Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron
Snow White & the Huntsman is a modern update of the classic Grimm’s Fairytale. The movie and the tale begin similarly with Snow White’s mother, the queen (Liberty Ross) pricking her finger and spilling three drops of blood onto pristine snow, then asking for a daughter with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as dark as ebony. A few years pass and her mother succumbs to illness and passes away. Through duplicity, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) marries the king (Noah Huntley), murders him, and takes over the kingdom. She then imprisons Snow White in a castle tower.
Years pass and the land becomes barren during Ravenna’s reign. She literally drains the youth out of women to maintain her power and youth. So long as her Mirror answers she is fairest of them all, Ravenna is content in her position. But then one fateful day a new answer is given, and Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is named fairest of them all. Enraged, she sends her brother to fetch Snow White, but she escapes and goes into the Dark Forest. Beyond her reach and power, Ravenna sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into the forest to retrieve Snow White–falsely promising him she will be able to resurrect his lost love. Later, both the Huntsman and Snow White escape the forest, join forces with the dwarves and “Prince Charming”, raise an army, and fight to free the kingdom.
In trying to keep much of the original elements of the story as well as add modern twists, the story becomes too long. By enhancing the character of the Huntsman, the character of “Prince Charming” William (Sam Claflin) becomes superfluous–especially when you don’t even try to create a believable love triangle. The character could have been removed from the entire story and it would not have affected the story in the least. Also, the sojourn into faerie-land, though beautiful, added nothing to the story.
The acting is both good and bad. The bad is Kristen Stewart who is miscast. Physically, she is missing the red as blood lips and is too much of a waif to be believable wearing and being agile in armor. Regarding her performance, the only expression she constantly uses gives the impression she has gas and is trying not to relieve it. Throughout the film I was constantly trying to determine who I would cast in her place–I would have gone with Nina Dobrev. The good is Charlize Theron. She gives her all as the evil Queen Ravenna. More importantly, she is not one-dimensional nor over-the-top. Though evil, Queen Ravenna does show emotion and does have feelings, and Theron does an excellent job tapping into that side of the character.
The look of the film is simply gorgeous. From the opening shot of a well manicured snow-covered garden with the good Queen walking down its center, to the hallucinogenic horrors of the Dark Forest, the bright colors and imagery of faerie-land, the coronation scene, every shot is beautiful and well composed.
Overall the good of the film is balanced by the bad. Though the story is incredibly visualized, it is also fat. Though the villain is well realized, the heroine is blank. Good attention to detail on one side–the village of women who scar themselves to avoid the attention of the Queen–is offset by bad details on the other–the offensive force attacking the castle is woefully unmanned.
Grade = C+