I have a problem with Tarsem Singh’s filmmaking and, I think, this comes from being an English Literature major who always keeps one eye on story telling. I’m not sure that this is an unreasonable thing to do but some filmmakers (*coughZachSnydercough*) don’t seem to care about people like me. They neglect me, ignore me and, in the case of Sucker Punch, abuse me. Tarsem has definitely made progress in ensuring that his films are more than just set decoration but, unfortunately, his adaptation of the Snow White legend is about as narratively interesting as a children’s picture book- which is, effectively, what it is.
Julia Roberts plays the nasty old witch/queen and she chews scenery as a villain without any sort of nuance. It’s easy money for her and she doesn’t do a bad job although she’s never altogether convincing (especially given my firm belief that a bad English accent does not make you evil by default). Lily Collins plays Snow White and other than being totally beautiful and lovely (just in case she’s reading this…) she has absolutely nothing to do and, resultantly, does absolutely nothing. She’s probably Tarsem most attractive piece of set dec on this film. The Social Network’s Armie Hammer also tags along as the token buff prince and he probably comes out of it as unscarred as any of the cast.
But the problem is how simplistic it is. Yes, children were hooting with laughter in the aisles during the screening (which is mission accomplished, I guess) but if you’re even slightly jaded of fairy tale clichés then you’ll find this a hard film to stomach. The seven dwarfs are incredibly tedious, Nathan Lane’s obsequious advisor has literally no character arc, there’s an unexplained ‘beast’ that turns out to be Sean Bean, the ‘kingdom’ appears to comprise of about fifteen villagers (when did Tarsem ever scale something down?) and the resolution, replete with Bollywod style dance, is so sickly sweet that you’ll want a poisoned apple just to wash it down.
Tarsem has created a film that is patchily beautiful but always muddled and underwhelming. Lily Collins is amazing though.
|Starring:||Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean, a lot of short actors|
|Running Time:||An hour and 40 odd|