Snow White, Some Dwarfs and A Million Pieces of Coal

It’s clear that Hollywood is pretty well tapped-out when it comes to new ideas.  Heaven forbid they consider coming to WordPress and looking for some fresh writing talent.  Instead, they’ve rehashed a fairy tale and added a generous batch of special effects to spice it up.   I know my loyal readers will point out that I recently did the same thing with the Three Little Pigs in my erotic opus, Forty Seven Shades of Pink.  In my defense, no one is paying me buckets of cash to write anything, original or otherwise, and I didn’t actually use any special effects except the pigs being able to dress themselves in lingerie.  Let’s face it, they could already talk and build houses so that’s not exactly a quantum leap in believability.

It’s all in the wrist: you swing your broadsword thusly and…Boom! Nothing but a pile of coal where the knight used to be. (Image from Hotnerdgirl.wordpress.com)

I don’t have too many clear memories of my early childhood, largely because it was a long damn time ago.  I’m told that my parents and grand parents read me fairy tales from time to time.  Though my memory is admittedly a tad vague until early puberty,  I’m pretty sure I would have recalled the part in Snow White wherein evil doers are sliced in half with swords and immediately turn into a million chunks of digital coal.  I certainly would not have forgotten a witch who looks like Charlize Theron, spins in the woods and turns into a swirling flock of ravens like some bad-trip, M.C. Escher print.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t actually seen the new Snow White movie, and I likely won’t.  I’ve seen the trailer a couple of times, and that’s more than enough for me.  The special effects certainly looked dazzling enough, but to be honest, when you’ve seen one evil henchman reduced to a scattered pile of black rocks, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

Fairest of them all?! I mean it’s really, really close! Hottest of them all? Well, yeah, it’s still realllllly close. Do I have to choose? Maybe we could get that guy out of the picture so I could focus?  Thanks, dude…why don’t you take 5 and go grab a coffee or a danish, I got this.  (Image from justjared.com)

Compared to most fairy tales, the traditional storyline of Snow White is not particularly reliant upon special effects.  There’s an evil witch with competition issues and a talking mirror.  The mirror tells her about a more beautiful woman, named Snow White (we’ll save the speculation about Hitler youth ideals for some other blog).  The wicked witch can’t deal with being the second fairest of them all.  She fails in putting a hit out on Snow White who escapes into the woods, eventually shacking up with seven miners who happen to be dwarfs.  The queen hunts her down and slips her a poison apple which puts Snow White in a coma.  Aside from the talking mirror, there’s absolutely no reason for special effects in the story.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen  talking mirrors on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond, in case you’re interested in getting one of your own.  Bear in mind, those sassy bitches are on the clearance rack for a reason.

The new movie, if the title is accurate, focuses more on the early part of the story and the huntsman’s role as failed hit-man.  Certainly there is room for the character to deal with the turmoil of his task.  Again, no real reason for additional special effects, unless the film makers decided to go with the miniature angel-huntsman on one shoulder and the little devil-huntsman on the other, but I didn’t see that in the trailer.  A quick consult with some blog writers and we might have had the angel-devil on the shoulders scene, but nooo, those big wheels out in Hollywood couldn’t be bothered.

See? We could put these on the Huntsman’s shoulders, or on the Queen’s. As long as these she-devils/angels aren’t fairer than Charlize. These two might not be tied for 4th, but they could make the top ten, depending upon the kingdom. (Image from reviews.partycity.com)

Obviously, Snow White as a story doesn’t really need special effects, gratuitous or not.  Another part of the problem is the special effects themselves.  With the advent of computer generated imagery, the wonder of special effects is no longer wondrous.  Once upon a time, movie-goers would speculate for days about “how’d they do that?”, scanning the edge of the screen for tell-tale silouettes of wire or looking for the zipper on the back of the Godzilla suit.  Today, we don’t even bother wondering how the magic happens.

I know how to use my computer like a typewriter to write these dopey blogs and to look at porn research online.  There are hundreds of thousands of twelve year olds people who can do so much more with a computer than me.  They can do things like make Spiderman swing from buildings or create dog-beasts from thin air to chase the last few Hunger Games contestants to the final fight scene.  Hell, computer experts can even see about getting me an upgrade on my airline tickets (though they can’t consistently get me an emergency exit row or bulkhead seat).  I would love to say how much I appreciate their facility with the keyboard and mousepad, but as long as Spidey doesn’t break up and freeze into a pixilated mess of red and blue, midswing, I don’t even notice their work.

Sorry Hollywood, adding a bunch of eye candy and razzle dazzle is no way to fool us into thinking we didn’t already know this story line since we were 4 years old.  Now when “Jack and Jill, Terror Hill” comes out, I may have to change my stance and go see it.  Rumor has it the scene where Jack breaks his crown is incredibly gruesome, plus we finally get to find out what a crown is.

The Things You Don’t Do For Love

I'm such a hopeless romantic. Nothing says love like a nice drawing of the heart with annotations. (Image for USF.EDU)

I went to a movie with my wife the other day.  Between the fact that we already pay too much for cable and the brilliance of our flat screen TV, going to the movies is a fairly rare occurrence.  Still, the little woman had her heart set on it, so in the spirit of being a supportive husband, I got the keys and out the door we went.  I wasn’t overly eager to see this particular movie, as it had virtually no nudity or sophomoric humor in it.

We found two seats, on the aisle and near the back.  There was only one row of seats behind us, which were reserved for people with disabilities and their companions.  I briefly considered limping into those seats, but knew I’d feel really guilty if someone came in after me and toppled down the dark steps with their walker.

My wife and I got comfortable and watched the previews for upcoming attractions, all of which looked more exciting than the movie we were about to watch, and all of which had ungodly loud special effects.  Let’s face it, if the sub-woofers don’t physically shake the concrete floor of the theater, people feel cheated.

Before the coming attractions were over, I heard the two seats behind us become occupied.  Considering the massive amount of audio input I was receiving from the coming attractions, it was not a good sign that I could hear people settling into two seats over 36 inches away from my ears.

I dared not look back at these two people, preferring instead to entertain myself by imagining them throughout the course of the movie.  I’d then sneak a peak at them when the lights went up to see how close I had been in my mind.  I also knew that if I looked at them, I would be more tempted to start some sort of dialogue with them later in the movie.  Any conversation with these people would almost certainly take away from my wife’s enjoyment of the movie, especially if the people and I started cursing at one another.

One thing I could tell immediately was that both of them were overweight, but the man was in the worse shape of the two.  He had the labored breathing of the morbidly obese, with the added likelihood of being a longtime smoker who may have worked with asbestos at some point in his life.  He undoubtedly had sleep apnea, and I silently prayed that the movie would not be too boring, lest he doze off.  His breathing was such that every other exhalation he made a “Hhhmmf” sound.  As disturbing as it was, I realized how much worse it would have been if the movie actually had nudity after all, as the “Hhhmmf” had an almost pleasurable undertone to it.

Don't say anything....don't even look....just pretend they aren't there...try to focus on the movie....Uh oh, here comes another stupid comment! (Image by ChrisQueen.net)

It soon became readily apparent that the two of them could not imagine sitting through 2 hours of big screen entertainment without multiple boxes and bags of snacks.  The first course was definitely in some kind of cardboard box with an inner wax-paper liner, like breakfast cereal or Triscuits.  I was prematurely happy to hear the empty box fall to the floor 20 minutes into the movie.  My joy was short lived as I immediately heard the second snack being torn into.  It was in a type of crinkly cellophane wrapper and may have been sticky, as there seemed to be a small struggle to pry the food loose from the bag and/or itself with each handful.  It must have had some chewy goodness to it, as it elicited lip-smacking and denture sucking with each mouthful.  Finally, the third snack sounded like it was some small, hard food in an unlined cardboard box.  It rattled around in the box, as if these two were enjoying the un-popped kernels at the bottom of a popcorn tub.  Each handful would be accompanied by the sound of the few morsels which got away, rattling down the side of the box to be scooped again later.

People often eat in movie theaters, and it takes a good deal of willpower not to succumb to the lure of overly buttered popcorn and $5 cups of Coke.  If the couple behind me had just been big time eaters, I would likely be writing about some other topic, like what’s annoying me about Facebook this week, or getting to that Gluttony piece for the Seven Deadly Sins challenge.

Sadly, these two were not just movie theater gourmets.  In an unfortunate combination of binge eating and bad manners, these buffoons talked with food in their mouths, in a theater, during the movie.  As if the symphony of the two of them rooting through their stores of goodies wasn’t annoying enough, they insisted on guessing what would happen next, or worse yet, commenting on what we had all just seen happen, as if perhaps we’d missed it.

“They killed that guy” he said aloud, with a mouthful of tasty morsels nestled in his cheek, right after a character had been stabbed in the heart and lay motionless on the ground, with his eyes glazed over in a blank death stare.

“Uh oh, now they goan fight!” she predicted in her outside voice, her mouth packed with Milk Duds, as characters on the big screen in front of us began picking up weapons and looking at each other menacingly as the music swelled.

Throughout the movie, the two serenaded anyone within 20 feet of them with declarations of the obvious.  In between helping those of us who were too mentally compromised to follow along with the plot, he would say “Hhhmmf”

I silently wondered where the hell these two were when I went to see “Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy”, I could’ve used some help with figuring that mess out.

Despite my overwhelming urge to turn and make some comment to the two of them, I kept my silent promise to my wife and said nothing.    At the end of the movie, I caught my glimpse and rewarded myself with an imaginary prize for being so close in my guess as to their appearance.  As a reward for my excellent behavior, my wife shushed me the whole way to the car.

Later, I couldn’t help but imagine the two of them, driving back home and showering each other with one obvious quote after another as they crept along going too slow in the passing lane.

“The light’s still green”

“Looks like the iHop is open”

“Those people in the theater were sure quiet”

In reality, they probably drove home in utter silence, having already used up all their small talk for the weekend.