Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Snow Queen (1976)

Year Released: 1976
Country of Origin: England
Run Time: 55 minutes.

How I Watched It: Youtube.

Adaptation Accuracy: Eighty some years since the invention of film and we finally have the first English language version of The Snow Queen. 1976's version was an hour long special on the BBC. It boasts real life actors in 2D animated backgrounds, kind of like an uglier version of Blue's Clues. But 
you have to hand it to the BBC, this is the most accurate and complete version of the story so far.

Finally, we are introduced to the devil made evil mirror whose broken pieces have been integrated into all sorts of things including windows, spectacles and a lamp post which breaks into Kay's (Joshua Le Touzal) eye, instantly turning him bad. Once again, for no reason at all, the Snow Queen (Mercedes Burleigh) takes him and Gerda (Linda Slater) sets out to find him.

The pacing of this one is really good. It seems every ten minutes we are in a new segment. Each one is treated with equal importance. The thin moments are given some padding, and likewise, some of the fat is cut. Most impressive is the inclusion of the talking flowers in the Witch's garden. (A truly tedious moment in the story, Gerda talks to six flowers who each have a nonsensical story that has nothing to do with Kay). In this version, we are treated to two of these. It still comes off as pointless, but fans of the original narrative appreciate the gesture.

However, the characterization of Kay is a little troublesome. The first time we meet him, he has been pierced with the mirror. We never see the nice little scamp he is and therefore, we don't have much sympathy for him. We also flash over to Kay's progress six times as he works on the Eternity puzzle. But the Snow Queen isn't there. Sigh. And the finale? She catches Gerda in her palace and causes an earthquake. Both the Witch (David Battley. Yeah, a dude) and the Finn Wife use their magic to protect the children and then they find themselves back at home as if nothing happened. And Kay's still kind of a dick.

Overall Likes: Accuracy; Character development; The flowers; Flashbacks of the Princess's marriage ritual; The Finn Wife.

Overall Dislikes: Linda Slater; Lack of Snow Queen; No scenes of "Good Kay"; Anti-climax; WTF? ending.

Final Thoughts: The half animation/half live action is jarring and very crappy looking, but if you can get past that, you've got a pretty damn good version of The Snow Queen on your hands. Linda Slater as Gerda really sucks though; The worst kind of child acting with every. Damn. Sentence. Sounding. The. Same. The supporting cast is exceptional, though.

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