servitude in Snow White and the Huntsman. Snow White is a queen, she just hasn't been crowned yet. She is just as royal and strong and alpha as Ravenna is, even though Ravenna is much older and wiser and more powerful and hungrier. What separates these two women, what makes the difference, is that Snow White grew up being loved, seen, noticed and listened to. She was respected and appreciated when she was little. Ravenna could expect nothing but cruelty and disappointment from everyone. The only person who loved her, and whom she loved, her mother, was taken from her when she was still too young, and she was made hard, unyielding, cruel by that being the only thing she could expect from anyone. Had she only known that if she had allowed Snow White's father live, he would have loved her, and been gentle and caring, but she didn't know people could be like that.

I find Ravenna's and Snow White's relationship interesting. They both see each other as something that must be removed, an unfortunate but necessary fact. Snow White doesn't wish to kill anything or anyone, Ravenna sees Snow White's potential to be a she-wolf as she herself is, she sees herself in her.

I don't see this film as feminist. Of course, Ravenna and Snow White are alphas and way beyond anyone, any man and woman, in the movie, but the rest of the society follows the traditional gender roles. Men go to war, women stay behind and take care of things. There were no bow maidens in any army. None of the seven dwarfs was female, none of the huntsmen either. Frankly, apart from Snow white and Ravenna, there were very few women in the movie. Also, the director is a man, the screenwrights are men, music was composed by a man... 75% of everyone involved in making this movie; cameramen, editors, artists, gardeners, carpenters and special effects people, electricians, production assistants, advisores, runners, accountants, producers... Even in the costume department, even though women were majority, 1/3 were men. The movie business is not feminist. It's not even equal.

I don't see this movie as corrupting anyone's morales. To me it teaches that one must stand for what one knows to be right, even if it means one gets into trouble. Even if it gets one killed.
To me this movie teaches to stay with your companion. One does not leave partners behind.
This movie teaches us to honor and respect the land, because it supports us. Everything we eat comes from the land. Everything.
This movie tells us to expect the leaders to be fair and good and to make the right decisions. That it is the duty of the leaders to take care of the people.
This movie teaches that beauty is only skin deep. The true values lie beneath the surface. Which is the teaching of every Snow White movie I have seen.
If that kind of morality is vile and depraved, then I'm glad to be vile and depraved.

I find Snow White and the Huntsman to be a heroic inspiring influence on young people, both male and female - and those who don't feel comfortable defining gender.

~ Ketutar

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1 comment:

  1. i admit I did like the troll scene also but I still felt the movie was still just OK. I'm not a big Kirsten Stewart fan - I feel like she mostly only has one emotion on her face all the time.


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