When I first saw the trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, I figured that it would either be horrible, or really good. Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Kristen Stewart are the three main players in this newest retelling of the classic fairy tale. With Chris Hemsworth just coming off of the very successful Avengers and Kristen Stewart finishing up the Twilight series, it is good to see that they are still making movies.
Everyone knows the classic tale, and I was glad that they didn’t stray too far from the story we know and love. In this, shortly after the queen dies when Snow White is very young, the kingdom is threatened by a phantom army. After defeating them, the king frees their one prisoner, Ravena, played by Theron. Enamored by her beauty, the king marries her the next day, and on the wedding night, she kills the king and lets in her brother and their army to take over the castle. Once in control of the castle, she imprisons Snow White in a tower for 16 years. We then find that the evil queen drains the youth and beauty of women in the kingdom to keep her own. Then after the magic mirror tells her that Snow White’s beauty is soon to surpass her own, but that the queen would be able to eat Snow’s heart for immortality, the queen sends for the prisoner. Snow is the able to make her escape, and flees. Ravena then commissions the Huntsman to bring her back, with the promise of bringing his dead wife back from the grave. When they catch up, he finds that he will be double-crossed and helps Snow White by promising to take her to the last place that is still fighting the evil queen.
Although it had a lot of promise, little is delivered. The characters have little to no depth, and often are distractingly one-dimensional. Possibly the most distracting part of the movie is that Theron overacts so much throughout the movie that it inadvertently provides the comic relief that is lacking for much of the movie. That is, until the dwarves are introduced about two-thirds of the way through the movie, at which point they served almost no purpose. Which is especially frustrating because among the dwarves are Ian McShane (Deadwood, Kung Fu Panda), Bob Hoskins (Hook, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), and Nick Frost (opposite Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), so they essentially throw away some of the best talent in the film. Another problem is the fact that right before the climax of the film, after Snow White is kissed by her true love and comes back to life, she then gives a monologue that is supposed to motivate the soldiers to attack the evil queen, but it feels flat and wooden, much like Stewart’s acting prowess.
I should say that I don’t hate Kristen Stewart, despite the fact that she is about a C- actress, and she did alright in this movie. I will say that I think that is attributed more to the fact that Snow White’s character has very few lines in the movie. Chris Hemsworth also did a good job picking up the slack that was left in the dialogue gap. He was fun to watch as he usually is, and was probably the best part of the movie. There were also some really great action sequences that weren’t over the top as I had expected, and a lot of the special effects were very well executed. Although they had a late arrival, the dwarves are a much needed comic relief from the somber tone of Stewart’s broody interpretation of Snow White. There is also only the slightest hint of romance, which would have felt out of place in this darker imagining had it been more emphasized, which was a wise choice. To top it all off, there is an opportunity for a very cheesy ending with the romance, but in the end, there is little acknowledgment to it. I don’t know if it was to keep the tone and setting, or to take into account that there isn’t that much chemistry between the two.
Snow White and the Huntsman is rated PG-13 for violence and sexual content. The action was a little more brutal than lighter fare, there’s a scene where the evil queen also goes naked into a wax bath (that has nothing to do with anything in the movie) and the wedding night scene with the king and the evil queen is a more risqué than I would let a younger teenager see personally. Overall for the movie, I give it six out of ten. Despite the fact that the movie had many flaws, the story was fun and the effects were good enough that I didn’t feel I wasted my time seeing it. I probably wouldn’t see it again though, and I wouldn’t recommend it.
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