In a world where intellectual property reigns supreme, I’ve often wondered how several different movies, books, and television shows all arrive at a similar theme, genre, or topic and nobody gets sued.
As Kirby Ferguson mentions in his Everything is a Remix, part 2, “transforming the old into something new is one of Hollywood’s greatest talents,” and after seeing a particular trend reemerging this year, it’s easy to see the truth in his statement.
Fairytales are experiencing a huge resurgence in books, television series, and movies, most notably Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. While the fiarytales are part of the public domain, which means they are available for everyone to use, manipulate, and reinvent as they so choose, and people are taking advantage.
Not one, but two different movies are reinterpreting Snow White for modern audiences. Mirror, Mirror, which is set for release on March 30, and Snow White and the Huntsman, which opens June 1, are very different adaptations of the fairytale. Mirror, Mirror is the more family-friendly of the two, with Julia Roberts as the Queen, Lily Collins as Snow White, and Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott. Check out the trailer below.
As you can see, this adaptation is a much more comedic retelling of the story, but Snow White and the Huntsman comes closer to the story’s barbaric and violent origins. Take a look at the trailer, and you’ll see what I mean. This is the newly released, extended trailer, but it provides a much better sense of the level of violence in the movie than in the original one.
In this adaptation, Queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron, stays looking young and beautiful by sucking the lifeforce from young girls. In order to reclaim her title as “the fairest of them all,” she must cut out Snow White’s (Kristen Stewart) heart while it’s still beating and consume it. The queen hires the huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth, to track down Snow White, who has escaped into the Black Forest and bring her back alive.
These movies are not the first adaptations of the story; Disney’s animated feature is probably the most famous, but recently fairytales have leapt from the big screen to the silver screen. This past fall, two network series, NBC’s Grimm and ABC’s Once Upon a Time, have jumped on the bandwagon to breathe new life into fairytales. Once Upon a Time not only focuses on Snow White’s tale, but also incorporates all of the other fairytales Disney has remade (because Disney owns ABC, all of the characters and costumes look eerily like their animated counterparts).
Grimm, NBC’s take on the tales told by the Grimm brothers, actually puts a twist on these classic stories. The show follows Detective Nick Burkhardt as he discovers he is a descendant from a long line of criminal profilers who are charged with keeping the balance between humanity and mythological creatures. I haven’t seen the show, but after exploring the website, it seems like a much cooler concept that has a longer shelf life than Once Upon a Time.
How much longer will this particular trend last and which version will come out on top? I guess only time will tell.