Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Fears Of A Stereotypical Imagination

I have just watched Snow White and the Huntsman which by all accounts is much better than I anticipated. Having been bored to death by Twilight, I was expecting a modern retelling with a lot of pale sullen faced  teenagers suffering mild depression from their broken hearts, but I was pleasantly surprised to see they were passionate about making this film. It's not quite the classic they were aiming for, but there are moments of beauty and inspiration. The beach attack on the castle was spectacular, some of the fantastical trees, fairies and toadstools were inspiring and the dark magical forest exceeded even Tim Burton's visions. The Huntsman (although his Scottish accent slipped into Australian from time to time) was convincingly masculine, without becoming homoerotic (Anyone see the film 300), though Charlize Theron's performance, particularly when she screamed, was cringing and about as effective as Ewan McGregor's 'younglings' performance in Revenge Of The Sith. However, to her credit, she has since perfected the ice cold performance in Prometheus.

Anyway the point I want to make, or rather the irritation I'd like to point out is that while I have been plodding along with the writing of the Henry Bramble feature I had absolutely no previous knowledge of this film, except for it's title and the DVD cover. I was just about to tackle the scene in my script where Henry and the two chumninks enter the Castle of Shadows through the sewage pipes when I decided to take a break and look at Snow White & The Huntsman. To my surprise and annoyance I discovered they had an almost identicle scene. Three dwarfs sneak into the castle via the sewers with Ray Winstone making almost the same 'poo' one liner that I had written. In reference to my previous postings, when you are coming up with the same scene as someone else rather than the same archetypal tool, then not only does it look like plagiarism but you then start to question your own ability to imagine original thoughts. For now I am not going to change my scene, just aim to develop it differently so that it exceeds and surprises expectations of audiences who have seen Snow White.

My other concern is the increasing release of gothic teen fairytale adaptations that are beginning to saturate the market with the same style and tone that I had previously liked, but is now becoming too familiar with audiences. The challenge is to have an original vision and style that audiences will be drawn to, which is no easy feat. As a result I am leaning much more towards a 'steampunk' world were medieval mixes with futuristic Victorian. It makes more sense thematically. Henry has a vivid imagination, the contents in his Uncle's country house are very traditional and Victorian, but as a boy living in a modern world, he is much more aware of technology. Merging these in his imagination would give him Steampunk which represents Uncle Geoffrey and the negative aspects of the adult world.

Finally, the last lesson learned from this film is that dwarf actors in hollywood films are a thing of the past. In Lord Of The Rings and Snow White, they have shrunk normal sized actors, which basically allows them to get better performances from well known actors rather than having to rely on 'pantomime acting' which seems to be dwarf actors main source of work. Not only that, Dwarfs per-say are simply not imaginative enough for modern audiences. With the advent of Gollum there has been a surge in performance capture techniques allowing filmmakers to potentially get the best performance from big 'star' level actors and yet make them physically inhuman. I think for Henry Bramble, this has to be the direction we go in despite it's expense, as we can then put financiers at more ease by attaching huge stars to play Grimbo and Raygo. Can you imagine, George Clooney and Brad Pitt playing three foot chumninks?

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