Snow White and the Huntsman Film Review
Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?,” asks Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) to her magical mirror. “You are the fairest, but there is another destined to surpass you,” replies the mirror who’s speaking about the true heir to the kingdom, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in the action adventure film, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Years earlier Ravenna seized control of the kingdom when Snow White was just a young girl by seducing and murdering her father the King. Over the course of her childhood and as she grew into a beautiful young woman, Snow White was kept a prisoner in the north tower of the castle. With Snow White locked up and Ravenna on the throne, the kingdom has fallen into despair and darkness. Upon hearing the magic mirror’s warning about Snow White eventually surpassing her beauty, the Queen orders the death of her prisoner. However, with the help of a few birds Snow manages to finally escape the castle and make it to the dreaded Dark Forest where few dare to tread and where even the Queen’s evil magic is powerless.
Determined to capture and murder Snow White, the Queen sends a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), who’s familiar with the Dark Forest to journey there, find the princess, and kill her. Once the huntsman finds Snow, he finds himself unable to murder the pure and innocent young woman. Instead, he becomes her protector and mentor, teaching her how to defend herself in combat and leading her to an ally’s camp. On the way, the two unlikely comrades run into seven thieving dwarfs (did you really think they wouldn’t be in it…what’s Snow White without the Dwarfs?). All of the dwarfs are taken by Snow’s charm, beauty, and innocence, but it’s the eldest dwarf, Muir (Bob Hoskins), who recognizes that she is the one they and the kingdom have been waiting for to free them from the darkness and despair of the Queen’s reign and restore the kingdom to its full glory.
Snow White and the Huntsman is a fantasy action-adventure that strives to be an epic take on the classic fairy tale but fails due to awkward pacing, overacting and a non-performance from one of its key stars. One of the best things about the film is Charlize Theron’s extremely effective performance as the evil Queen Ravenna who’s only interested in continuing her reign of the kingdom and keeping her unnatural beauty intact no matter what it takes. Not since Disney’s 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has there been such a malevolent Queen up on the big screen. It’s a shame that her performance halfway through the movie becomes too big and too loud due to overacting in a few scenes.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) delivers a solid performance in the first half of the film as the huntsman who protects Snow White in the Dark Forest and comes to care for her. But he seems to disappear into the background behind the dwarfs and Snow White herself in the second half of the film. Without a doubt though the worst element in the film is Kristen Stewart’s uninteresting, boring, non-performance as the pure princess who’s destined to overthrow the Queen. Stewart’s Snow White is a pale, emotionless heroine who seems bored by almost everything around her. A key scene between her and one of the first dwarfs to welcome the princess into their company and sign up to protect her is ruined by Stewart being unable to convey empathy and sadness. In another important scene where Snow White is greeted and blessed by a great magical Stag, the actress is literally out acted by a CGI special effect. Hey, let’s hear it for Bambi!
Another weakness with the movie is the slow, awkward pacing which will have the audience checking their watches and wondering when the adventure will continue, if ever. The film does have some solid production value with the castle, the village, and the Dark Forest looking great, as well as impressive make-up and special effects – especially for the dwarfs and the magic mirror.
Boring and tedious, Snow White and the Huntsman is a shallow, empty re-telling of a fairy tale classic that will have the audience wishing they were watching the Disney 1937 animated classic instead.
Snow White and the Huntsman hits theaters on June 1, 2012.