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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Avengers Grimm -- guest film review from Michi!

The first post of today comes from Michi over at A Sweet World; she's giving us a peek at an...interesting fairy tale adaptation -- basically, she watched it so we don't have to! ;)  Because this is a longer, somewhat picture heavy (and hilarious) post, it's behind a jump break, so make sure to click through to keep reading and share your thoughts in the comments!

Beyond the Trailer: Avengers Grimm
By Michi from A Sweet World

Apparently, someone thought it would be a good idea to make a movie combining “Avengers” with “Once Upon a Time.” Why is still up for debate.  
The Marvel movie, Avengers had been one of the biggest blockbusters the year it was released and it seems that bringing live action fairy tale characters to life is becoming a trend with the releases of Maleficent and Cinderella being instant successes.
A movie that combined the two couldn’t possibly fail, could it? Plus, we could easily watch it for the girls.
This movie is bad and it most likely knows it is bad and it is mocking itself. It calls itself a Mockbuster after all.
I told myself that this shouldn’t be taken seriously would be a change from the whimsical storylines I have always preferred and this would certainly be different from what others would most likely be reviewing.

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Once Upon a Time --- the kingdom was under siege by the evil, Rumplestiltskin. However, he and his army of thralls, zombie-fied humans under his control were after something much bigger.
They were after Snow White’s magic mirror and open a portal to a world without magic. He offered Snow White a deal, he and his army would leave if she would simply open the portal for him. She refused even when he revealed that he had killed her husband, the king. 

Believing that her grief and her fear of death would bend her to his will, she tricked him and attempted to kill him with her ice powers. However, he pushed both of them the portal, leaving his army behind. 
As the chaos continued in the kingdom, the other princesses arrived to help Snow White. With the help of Red Riding Hood, they were able to get through the kingdom’s defenses to find Snow. These princesses are, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Cinderella. They can fight and had magical powers. Red is a commoner but she could tot a bow and arrow as well as maybe the green archer.
While the princesses tried to figure out what to do next, Red wanted to leave to accomplish her real mission which was to kill the Wolf, who had massacred her village and her family. 
Cinderella wanted to recruit her but Red didn’t believe it was her problem. Unfortunately, the wolf showed up and attacked them. They broke the mirror in the struggle and were pulled into the portal.
The group arrived in the world without magic in the city of Los Angeles. Red and the Wolf escaped during the fray, but the princesses were harassed by two policemen who were trying to get information about Snow White.
Sleeping Beauty tried to talk to the policemen, but when they found that they were possibly linked to Snow White they were about to shoot them. Sleeping Beauty then reveals that she had the power to render people to sleep and Cinderella had the power to transfigure objects. Unfortunately, their problems weren’t over. They still had no idea how to locate their queen. 

Just like magic, Snow White appeared driving a car and dressed in clothes from the real world.  She told them to get into her car and the women drove away.
During the drive to her hideout, it was revealed that a long time had passed since she first arrived and Red had a piece of the magic mirror piece with her, which she had been stabbed with earlier.
Snow White told them how important it was to get that mirror fragment because it may allow Rumplestiltskin to have the power to get his army though to that world.  
Red had continued to hunt the Wolf down, finally chasing him down a bar. The Wolf killed every patron and leaving the blame for Red. She adamantly denied involvement to the men who were the friends of the killed patrons. They didn’t believe her and wanted to bring her to their boss, Iron John. However, she easily escaped.
The scene returned to the princesses where Snow White explained the events that happened prior to their arrival. Rumplestiltskin had wormed his way into political structure and became mayor. He also built a penthouse and made himself impossible to reach. Over time, he had taken over the city from the police to the press.  
The two officers that accosted the princesses went to see Rumplestiltskin, who went by the name of Mayor Heart. They informed him of the arrival of strange girls looking for Snow White.
He was not pleased. As punishment he turned one of the policemen into a thrall and told the other if he failed again, he would meet the same fate.
The movie goes back to the princesses again. This time Snow White finishes her explanation of the situation with Rumplestiltskin and his growing army of thralls. She repeats how dire it was to find red to prevent the army from passing through and to kill Rumplestiltskin.
Meanwhile, Red gets captured by Iron John’s men while she was trying to kill the Wolf.
After, Snow gave the princesses a bunch of magazines and told them to change their clothes so they could blend in better in that world. Having changed, they went to look for information from a man named Jack whom they had rescued earlier when they were harassed by the policemen.  They discovered the bar that the Wolf had torn apart when they arrived and realized that Red had been captured by Iron John after bribing one of the patrons with alcohol.   
Red had been taken to Iron John, a man obsessed with “order” and was not very happy to be accused of something she didn’t do. The encounter turned into a full-blown fight and despite having guns on the men’s side, Red was holding out fine with her fighting abilities and trick arrow. Unfortunately, she is captured yet again but this time by Rumplestiltskin’s men.
The Wolf finally meets Rumplestiltskin again. When the mayor realized that Red had the mirror fragment, he pushed his plans faster. Finding public office to be boring, he wanted to bring his army to that world. He ordered the fragment be brought to him.
The princesses found Iron John’s establishment but found only the police there. They easily defeated the men. We also discover that Rapunzel uses her hair as a weapon, like a mace. At first they didn’t understand what the men were guarding but then they were suddenly attacked by thralls. The thralls were easy enough to trap with their magic, but now they had a problem. Snow White wanted to stop looking for Red and prepare for an attack. She suspected that Rumplestiltskin had the fragment. Cinderella didn’t agree and wanted to continue looking for her.
Red, Iron John and his men were taken to a prison called, The Den. Red didn’t have a hard time stealing the key to her cell and escaping. Not without taunting Iron John as revenge for making trouble for her.
The other princesses were able to find Red after curing the policeman that had been turned into a thrall earlier in the movie. He told the girls about the Den.
By the time they arrived, Red had already escaped and to make matters worse the men called for the mayor’s private SWAT team to find the princess and Red Riding Hood. The girls managed to beat the team, and eventually found Red.
The girls escaped to Snow’s penthouse and began to formulate a plan on what to do with the fragment. Sleeping Beauty wanted to use the mirror to bring reinforcements. Snow didn’t want to take the risk the unstable magic that would give Rumplestiltskin an opportunity to get away. Snow believed it would be best to destroy it. The girls wouldn’t have it since it would be their only hope to return to their worlds. She relented but not without a promise from all of them to break it before it is ever captured again.
The Wolf discovered their hideout and called Rumplestiltskin. He sent Iron John whom he had turned into actual iron to destroy them in exchange for “order.”
Cinderella and Red began talking. Red talked about her past with the Wolf. She told her about how he had kept her alive as he killed her whole village. Her anger for royals stemmed from the lack of aid her village received from them. Cinderella told her about each of the other girls’ pasts. Rapunzel was trapped in a tower by Rumplestiltskin and burned her kingdom to the ground. No one has been in or out of Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom since the war began. Cinderella’s husband had been turned into a thrall and she reminded her of what was done to Snow’s husband.
Royal didn’t make them lucky. It made them targets. They weren’t heroes; they were “avengers.”
With Iron John’s men, the Wolf and Iron John, the girls were overwhelmed. Rapunzel and Red were captured. The others got away with the mirror fragment though. They escaped to Snow’s underground hideout. Sleeping Beauty was made to stay behind to look after the fragment, while the rest tried to infiltrate Rumplestiltskin’s penthouse.
They got a hold of his secretary, Jessica whom he’d had in a trance. Once they removed the magic, she readily helped them.
Unfortunately, a disturbance happened during their siege and Sleeping Beauty used the mirror to locate her companions. The mirror’s magic was unstable though and had instead rendered her unconscious.  Their assassination attempt was thwarted though because Rumplestiltskin had left. She promised to shut down the security systems long enough for them to get in when they return later.
During this time, the captured Red was turned into an obedient thrall and had taken the mirror from Sleeping Beauty.
After shutting down the security, Jessica had been shot at by Red who was there to deliver the fragment. She was rescued by Iron John who had a score to settle with Red, but she was killed when Rumplestiltskin realized that she had betrayed him.
Rumplestiltskin used the mirror to open the portal to call his army to the world from the world of Once Upon a Time. He ordered Iron John to guard the portal with his life.
The city was now crawling with thralls. The girls decided to split up. Rapunzel would close the portal, Cinderella would take care of Red who was trying to stop them; and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White would get Rumplestiltskin.
After they took care of the defenses, they were defeated by Rumplestiltskin and the Wolf.
After a confrontation between Rapunzel and Iron John, she made him realize his error and in closed the portal in exchange for his life. Cinderella also managed to snap Red out of it and under the pretense of still being under Rumplestiltskin’s spell, she killed the Wolf. This meant there would be only one thing left to take care of and that was Rumplestiltskin.
He had taken Snow to his penthouse where he tried yet again to offer her a deal. He told her that he would send her friends home if she would stay and be his queen. She refused. When he realized that the princesses her coming, he tried to use Snow as a shield. She made a terrible shield and stabbed herself to get to him.
It wasn’t enough to kill him. He used the mirror and attempted to escape through the portal. They couldn’t control the magic of the mirror, so Sleeping Beauty broke it into tinier pieces. Trapped in the portal, Rumplestiltskin was no more but this meant the girls were trapped on Earth.
Happy to finally have Rumplestiltskin dead, Snow died and her corpse became encased in snow.
The other girls were still determined to return to their world by any means necessary, but until then Earth would bear with them. They would adapt to that world and find out why Snow had been willing to die for it.
The ending scene was of a Snow covered Snow White suddenly brought back to life.
In this world, if you are a princess you immune to Rumplestiltskin’s powers and you acquire magical powers.
The movie was lacking on an explanation on why and how though. It also doesn’t explain why they have powers in the real world.
Do the powers only come if you are royal? Do male royals have them or does this only apply to the females considering how their husbands died or were beaten and they got away?
The Once Upon a Time world scenery was done by CGI, with the exception of the scene of Snow White running in the woods and the throne room scene. Considering that this is a B-movie, it isn’t that bad.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t things that bothered me. I tried not to mind that I saw props from the Sleeping Beauty movie they made the same year. Nor did I try to notice that they don’t seem to have a lot of extras and recycled a lot. Beaten thralls are found up and at it again just a minute later. It is the fact that it is so noticeable that I can’t help feel it is a little cheap and I can have people vouch for me that I am not usually very sharp about these things.
From how I understand the story, thralls were people Rumplestiltskin controlled, so I don’t think they are supposed to be clones of one another. I can’t really think of another reason for duplicity. Maybe they recover fast?
Sometimes I am not actually sure how thralls work. Sometimes they seem like mindless zombies, and then there is Red who still seems to be able to fight despite their thrall state. I find it inconsistent.

I dislike the costuming of some of the princesses.
In the Once Upon a Time world, Snow’s dress looked the best to me  but Sleeping Beauty is dressed like an extra for Xena the Warrior Princess, Cinderella looks like she is going to a prom and why does Rapunzel have a leather jacket? I don’t even want to talk about her wig that looks like a birds nest to me.
In the real world, they looked a little better. Each fashioned to fit their character I suppose, but Rapunzel’s hair still looks like a bird’s nest. If they couldn’t get her hair right, I wish they simply used another princess. There are certainly plenty of fairytales to choose from.
In general, I am very unimpressed. While the girls all looked lovely, the costumes just all felt too lazy.
They got even lazier with Iron John. When John was transformed into ‘iron,’ the costume department just painted him with a metallic color and relied on sound effects to create the illusion that he was now made of iron, which would have been alright if not for the scenes you can tell that they missed a few spots.
Other costumes looked like they were rented costumes for cosplay. I have seen some cosplay look even better.

Rumplestiltskin was played Casper van Dien, whom I vaguely remember from the Mortal Combat webseries.
He wasn’t that bad as the villain, considering what he had to work with. The script is just funny or horrendous, depending on the scene.
His role as the villainous wizard and the corrupt Mayor Heart was done better than I thought.

Snow White is played by Lauren Parkinson. Many times in the movie I could mistake her for Lana Parrilla. It isn’t the looks. I think it is the voice and mannerisms. Sometimes I wondered if it was intentional to allude to Once Upon a Time or it was a natural part of her acting.
Her portrayal and acting was the best among the princesses in my opinion.
Snow White’s super power is power over ice.
She played the angry, grieving wife and queen well. If not for the ridiculousness of the script, I would actually buy her acting at times.  

Red Riding Hood is played by Elizabeth Peterson. She has one of the most consistent acting for me.
Red is an angry young girl out for revenge for the death of her family and her whole village. Her life’s mission was to kill the Wolf.  Like Hawkeye in the the Marvel Avengers movie, this archer also got compromised and went to fight her comrades.
I also enjoyed most of the scenes she is in and this includes her action scenes.

Rileah Vanderbilt played Rapunzel.
I shared my dislike for her costuming and her hair. But that is not all.  I disliked her as a character almost immediately.
Her role in the film is to state the obvious. A war is happening outside, the king’s head is on the floor, their queen is missing, her kingdom was burned to the ground  and all she has to say is, “It is such a beautiful chamber.” I am not sure whether to blame the script or bad acting anymore.
Her superpower is her hair, which she uses as a mace.

Sleeping Beauty is played by Marah Fairclough and while she is supposed to be the spoiled princess, I found her more tolerable in character than Rapunzel.  
Her specialty is putting people to sleep.
She does have this weird scene when she checks her nails after she beats up a thrall. She checks her nails, and it made me think that they had manicures in the land of Once Upon a Time.
She isn’t very memorable. Her acting is neither good nor bad. She does play the spoiled princess well, but she doesn’t give more than that to her performance.

Milynn Sarley is Cinderella. She is like the older sister to Red. Since Cinderella didn’t used to come from royalty, she understood Red the most among the princesses.
Like Sleeping Beauty, her acting is neither horrendous nor stupendous.
I like her sisterly character, but to be honest she doesn’t really strike me as Cinderella. She could be anyone in the Grimm’s fairytales and it wouldn’t matter. What made her “Cinderella” I couldn’t really be sure.
Her super power is transfiguration.

For a B-rated movie, it was alright and I admit that I have seen worse adaptations but it was still unmemorable.
I wasn’t a big fan on how the movie transitioned and jumped out of nowhere from one scene to another. The background music was alright and I liked that it set the mood of the scenes very well.  Some of the actors worked well with what they had. And the characters did have variety. It was also nice of them to make a character from lesser known Grimm stories like, Iron John.
I wouldn’t say that I highly recommend fairytale fans to watch it, because I would understand if people felt that their characters had been butchered a lot. Not much by the acting but by the script and the storyline. Rather than the story and characters, you can watch this for the action and gorgeous girls kicking ass while clad in leather.
By the looks of how the movie ended, there is a possibility for a sequel. I am definitely not watching that. While I can’t say I hate this movie, if it was not for the fact I was writing this review I wouldn’t have finished it. However, for those fans of B-movie flicks, this is a good watch. My only tip is not to think too much when you watch it.

Want more fairy tales? Return to the main schedules
by clicking here for The Book Rat or here for A Backwards Story


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