Sunday, July 24, 2011

Will Two Snow White Remakes To Be Released in 2012 Promote Feminist Messages?

Two remakes of Snow White are set to be released in 2012. The first, Snow White and the Huntsman, has been advertised as an action film, comparable to films such as Deep Impact and Lord of the Rings. The image above is intriguing to me. Click the link to view the other pictures of cast members as their characters. In the image, Kristen Stewart is dressed as a knight, suggesting power and strength, yet she is starring away from the viewer. Why is that, since the other images of the queen, huntsman, and prince directly face the viewer? While I have my reservations, it is refreshing to see Snow White minus the dress, perfect look, songs, and birds.

My main question is: Will this be a feminist film? A brief synopsis of the film shares that the evil queen played by Charlize Theron sends a hunstman to kill her stepdaughter. Instead of despairing, Snow White played by Kristen Stewart trains in martial arts to fight the queen. At first glance, this film seems promising, but I'm concerned it will fall into the usual Hollywood traps. While Snow White can protect herself, the films also includes the handsome prince "enchanted by Snow White's beauty."

The second film being released in 2012 is The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, starring Julia Roberts as the queen and Lily Collins as Snow White. An interview with Entertainment Weekly offers some interesting comments from the filmmaker. This version is supposed to be "humorous" as opposed to the other that is "action-oriented." In response to questions about why he chose Julia Roberts, the filmmaker shares that he wanted a "likable queen."

He also comments "She’s the stepmother, but other films are all about narcissism. Who’s more beautiful than the other? This one is more of a power struggle. She wants power, and beauty is just a part of that." I find that comment interesting because power and beauty are so interconnected, and in our culture, a woman's power stems from her beauty. While it is sad to admit, beauty can gain a woman respect and prestige. I also think labeling previous Snow White films as all about "narcissism" offers an incomplete picture. Yes, the queen only cares about herself and being the "fairest of them all", but what strikes me the most about this story is the way the queen must be "fairer" than her stepdaughter. I think it shows the complexities of the relationships between stepmothers and stepdaughters as well as the intricacies of relationships between women and the ways they must hurt each other to achieve beauty and success. I'll give my final verdict when the films are released.

Can you imagine Julia Roberts as the evil, likable queen?

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