Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie Review

How on earth does Kristen Stewart keep getting acting jobs? There hasn’t been acting as bad as hers since William Shatner. She just can’t act! Fortunately for her, Stewart’s signature blank expressions and pathetic delivery actually works for her in Rupert Sanders’ first major motion picture, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012).
Young Snow White (Kristen Stewart) has lost her mother. Her father, King Magnus (Noah Huntley) eventually falls in love with the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) after rescuing her from the Dark Army, and the two are married. But Ravenna is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army's master. She kills Magnus on their wedding night. Ravenna sizes control of the kingdom and locks Snow White in the dungeons. Ravenna uses a Magic Mirror (Christopher Obi Ogugua) to capture all the women whose beauty might surpass her own and drain them of their youth. This allows her to use her beauty as a weapon as long as she is “the fairest of them all.” Years later, The Mirror eventually warns Ravenna that the now grown-up Snow White is destined to surpass her and that she must consume the princess’s heart in order to become immortal. Snow White escapes into the Dark Forrest where Ravenna has no power. The Queen enlists the aid of a mead-guzzling hunter (Chris Hemsworth) to brave the Dark Forrest and bring Snow White back to the castle. The Huntsman doesn’t trust the Queen, and intentionally betrays her by helping Snow White. After meeting up with a band of dwarves the group begins to form a rebellion to overthrow the evil queen.
Everyone knows the original story of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, even if it’s the sugar coated version Disney produced back in 1937. Snow White and the Huntsman features everything from the original tale from magic mirrors, dwarves, poison apples, and evil queens, to tender hearted huntsmen. This really is a respectable adaptation of the original fairy tale. It’s dark, action packed, fanciful, exciting, and features some above average medieval battle scenes with a siege of the castle which is always exciting. Snow White and the Huntsman captivates some of the menace of the Brothers Grimm tales that were meant to frighten children rather than comfort them.
The characters in Snow White and the Huntsman range from interesting to drab. Ravenna is a fantastic villain; the way she speaks and acts really helps you understand how she actually uses beauty as a weapon. She’s beautiful and evil, and makes a wonderful villain that you just love to hate. The Huntsman is an endearing survivalist drunkard widower with whom we can sympathize over his lost love. Chris Hemsworth has shown us some good acting in Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012), and he doesn’t let us down in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Then there is Snow White. If you’ve seen any of the Twilight movies you’ll know how vacant Kristen Stewart’s expressions are and how devoid of feeling her delivery is. She does basically the same thing in Snow White and the Huntsman. As a child Snow White witnesses her father’s murder, sees many people she trusts and depends on killed or driven away, and then is locked in a dungeon for fifteen years. She’s a damaged character, and Stewart’s dreadful acting actually works for this character. She’s not easy to care about because she doesn’t do much on her own until the end of the movie. She’s the least developed--odd since she is a titular character-- but she’s not as horrible in this role as she has been in everything else she’s appeared in. She even smiles several times in this movie. I didn’t know she could do that! She actually has quite a nice smile!
The dwarves are played by several familiar actors whose faces are placed over some actual dwarves' bodies. These actors include Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Toby Jones. It’s an amazing CGI technique, but deprives some real actors of jobs, which isn’t very fair.
Like Twilight (2008), there is a love triangle set up among the characters. Snow White reminds the Huntsman of his deceased wife. Snow White’s childhood friend William (Sam Claflin) wants to rekindle an old love interest. Fortunately this is a subplot at most, not the whole story. It’s also a pretty weak subplot; not one character seems impassioned enough for us to believe their love. The kisses in the movie are as innocuous as the snow is white.
Snow White and the Huntsman was a respectable effort as its director's first major motion picture. It was intensified with excellent application of the latest cinematic technology and featured an all star cast. It wasn’t bad in spite of Kristen Stewart. It gets pretty slow in the middle, but has a strong opening and ending. Some characters and plot devices were a bit weak which made it difficult to really care about them. We’re given a warrior princess for our day, though she could stand to be a more rounded character. Charlize Theron stole the show and made it exciting and interesting. Snow White and the Huntsman isn’t a great movie. Yet while it may not be as dynamic as we were expecting, it seems to achieve what it sets out to be. It’s an above average renter, and may be worth a matinee ticket. If you’re a big fan of dark fantasy, you may even consider buying a copy on Blu-Ray.

What do you think of these dark fantasy fairy tale revisions?  Are they too dark? Are they at odds with your concept of a fairy tale? Are they perfect? Comment below and tell me all about it!


  1. I have to say, I wouldn't consider the Disney version of Snow White sugar-coated. That movie totally scared me as a kid. The huntsman's shadow holding the dagger as he creeps up on Snow White in the forest, her turning around and screaming and his eyes gleaming with malice. Pretty intense for the first full-length animated movie ever.

    I'd say that I prefer the Disney version to this one. I think the characters are more interesting, and at least animated Snow White shows emotion.

    1. That's a very good point. When I think of Disney's Snow White all I seem to think of is Snow White and a bunch of adorable woodland creatures doing housework. I think Disney's Snow White and Snow White and the Huntsman are both good for different reasons.
      After all, Disney's version doesn't have Kristen Stewart in it! That's always a plus.

  2. The movie was so boring to watch. Must be the Disney thing.

    1. It did get rather slow in the middle, I agree.
      It was a Universal Studios production; Disney had nothing to do with it. It probably would have been much worse if Disney had their fingers in it.

  3. I was impressed that Kristen Stewart attempted to change her voice though! I had never seen her do that for a role before.

    1. Hmmm... I guess I didn't notice that. I wouldn't mind seeing it again to check. I'll keep an ear out for it!

  4. I think that Charlize Theron should get special recognition for her acting; acting as if Kirsten Stewart is actually more beautiful than she.

    Some unexplained and unresolved points:

    If Snow were locked in the tower for a dozen years, where'd she get the cool princess dress?
    If the dwarves led the into a secret cutsey fairy hideaway, how'd the bad guys get there?
    The lake dwelling ladies had scars to make them unattractive and therefore not wanted by the queen. However, the queen was stealing youth from them, not beauty.
    Did Snow ever find out who smooched her and woke her up? No one was too surprised that she were resurrected.
    Everyone already had full battle gear including some bosomy armour that fit Snow. They were able to assemble at a moment's notice?
    Snow escaped through the sewer, yet no one barred the hole? I did appreciate the dwarves saying "Poo" and not more profane words.
    If Queeny was able to transform herself to look like Edward, find Snow, and chat, why kill her with a poison apple? Forgot to bring a knife or a dark army?
    Every one of the heroes were able to get through the mele and enter the Queen's chamber unopposed while the rest of the army was still hand to hand in the courtyard?
    What were the bad guys throwing that blows up on the beach?
    Queenie could not send the dark army out to snuff all the good guys before they came into the castle?