The Snow Queen
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Bridget Fonda, Jeremy Guilbat. The icy monarch faces a lowly innkeeper's daughter who fights to rescue her true love from the queen's custody. 2002/color/3 hrs/NR/widescreen.
What begins as a simple, bittersweet tale about a widower's daughter grandly unfolds into a rich, mythical adventure in Hallmark's production of Snow Queen. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, this story whisks viewers to a remote mountain town where winter claims a surprising number of lives, beginning with the local innkeeper's wife. Many years later, the woman's daughter, Gerda (Chelsea Hobbs), finds true love when her father hires Kai (Jeremy Guilbaut) as the inn's new bellboy. About one hour into this three-hour production, the mood turns rather sinister as the Snow Queen (Bridget Fonda) bewitches and captures Kai. Scenes of Gerda's search--through the lush temptations of each season personified--are interspersed with downright creepy scenes of Kai held prisoner in the Snow Queen's ice palace. Keen acting and smart direction engross the viewer, but those under 8 years old might not be ready for the repetitive themes of seduction and temptation. --Liane Thomas
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The basic story is about how the Snow Queen wants to dominate all the seasons so that it is winter year-round. Part of what we see in the movie is how she attempts to do this and how the heroine attempts to stop her. The way in which the story unfolds in regards to this plot is where a lot of the entertainment value lies so I won't spoil it.
The main problem lies in the pacing of the story. The first hour, which is largely dedicated to establishing the characters and relationships between them, moves far too slowly. While I believe time dedicated to character development can be of great value, some of the scenes are unnecessary or unnecessarily long (such as the ice skating scene where pro skater doubles perform twirls and other manuevers real skaters would never bother with). The odd thing is that I believe the extra time spent showing us how the hero and heroine fall in love actually undermines the credibility of the passion they supposedly feel for each other rather than enhances it. The languid pace shows a slow build of affection rather than a rapid burn which might incite the heroine to face great danger on her love's behalf.
Unlike other reviewers who believed Bridget Fonda's portrayal of the snow queen didn't explain the hero's attraction to her, I simply concluded it wasn't her beauty or her behavior that drew him to her but simply magic. Nonetheless, I think that there should have been a clearer explanation of the "mechanics" behind what she was doing, particularly when she behaved so cruelly at times and still was able to hold those around her in her thrall. Perhaps such an explanation wouldn't have been necessary if she had been portrayed in a more sensual manner. However, I think that these family-oriented presentations seek to avoid too much sexually-driven content.
There are some beautiful scenes and the story has a satisfying ending but it seems disjointed at times and I could easily see some viewers growing bored waiting for the story to move along. The overall "feel" of the movie was also disrupted (for me personally) by the relatively modern music that was used at times. All in all, I think that the father and son producers (the Halmis), who have made a lot of these types of productions for Hallmark, dropped the ball on this one. They had a lot of good pieces but put them together wrong.
An elegant diamond beneath the snow worth checking out - especially for the holiday season.
What I didn't like about this movie:
*The 'devil' scene when satan is making the mirror. It makes no sense and should be removed, why would the devil make something and the season's accept it? The movie has more of a Pagan/Earthy feel to it and they should have just went with that.
*The corny song they have for Kai and Gerda's theme, it's got a really bad pop sound.
*The end leaves too much to the imagination for the snow queen, and I was expecting a lot more skating of just Kai and Gerda at the end since they had a huge scene in the beginning of them skating. Would have been a much better way to end it.
Overall, the good parts of the movie outweigh the bad, this has become one of my favorite movies of all time! If you love fairy tales, see and buy this movie!
Fantastic scenery, and an excellent cast (with nice bonuses from the director, etc.)...how amazed and pleased Mr. Hans-Christian Andersen would be to see this story come ALIVE!
What a tool this is...not only to enjoy a very well portrayed timeless fairytale, but to teach without lecture or verse.
A 'must-have' in any DVD library!!!