Saturday, June 2, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Plot: It a darker version of Snow White where the Queen (Charlize Theron) is a witch who needs to eat Snow White's (Kristen Stewart) heart to maintain her beauty and magic. Queen Ravenna sends a hunter (Chris Hemsworth) into the woods to hunt Snow White down, but he hates the queen and double crosses her. Snow White meets soldiers, dwarves, fairies, and magic creatures in the woods, and then returns to Queen's castle for the climax. [imdb link]    [photos]

Review: The beginning of the movie is pretty great, I liked the dark set up of the movie, the way Ravenna double-crosses the old king, the creepy evil feeling.  The early scenes in the woods with the Huntsman are solid as well.

When the dwarves arrive in the story, the movie slips because suddenly we have campy comedy -- like March's Mirror Mirror. The trip to fairy land had potential, and it established Snow White as some sort of magical figure, but it did not fit the theme. Now I wonder if this was tied some Disney cobranded spin off.

(No spoiler alert, because I know you've heard the story before.) The climactic battle has some great video riding on the beach -- a great visual. When the sword fighting starts, it is less inspired.

Kristen Stewart gives a decent performance, and Charlize Theron handles her evil role with dignity. Neither actress has dialog that gives them deep emotions. I'd have liked to see some hatred in Snow White eyes, but there wasn't any. Ravenna could have shown some fear but instead there was only steely determination. Chris Hemsworth does a workman-like job as an action hero, but he is clearly a supporting actor.

Like all 21st Century fairy tales, the princess is the hero; Kristen Stewart is Joan of Arc: hair back in plate mail armor.  This Snow White is motivated by political revolution not beauty, power, love or revenge. She doesn't hate the Queen, she feels sorry for her. Chris Hemsworth's hunter has some vital roles fighting people and beasts, but fades into the background by the end. No love story anywhere -- maybe that keeps the action flowing, but it reduces the emotion. Snow White has no mentors or friends either -- if they weren't going to do a lover story, I'd have written a girl friend into the story to talk to. If that is too lesbian, then maybe a dog.

The closing scene was like the end of Star Wars: A New Hope -- the hero on a dais at the head of a great hall.  The end felt strangely empty because Snow White was happy by herself. 

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

Directed by: Rupert Sanders

Rating:   2.75 stars: In summary, entertaining and fun-to-watch for about 2/3's then not quite. 
More: More dramatic and enjoyable than the Julia Roberts version. The Julia Roberts version was a satire, whereas this was a fantasy action movie. 

Even more: The only kiss is between the Queen and Snow White. I can't find other evidence of a lesbian theme.  Queen Ravenna seemed to exist for 12 lifetimes in solitary, icy, stoic beauty -- with only her brother to confide in. No one had any interest in having kids.