Snow White has reclaimed her throne in multiplexes and for those afraid of seeing a rehash of Mirror Mirror, I can safely say Snow White and the Huntsman is the superior film! The movie has its flaws from an overly lengthy runtime to a pretty bland leading lady but it more than makes up for it with a haunting overall tone, and two leading stars that dominate the screen! If anything this movie should be called The Evil Queen and the Huntsman as they’re the two to watch.
After her father is murdered by the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), a grown-up Snow White (Kristen Stewart) escapes to the Dark Forest. Ravenna needs the princess in order to stay young forever and forces a grief-stricken Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring Snow White back. When the Huntsman and Snow White team up with seven dwarfs, all of them decide to fight back and stop Ravenna once and for all.
If Mirror Mirror was meant to be the child’s version of the Snow White tale than Snow White and the Huntsman is for rebellious teens and adults! The film has an overall pallor of darkness once things get moving. Locations, costumes, even the music is haunting, dark and lifeless. This is in contrast to the beautiful special effects scenes in the fairy forest that are simply breathtaking. The film goes to some dark territory from the opening scene when Ravenna murders Snow White’s father and from there the story includes murder, soul sucking, and battle all of it well-done and never going for the cheap thrill. Director Rupert Sanders crafts his Snow White akin to Lord of the Rings (both a good and bad thing at times) and the film has a suitably epic scale to it.
Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth are the reason to head out and see this movie! They bring a vitality and raw energy to the characters of Ravenna and the Huntsman that is chilling and action-packed respectively. Theron takes a one-dimensional character, that of a woman desperate to be young and through an expertly written back-story crafts a character that is haunting and frightening. Ravenna is a woman both cursed and blessed with beauty and the film even finds time to include a message with the film about how beauty is valued in our society. Theron seduces the audience with her character in the early scenes with a young Snow White but as the film progresses a mere look from the actress sends chills up your spine. She’s a multi-faceted character portrayed by an actress worthy of taking her on. Hemsworth may be playing Thor on the surface but again, his character has more to him than that. Rocking a Scottish brogue that actually convinced me, Hemsworth has to be a man hardened by death and does so with aplomb. I’d be more than open to seeing more adventures with him.
The film is not without its flaws but thankfully an appearance by Hemsworth or Theron is all that’s needed to get the film back on track. At two hours and seven minutes the film stretches the audience’s patience at times. The film has four very distinct acts starting with Ravenna’s story, then the Huntsman’s, then Snow White as leader and the battle at the end. The first two and last are amazing, it’s when Kristen Stewart has to control the film as Snow White that the movie comes grinding to a halt. The script gives Snow little to do other than be “fair” and commune with animals but even when she’s meant to become this warrior it feels like she only achieved that with a kiss. She’s never seen training or actually…leading and the audience never roots for her. You root for the Huntsman, but not Snow White. The dwarfs also seemed to be used for jokes and/or because the story can’t just be Snow White. The actors are all good but there are no distinguishable traits between them aside from the actors’ appearance, I don’t even remember any of their names.
Snow White and the Huntsman isn’t perfect but it’s a far cry from that earlier Snow White tale. Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth make the movie enjoyable for about 85% but the remaining 25% is left on Stewart who just can’t transcend her already weak character. It’s worth seeing in theaters but it’ll probably be forgotten come the dog days of summer.