26 December 2012 | TheLittleSongbird
My feelings were rather mixed on this one
My main attraction was that I absolutely love the original Snow Queen story and always have done, for me it is one of Hans Christian Andersen's best stories. So naturally I would see any adaptation of it, regardless of the company or who was in it. I was a little dubious though as for me Hallmark's output have been a very mixed bag. The good news is that while it is miles away from being perfect Snow Queen is really quite decent and one of Hallmark's better efforts.
It does have a number of good things. The best asset is by far the visuals. The scenery, settings and lighting look absolutely stunning, easily one of Hallmark's best-looking movies, and the Snow Queen's costumes and make-up are an absolute knockout. The cinematography is basic and maybe some of the slow-motion shots get too much and unnecessary, but on the most part it is focused and fluid. The music score is very good also, it has the sparkling motifs that you'd associate with a fantasy score, the darker moments have a haunting musical undercurrent and it does all this without ever sounding generic.
Snow Queen's lead performance I did think were quite good. The acting honours do go to Bridget Fonda who I think is wonderful as the Snow Queen. She looks breathtakingly beautiful, and while she is cold and icy at points she also has a humane side which she delivers with a surprising amount of pathos. Jeremy Guilbaut showed a lot of potential as Kai, he does bring genuine character and natural intensity to him proving that he is more than just a pretty face. Chelsea Hobbs is a little bland to start with, but I didn't worry too much actually as it fitted with the "character going on a journey"(literally and in character development) and later on she is easier to warm to.
Oh and before I forget, I was surprised by how good the special effects were, the reindeer and the polar bear looked great. Snow Queen began and ended well, the darker moments providing a lot of promise for the telling of such a timeless story.
Unfortunately, for all the good things that Snow Queen it does also have debits. The rest of the acting is uneven though with one exception nobody is exactly bad. That exception though is Kira Clavell's Summer Princess, who acts and sounds like she is participating in a high-school production. But the main problems are the script, the pacing and the story. The script once the darkness shifts dissolves into anachronism and modern vernacular, which against the production values proved to be quite a stilted mismatch.
At this point as well, the pacing does get tedious and save for some inspired moments never really picks up- some of the action sequences like with the Summer Princess' minions and the Autumn robbers are quite nifty though-, which is a shame considering how promising the beginning and end proved to be. The story showed a lot of potential and I personally did find Gerda and Kai's love for one another and together convincing, which took a nosedive in the tone shift. For a programme of this length, I was disappointed at how forced the Autumn scenes seemed to be and by how certain events were introduced but never explained satisfactorily and consequently coming across as confused instead.
So in summing up, Snow Queen was decent and watchable with the art direction being the best thing about it, but there were a number of things that stopped it from being great. 6/10 Bethany Cox