REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted by under *dislike, Movies |

Snow White and the Huntsman is the latest live action retelling of the Snow White fairy tale to come out in the last year following Julia Roberts’ Mirror Mirror and ABC’s Once Upon a Time. From all of the promotional materials I had seen leading up to the film’s release, I was expecting it to be a grounded, Batman Begins-esque take on the fable with Snow White reimagined as a warrior. To my surprise, most of the more fantastic elements of the story are still present, which I actually found refreshing. In the end, however, the movie still manages to disappoint.

The film follows the adventures of Snow White, the fairest of them all, whose father’s kingdom was conquered by the Sorcerer-Queen Ravenna played by Charlize Theron. Snow White is played by Kristen Stewart, who is sadly not given much to do for most of the film except walk, run away from things, and be pretty and/or covered in dirt. Her Snow White certainly isn’t given much personality, which is probably the film’s biggest weakness. Snow White is among the least interesting characters in the movie. It’s very clear that far more thought was put into the secret origin of the wicked Queen than Snow White herself. The Huntsman, played by Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, is also given a far more dramatic role than that of Snow White.

One question I left the theater with was: Is Snow White and the Huntsman an eighties movie in disguise? It certainly borrows liberally from a number of movies from that era. It aspires at times to capture the wonder of Tom Cruise’s Legend, especially during an encounter with a giant white fawn during a visit to a forrest inhabited by Fairies. There are definite allusions to the dark forrests of The Neverending Story. In the film’s climax, the famous Dwarves are little more than stand-ins for Ewoks and their effort to bring down the Deathstar’s shields. Can they do it in time? There is even a classic moment stolen from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I’m not sure the kids will notice any of this however.

Overall, Snow White and Huntsman could have been a better movie if they had simply put more effort into making the title characters more interesting. In addition, the tone is beyond somber for most of film and it definitely would have benefitted from more humor. At one point near the end of the movie, Snow White asks how can she possibly lead a kingdom. Sadly the movie is remarkably honest in implying the only possible reason anyone would follow her is because she’s pretty, like her childhood friend William always had. If you’re 13 years old though, maybe that’s enough.

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