September 10, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is without a doubt an all-time classic film, and one that managed to instill fear into kids worldwide. This was thanks mainly to the evil Queen, who was determined to put an end to Snow White once and for all. Over 70 years later, and several more versions of the tale, and it is Charlize Theron’s turn to face the mirror to find out who is fairest of them all.

This big budget live action version of Snow White puts a slightly different spin on the classic tale, yet will still seem very familiar in its story arc, even if the filler is comprised of a new story. Kristen Stewart plays Snow White, the aforementioned Charlize Theron is the Queen and Chris Hemsworth is in play as the titular Huntsman, with first time director Rupert Sanders taking the helm as director.

The long and the short of the story is that the Queen tricks her way into the arms of the King, and then takes control of the kingdom and imprisons the King’s daughter, Snow White. She is only concerned with staying youthful and thanks to her magic mirror is informed that she indeed is the fairest of them all. However, one day the mirror has a different tale to tell when it tells the Queen that Snow White is now the fairest.

Quite fortuitously for Snow White, it is this exact same time that she makes her escape into the forest. The Queen, who is furious, dispatches the Huntsman to bring back Snow White, so that she can once again become the number one girl.

So, the story is fairly familiar in that it does follow the main points of the story we all know and love, and yes we do get seven dwarfs thrown into the mix, but instead of song and dance numbers we get treated to battle scenes, monsters and plundered villages. This is a Snow White on a grand scale and a good share of violence, and quite honestly Sanders has done a good job.

The real strengths of the film, aside from looking absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray, is the wonderful visuals and the performance of Charlize Theron. Visually the film just flat out impresses. I would have maybe liked to have seen a little more color thrown in, but from the battle scenes through to the many scenes of physical transformation, this is a lush looking film.
Theron though is quite terrifying as the Queen; she’s cold and exacting in her mission and quite simply pure evil; there’s no shred of humanity within her and as such adds a real conviction to the greater story.

Where the film falls slightly is in the casting of the two other leads. I’m sorry, but I cannot accept Stewart as the fairest of them all. She does an okay job in the lead role, and does get better as the film progresses, even if she stays a little too close to the emotional level of Bella, whom she plays in the Twilight saga. Not a disastrous performance, just the wrong actor for the role in my eyes.

Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman was okay, and just okay as he really did not have an awful lot to do. Sure, he turns up for the fights and kicks ass, but aside from that there is not too much asked of him.

One thing I did find a little strange, and also distracting, was the casting of non-dwarfs in the roles of the dwarfs. Now, Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan are all fine actors, but they are not dwarfs (although you might argue that Hoskins could fit the bill). So I spent parts of the movie wondering how they managed to execute the look of being dwarfs, rather than get wrapped up in the story.

Overall though, Snow White and the Huntsman is a visual spectacle and an enjoyable one. It wasn’t perfect, however once I got past the films’ shortcomings I did find myself enjoying the film. And, as if quite often the case, the bad guys always have the best roles.

Snow White and the Huntsman is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Universal Home Entertainment on September 11th.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Charlize Theron was incredibly good in this movie as the Evil Queen. She fully sells the arguably over dramatic role and you are left fearing and hating her. The visuals pick up the slack left by the rest of the cast, and I have to give a hand to Sanders for this being his first film. I was talking to a coworker at Dish about the film a while back and he made the same comment as you, Snow White is in no way fairer than the Evil Queen. Even putting looks aside Stewart is far from playing the unbearably lovely and pure Snow White. It felt like one of those movies that would be better on a second viewing so I added it to my Blockbuster @Home queue the day I saw it, and it came in the mail yesterday. I am glad that I gave it another try because I think I was expecting too much from the story the first time, and I enjoyed it much more the second time. I just figured if they were going to go through all of the trouble of reinventing the classic tale it would have been for a killer story.