Movies – Snow White and the Hunstman

3 Jun

The third of the current crop of Snow White re-interpretations opened this weekend, and while it has a certain amount of visual flair, it is the falls short in the realm of heart.

Snow White and the Huntsman pits Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth as the title characters against Charlize Theron as wicked stepmother Ravenna and her brother Finn (Sam Spruell).

The story plays a bit with the established legend; in this version, the Queen is after Snow White not simply out of jealousy, but rather to preserve her own youth and power.  Told by the magic mirror that she needs to ingest Snow White’s heart to break the curse which requires her to absorb the youth and beauty of others in order to maintain her own youth and power, Ravenna sets out to kill her stepdaughter.  Snow escapes her tower prison and makes her way into the dread Dark Forest.  Finn recruits the king’s Huntsman to track the errant princess, but once he finds her, the Huntsman switches allegiances.  Finn continues his pursuit, leaving dead bodies and scorched earth in his wake.  For their part, the heroes pick up allies of their own, leading to a face-off between the current and rightful Queens.

I have never been a Kristen Stewart fan, and this movie does little to change that opinion.  She doesn’t display any particular range of emotion, and while I understand that beauty is relative, she just doesn’t work as the “fairest of them all” for me.  Charlize Theron certainly fills that bill a bit better, but the Oscar-winning actress has almost nothing to do here but scream and stalk about.  Of the main cast, Spruell and Hemsworth come off the best, with the former a little bit scarey and a lot creepy, and the latter a more earthy version of this Thor character.

Director Rupert Sanders’ pacing is uneven, with a few stunning visuals, including a hallucinogenic swamp and an extended visit to a more fanciful realm, but the chase drags mightily with very few surprises or payoffs.  What works most against the film, however, is its crushing gravity.  Even the introduction of the seven dwarfs, the perfect place for a bit of humor, does little to lift the movie.  A couple of Ravenna’s transformations are impressive, but probably the best use of the computer visuals is the believable transformation of normal-bodied actors (including Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, and Ian McShane) into the seven dwarfs.

Snow White and the Huntsman is, at best, a serviceable retelling of the traditional tale, but it pales in comparison to its peers, ABC’s Once Upon a Time (which benefits from the serialized nature of the unfolding story) and Mirror, Mirror (which benefits from a sense of whimsy).

 

My score: 

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2 Responses to “Movies – Snow White and the Hunstman”

  1. Goose June 19, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Despite reading your review, I went and saw this with my daughter because she did not care to see Madagascar 3 with her brother and mom. Surprisingly, she liked it – on a superficial level. I must say that I agree completely with your assessment. Not a Stewert fan, but must also admit I haven’t seen much of her. She certainly is not the fairest of them all, not even in this picture. It was OK for an afternoon picture at a matinee price, as long as you go in not expecting Disney.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Musicals « Fat Guys On… - June 3, 2012

    […] daughter and I were driving home from seeing Snow White and the Huntsman (my review here), and we were talking about the Les Mis trailer, which we saw for the first time on the big screen […]

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