The Snow Queen is a powerful story of friendship and the triumph of love over wickedness. The story follows a young woman who is forced to battle the wicked snow queen in order to save the soul of the man she loves.
***Uneven Hallmark fantasy notable as Bridget Fonda’s last film*** In the late 1800s the daughter (Chelsea Hobbs) of a hotel owner in a town in the Great Northwest becomes enamored with the bellboy, Kai (Jeremy Guilbaut). When an icy-but-beautiful woman known as the Snow Queen (Bridget Fonda) whisks him away, Gerda (Hobbs) seeks to find him & free him after she amazingly enters the parallel realm of the Snow Queen. But, first, she has to struggle through Spring, Summer and Autumn and the challenges thereof. "Snow Queen" (2002) is a Hallmark production that runs 12 minutes shy of 3 hours and was based on the original fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, which was first published in two parts in 1844-1845. Elements from another folktale about the four seasons were mixed into the brew. This is an Americanized version of the fairy tale with the events taking place somewhere out West in the USA or Canada, both of which are (North) America. The film was shot in British Columbia and takes place there or anywhere in the Great Northwest in the late 1800s (or early 1900s). It definitely doesn’t take place in Denmark since (1) there are snowcapped mountains in the background and (2) everyone speaks English. I suppose someone could argue that it takes place in either Norway or Sweden, but that doesn't resolve the English-speaking issue (unless you simply imagine the characters speaking a Scandinavian language). The long movie’s worth catching just to see Bridget in her last role before marrying notable composer Danny Elfman and starting a family. Hobbs doesn’t personally trip my trigger, but she’s a’right. Guilbaut is bland, but serviceable. The movie comes alive whenever Fonda is present. Most of the first half is rooted in reality and is quite good for a TV production, but the mid-section focuses on Gerda’s misadventures journeying through Spring, Summer and Autumn while Kai is captive in the Snow Queen’s stronghold on top of a mountain guarded by a talking polar bear. The entire middle of the picture cuts back-and-forth between these two stories with a few sequences in reality thrown in for good measure, the latter involving the father at the hotel (Robert Wisden) and his cook, Minna (Wanda Cannon). In Gerda’s quest the characters come-and-go like a rollercoaster ride. It’s reminiscent of the Neverland sequences in “Hook” (1991). If you like fairy tales like “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012) or episodic fantasies like “The Odyssey” (1997), “Ulysses” (1954) and “The Lords of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003) give this a look; just remember it was made on a TV budget and there’s not a lot of swashbuckling, as with those other productions. The film runs 2 hour, 48 minutes and was shot entirely in British Columbia (Cranbrook, Fort Steele & Vancouver). GRADE: C+/B-