Sunday, June 3, 2012

Evil Queens & Madonna

It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Of course, it's also been said that what goes around, comes around.  After watching Snow White and the Huntsman, I couldn't help but think that Madonna is probably doing a fair amount of deep sighing right about now.

I've always enjoyed Madonna's music and yes, I'm old enough to remember when she first broke onto the pop music scene, although I never imitated her style of dress.  (There is photographic evidence of any number of [shall we say] unfortunate clothing trends I took part in, but I wasn't a part of that one.)  When I first saw Fritz Lang's Metropolis, one of my reactions was, "Holy Giant Machine!  Madonna totally ripped off Lang with her "Express Yourself" video!"  And I'm right about that.

Madonna has often been an innovator, especially in the arena of music videos.  She has also freely borrowed from the past, from Fritz Lang to Marilyn Monroe.  Newer artists owe her a debt for blazing a trail - I'm looking at you, Gaga!  (In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit that I'm quite a fan of Lady Gaga, who I think can justly wear the Madonna mantle.  Or bustier.)

Look, I'm having this conversation to avoid talking much about Snow White, which honestly is thin on story and has some plot holes large enough to drive a battalion through.  (For instance, you're a cruel queen known for eating hearts.  You keep your chief rival locked up, but make sure she has sturdy footwear and leather pants under her bulky, Renaissance-style gown?  Seriously?)  I don't mind thin stories - this is a fairy tale, so a few things just have to be accepted, although there's some big-time sloppiness in setting up the world of the film.  And Charlize Theron is having a lovely time up there, chewing the scenery and showing us all how women dread aging.  (Thanks for nothing on that score, Theron!)

But if you're going to go light on story, at least go "whizzbangboom" on the effects.  Michael Bay taught me that.  Personally, I liked the effects - although I've had it with the hand-held camera work.  It's a big-budget major studio release - invest in a couple of Steadicams, please!  After Hunger Games, I've gotten very weary of the herky-jerky whip pans. My problem with the effects is that I've seen them before.  I loved Madonna's "Frozen" video when it first came out.  And it's a song all about hearts, so I guess it fits Snow White as an inspiration.  Compare the video to the film's trailer and you'll see what I mean.

First up is "Frozen" from 1998:

And the trailer from Snow White:

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