18 December 2008

The Snow Queen (starring Bridget Fonda, Chelsea Hobbs and Jeremy Guilbaut)

'The Snow Queen' is one of many DVDs that were offered free with a weekend newspaper, collected by a relative, and passed on to us. It's not one I am ever likely to have bought, nor would we necessarily have got around to watching it, but for the billing 'Christmas Magic and Fantasy' on the back. Ideal, we thought, for light viewing in the week before Christmas.

I hadn’t realised until part-way through that this movie is an adaptation of the classic fairytale of the same name. Had I thought about it, I should have done. There is indeed plenty of snow and ice, not to mention magic and fantasy, but it’s not at all connected with Christmas... and parts of it are quite suspenseful.

The story is about the evil Snow Queen (Bridget Fonda) who manages to send a sliver of ice into the heart of Kai (Jeremy Guilbaut), a young man who works in a hotel and is in love with the owner’s daughter Gerda (Chelsea Hobbs). He changes character dramatically, then vanishes… and she decides to follow him.

The second half of the film sees Gerda travelling through the fantasy realms related to the different seasons. She encounters many strange people and creatures, including some talking animals, before she finally reaches the Snow Queen’s castle, where Kai is captive.

The film is quite sad in places, a bit frightening in others, and even slightly amusing at times in some of the caricatured characters. There are some lovely ice skating scenes, and some dramatic special effects. Gerda and Kai are excellently cast, and the whole works very well despite being quite a long movie; it was originally shown on TV in two parts, as it’s nearly three hours long.

Once I had realised that it was a slightly bizarre and surreal story, I enjoyed ‘The Snow Queen’. Recommended for older children or adults; probably not for sensitive small children. The UK rating is PG, which is reasonable enough, so long as parents do use their guidance; in the USA it is not rated at all.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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