Sunday, 31 August 2014

Snow Queen (2002)

This DVD was an impulse purchase while standing in a supermarket checkout line.  I knew nothing about the film except that it starred Bridget Fonda, and it was based on a fairy tale that I'd liked as a child.

Frankly, I've had worse reasons for buying DVDs.

As it turns out, this (currently) is Fonda's last acting credit (or so IMDB tells me).  It also appears like it was probably a mini-series in conception at one point.  Or at least, so I interpret its 168 minute run time.

The premise is fairly straightforward: a young couple fall in love, then an evil-doer messes everything up, and only an epic quest can reunite them.  In a nice change of pace, however, the young woman is the one doing the rescuing, and the young man is the hostage who must be saved.  To do so, she'll have to travel through the mystical lands of Spring, Summer and Autumn - few of whose inhabitants are keen to help - in order to reach the realm of winter before her erstwhile love joins the Snow Queen's collection of icicle boys.

This was made for the Hallmark Channel, so it's firmly in family-friendly territory.  There's some mentions of scary stuff ("let's eat her"), and a somewhat ill-advised scene involving the devil that seems tonally out of keeping with the rest of it, but there's no real violence or strong language.  It's mostly just a plucky young heroine sticking to her guns and refusing to be swayed from trying to rescue the man she loves.

The film's not without its flaws: there's a Chinese magician who speaks pidgin English that's meant to be funny but is just cringeworthy (even if he is one of the few unequivocally good people our heroine will meet) and the resolution when the protagonist and antagonist finally square off is somewhat lacking.  Also, the heroine reaches the magical land by throwing herself in a river after her paramour vanishes, which I thought was a very ill-advised plot point.

Oh, and there's a truly dire 'Wet Wet Wet' still love song that gets used several times, and I burst into giggles every time it intruded.  For your entertainment:

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(and yes, that is the whole thing)

On the other hand, this is also a movie with an ice-skating polar bear, and a female protagonist who does stuff.  And those are both things I think we can all get behind.

If you need a family-friendly fairy tale style film which eschews the normal 'princess needs rescuing' archetype, then this isn't a bad option.  I'm glad I picked it up, even with its flaws.

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