"Snow White and the Huntsman" Misses the Mark
Release Date: June 1, 2012
· Rupert Sanders
· Kristen Stewart
· Charlize Theron
· Chris Hemsworth
· Ian McShane
· Bob Hoskins
· Ray Winstone
· Eddie Marsan
· Sam Claflin
· Sam Spruell
· Visit the official site of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman
by Jeff Ritter
Published: June 3, 2012
Hollywood insiders would probably deny it, but the evidence is so apparent it's impossible to ignore. Every year the major studios pick a subject, then race to put their movies out in more-or-less direct competition. "Dante's Peak" and "Volcano." "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact." This year, strangely enough, they duel with an old fable: Snow White. Following the late-march release of "Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts and given barely average scores by critics, comes Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsmen." Is it the better of the two Snow White movies? Sure. Is it much better? No.
Rookie director Rupert Sanders is given a great cast to work with. Chris Hemsworth, late of "Thor" and "The Avengers," is a hot commodity right now and his star is still ascending. His role of as the Huntsman, sadly, isn't very meaty and offers a bit less heroic glory than his Thor portrayals do. Film veteran Bob Hoskins and brilliant character actors Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Eddie Marsan comprise the core of the dwarf contingent, shrunk down "Lord of the Rings"-style.
The biggest issue with the cast is with the prinicpal protagonist and antagonist. The people responsible for casting this movie overreached and in doing so they outsmarted themselves. When an actress as gorgeous as Charlize Theron asks her magic mirror who the fairest of them all is, the answer is Charlize Theron. She's unfortunately too beautiful for the roll. Snow White, played by "Twilight's" Kristen Stewart, isn't unattractive but she's no Charlize either. Stewart always seems to have a bit of a goth-emo vibe going on. She'd be a great choice if Hollywood was going to remake "The Craft" (they remake verything else so why not?), taking the role originated by Robin Tunney. But against Charlize Theron, both in looks and acting, she's clearly out of her league.
Perhaps a veteran director could have got more out of this group. It's a shame to waste the talent playing the dwarves as cannon fodder and comic relief. The special effects were nicely done, but sometimes ill-advised. When Snow White battles the Queen, the evil sorceress conjures a few magical warriors made of shards of broken glass to keep Snow's entourage at bay. The magic creatures just seemed odd. Why not stone golems? Why not a troll? There's a rather cool-looking troll earlier in the movie who bats Thor...er...the Huntsman around but is quickly charmed by Snow White. I felt short-changed by that battle and wished we would have seen more slick creature effects like that rather than featureless glass demons. The story structure was badly disjointed as well. At times it seemed like Sanders realized he had stayed with Snow and the Huntsman too long and so he shoehorned nonsensical short scenes of the Queen doing random acts of magic or having horribly unnecessary flashbacks design to evoke sympathy for her. Evil witch step mothers don't need sympathy. It completely undermines their purpose. Sanders also tried to get around the issue of Theron's beauty by making her a sort of "youth vampire," sucking the life force from young village children to keep up her youthful appearance. Wrong legend, Mr. Sanders -- that's The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The Brothers Grimm would be highly disappointed.
If you want to see Chris Hemsworth bringing the pain, go watch "The Avengers" (still great the third time viewing). If you want to see Kristen Stewart in something that suits her better, stick with the "Twilight" saga. There's plenty of better Charlize Theron films to choose from. If you're determined to watch something related to Snow White, watch the classic animated Disney feature. You could also send letters to Warner Brothers, asking them to adapt the Vertigo comic Fables, which includes a brilliant take on Snow White. "Snow White and the Huntsman" is simply too plodding and wooden to appeal to any but the most ardent Kristen Stewart fanatics.