Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

When the king rescues and quickly marries an unassuming witch (Charlize Theron) only to find himself on the business end of a dagger and his kingdom in the talonous hands of his new queen, orphaned daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is locked up in the dungeons, presumed by many to have been killed in the castle’s bloody takeover. Eventually proclaimed fairest of them all by Queen Ravenna’s magic mirror when she comes of age, however, she is targeted for her youth so that the queen might finally acheive immortality. Escaping into the Dark Forest, Snow White must evade capture at the hands of the queen’s huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) if she is to fulfil her destiny and reclaim her rightful place on the throne. You know the drill: dwarves, princes and poisoned apples.

I swear, I was only asleep for a moment. I distinctly remember a violent encounter with a disgruntled troll and then, snap, our heroes are knee deep in self-mutilated women – you know, just like in the fairytale. Whether or not the intervening minutes (no more then five, I’ve been assured) might have had any impact on my overall enjoyment of the movie, it’s difficult to say. What I can tell you, however, is precisely what I made of the rest of it.

First of all, it’s important to note just how impressive this film is as a first-time project. The début feature of Rupert Sanders, who had previously only worked on short films and – tellingly – video games commercials, Snow White and the Huntsman is a remarkable achievement for such a relatively inexperienced director, particularly given the scale of the task at hand. There are moments of real beauty on show throughout (particularly when it comes to blossoming flowers and horrific hallucinations) and sequences that work very well, with Sanders exercising the utmost control over his cast of A listers – not easy when you’re dealing with the likes of Bella Swan and Asgard’s resident God of Thunder.

Unfortunately, as the lights dim and the picture begins, the considerable production values and up-and-coming cast are not the first things to impress upon audiences. No, first you must overcome Chris Hemsworth’s spectacularly unsuccessful attempt at a Scottish accent as he struggles, wearily, to establish a backstory we have heard at least two times before. While others’ affectations might be substantially more effective – I for one much prefer polite British Kristen to surly American Kristen – Hemsworth’s drab voice-over seems to cast a spell over his fellow actors. After all, accented or not, Kristen Stewart is still playing Kristen Stewart: a looped conveyor belt of frowns, sighs and awkward smiles.

As for the rest of the cast, there are almost as many hits as there are misses, though this is largely thanks to the presence of an eighth dwarf. Much has been made of Theron’s evil queen, when really any transformational qualities inherent in her performance are more likely down to the effects artist’s keyboard than to Theron’s own efforts. She looks distinctly bored throughout (as does almost everyone else), only on some occasions she does so slightly louder and veinier than on others. As for Sam Claflin’s Prince William (Prince Charming is clearly of no relation), his turn as Snow’s childhood friend proves almost as forgettable as whatever it was he did in the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The dwarves could have been the film’s real saving grace (Ray Winston in particular is a delight), had they not been relegated to the final act for fear that they might inject proceedings with some sort of personality.

Impressive visuals are not a solid enough foundation on which to base an entire movie, particularly when the same story was told by someone with such superior flair as Tarsem Singh only two months previously. Next to the saccharine sweetness and camp charm of Mirror Mirror, a film that defied convention by wearing its heart very much on its couture sleeve, Snow White and the Huntsman looks unflatteringly flat and staid. Worse, it practically demands comparisons to just about every other movie released in the last ten years, channelling the likes of Alice in Wonderland, Twilight and Lord of the Rings as it remakes a classic story with added chemistry-fee love-triangle and extras-heavy final battle (fought by enchanted golems as opposed to people we might actually be invited to care about). While some are undoubtedly harmless fun, most of these innovations feel forced and futile: the “magic mirror” spilling out of a gold disk for apparently no other reason than to use up the rest of the $170 million budget.

While Sanders’ accomplishments are not to be understated – I look forward to seeing what he does next – there is no denying that Snow White and the Huntsman has shades of an excellent – if unusually long – video game cut scene. The environments are truly incredible, the storyline splendidly simple and the battle scenes suitably intense, but it all feels somewhat inconsequential. Indeed, there is very little magic evident for a film based on a fairytale, and next to the bright and bubbly Mirror Mirror Snow White and the Huntsman comes off as the moody younger sibling. Sleepily so.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

  1. Pingback: May 2012 – It appears to be some sort of cake « popcornaddict

  2. Yolonda Sweany says:

    kirsten stewart looks really great on the movie Snow White and the Huntstman. she is really beautiful and i love her..

    Remember to visit our own blog site

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