Hollywood has a rich tradition of releasing competing movie projects at virtually the same time.  Armageddon squared off against Deep Impact.  Before that, Big duked it out with Vice Versa and roughly 87 other body-swapping comedies, the last of which was kept on a shelf until finally being released earlier this year (The Change-Up).  So it is that two studios have set their sights on updated interpretations of Snow White, currently scheduled to be released with 3 months of each other.

We’ll begin with Mirror Mirror.  Of the two movies, this will certainly be the more lighthearted.  Bear in mind that lighthearted is not synonymous with funny, as evidenced by the trailer, which includes a timely Scarface reference as well as Bjork’s Oscar dress.

Relative unknown Lily Collins portrays Snow White, while the trailer would lead us to believe that the bulk of the movie’s focus will be on Julia Roberts’ Evil Queen.  Pity.  Given his performance in The Social Network, where he played not one but two highly nuanced roles (Winklevi), I can’t help but feel the worst for Armie Hammer.  I wish I could say that this will be a temporary rough spot in his career, but his upcoming role as The Lone Ranger (in a script that reportedly involves werewolves and Johnny Depp as faithful Indian companion, Tonto) doesn’t bode well for the future.

Director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall), whose Immortals are currently slaughtering everything in sight at theaters, seems to have married Bollywood with Disney live-action, improving neither in the process.  Anyone who finds any of this intriguing desperately needs to abandon the New Release section of Netflix and delve a little deeper into catalog titles.  There is better stuff to be found.

Which brings us to Snow White and the Huntsman, which the trailer hashtags as #SWATH.  As in, the producers would like to cut a swath through Mirror, Mirror.

It cannot be denied that this is a different take on Snow White, though I can’t help but wonder if a little bit of bait and switch is happening here.  Given the title, I would assume that the two titular characters would be the leads, and yet they say almost nothing in the trailer.  Chris Hemsworth just fronted Thor for Marvel and Disney, while Kristen Stewart is still riding high on that whole shiny vampire franchise.  Wouldn’t you want to have those two front and center in your trailer?

Well, maybe not if you also have Charlize Theron.

All right, I concede defeat on this one.

From the music in its opening, this trailer promises darkness, though we’ll have to wait to see if it makes good on that promise.  At the very least, it would appear that the production traveled to physical locations rather than completely relying on soundstages, and the special effects don’t seem to be relegated to ABC’s Once Upon a Time.  Some of the forest scenes are reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s Legend, while I wouldn’t have a hard time believing the monsters came out of a Guillermo del Toro production.  Neither of those comparisons are unfavorable.

Ultimately, in the battle of Snow Whites, I believe the trailer for the latter film wins.  By a Huntsman.

What do you think?

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