With two movies revolving around Snow White being released just two months apart, the good news is that they couldn’t look and seem more different. Whereas “Mirror Mirror” (2012) is a comedic fantasy film that is mostly family friendly, “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012) is a dark fantasy action film, heavy with the mystical evil that surrounds this story. There is nothing lighthearted about this film, mostly because the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) is as dark and wicked as they come.
In this retelling of the classic fable, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) has spent her childhood locked in a tower at the instruction of her magical and malevolent stepmother, Ravenna. Along with her brother, Finn (Sam Spruell), Ravenna sucks the youth and beauty out of young women in the kingdom, preserving herself for as long as possible. Upon learning that she can remain young and beautiful forever if she sucks Snow White’s beauty, she sends Finn to retrieve Snow White from the tower. Snow White wounds Finn and escapes the castle through the sewer, and makes her way to the “dark woods”. Afraid to follow her, Finn retrieves a huntsman named Eric (Chris Hemsworth) who will go into the woods because Ravenna has promised to bring Eric’s wife back from the dead. When Eric finds Snow White he decides not to hand her over, and together they go in search of the remainder of people loyal to Snow White’s father.
In many aspects, “Snow White and the Huntsman” resembles a film taking place in “middle earth”. It’s obvious that the attempt was to give this film (and its blatantly intended sequels) a Lord of the Rings feeling, with the lush landscapes and disheveled clothing. Chris Hemsworth looks like he could have just come from saving Frodo. The problem is that director Rupert Sanders, and the rest of his production team, failed to realize that Hemsworth was fully capable of wielding his ax for some serious action. Instead, the action scenes are weak, bordering on stupid, mostly because they are so short. The film feels like an action film, but is missing the action sequences. There are, however, plenty of shots of everyone traveling through the forest, over the mountains and across the beaches. The entire movie centers on getting from one place to another… and then going back again.
On the plus side, “Snow White and the Huntsman”, is a film that spared no expense. All of the visual effects are first rate, earning an Academy Award nomination. The filmmakers also understood that just because they had the capabilities and financing for wonderful visual effects, they didn’t need to overuse them.
Kristen Stewart lacks the innocence and kindness that a good Snow White embodies. She seems too hard and jaded, leaving us somewhat indifferent toward her. Chris Hemsworth looks the part of the Huntsman, but the role wasn’t written to his strengths, and unfortunately he is never given the chance to steal the film. (Which would not have been hard.) Snow White’s other love interest is played by Sam Claflin, who much like Hemsworth, is under developed, leaving us with a lackluster feeling toward his character. Charlize Theron, however, is a great evil queen. With a tremendous amount of help from costume designer Colleen Atwood, Theron looks how one would want an evil queen to look. (Colleen Atwood was also nominated for an Academy Award for her work on the film.) Most of her scenes take place in her tower, without much interaction, but because of her devilish smile and terrifying magical abilities, she easily makes the audience intimidated by her presence.
“Snow White and the Huntsman” satisfies throughout the film, and it is only after looking back that one’s disappointments comes to light. If they continue this series (and it appears that they will), perhaps they will delve into the heart of the characters, giving the audience some worth-while action and a story with more heart.Back to Home for More Reviews