Snow White by Marianne Stokes
By Steven Zeitchik
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
LOS ANGELES — Those who make our living following the entertainment business tend to look for rivalries because, well, it's fun and because Hollywood is enough of a copycat place that it's impossible to avoid the competition even if we wanted to.
But they didn't have to look hard to find a battle between Universal Pictures and Relativity Media over the last year as each raced to mount Snow White movies. The fight had more story lines than the Grimm Brothers could come up with: Two movies, each putting a new spin on the virginal beauty and the mirror-gazing villain, were pushing forward at the same time.
Each had buzzy young actresses in the title role (Kristen Stewart for Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman" and Lily Collins for Relativity's film, which would eventually be titled "Mirror Mirror") and an established Oscar winner as the Evil Queen: Charlize Theron in "Huntsman" and Julia Roberts in "Mirror."
Each hired Hollywood outsiders to get behind the camera: Rupert Sanders for "Huntsman" and Tarsem Singh for "Mirror."
To top it off, there were two companies with history: Relativity for years had financed a large section of Universal's slate before breaking out to produce and release movies on its own.
Throughout the summer, it seemed like the companies played chicken with 2012 release dates, before settling on March 16 ("Mirror") and June 1 ("Huntsman").
The newly released trailers for the movies indicate, however, that the similarities have been overstated.
The spot for "Snow White and the Huntsman" came out last week, and it immediately made clear it owed a creative debt to a host of genre movies, from "Twilight" to "The Dark Knight." The villains were genuinely scary, and the mood was ultra-serious; even the heroine's not doing much smiling.
Right on its heels came Relativity Media on Wednesday with its trailer for "Mirror Mirror." The company appeared to have blinked when it took the "Snow White" name off its movie. But it may also have been hinting at something else: Its film really doesn't go to the dark roots of the Grimm Brothers or to the hunter/hunted angle of its counterpart.
As the trailer suggests, it's a light, bouncy story, somewhere between "The Princess Diaries" and a live-action "Shrek." Roberts' Evil Queen isn't fearsome as much as goofy, and Collins looks like, well, a princess, not sprinting, breathless prey.
(c)2011 the Los Angeles Times
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