Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth
While many are inevitably comparing the two Snow White films in their reviews, I don’t think there should be any comparison made at all. Both films are about the story of Snow White, but told in very different perspectives. Here, the heroine is wielding a sword and the villain is sucking the youth from her victims. There are no singing dwarfs in this action/adventure.
After a brief history of Snow White (Stewart), the film picks up when Ravenna (Theron) marries White’s father, only to kill him, rule the kingdom, and lock away Snow White in the castle. Only when Ravenna’s mirror declares Snow White as the “fairest of them all” does she have an interest in her stepdaughter. She can have eternal youth by ripping out Snow White’s heart, but fortunately White escapes.
Enter the Huntsman (Hemsworth). As Snow White runs into the dark forest, the Huntsman is ordered by Ravenna to bring her back, but his good heart chooses to help her escape rather than feed her to the very hungry villain. Once it’s realized how important Snow White is to end the dark era of Ravenna, everyone jumps on board to rebel, including some feisty dwarfs.
Though Show White and the Huntsman is ambitious, it falls flat on almost every level. The main positive from the entire film was the well-shot action sequences that lived up to the incredible action scenes of past epic/fantasy films. The sound mixing and editing were impressive, too. I loved the sound of shattering glass whenever a knight sliced one of Ravenna’s warriors in half.
To me, the acting fell short of launching this film into the realm of other fantasy/epic films. Kristen Stewart plays the wounded and pure warrior princess to her best ability, but even that isn’t far away from her ability to play a broken teenager in Adventureland or swooning over mythical creatures in Twilight. Charlize Theron was very one-dimensional as the evil queen, turning the majority of her dialogue into a screaming match against herself. And Chris Hemsworth is his charismatic self, flexing his muscle while swinging an axe and becoming protective over the vulnerable girl.
In addition, the film is too serious for its own good. Without many cracks or even a smile, the two-hour-plus movie feels slow and overly heavy at moments without any comic relief that all summer blockbusters have. The dwarfs were supposed to provide some sort of chuckles, but instead they were annoying, very unfunny side-characters that I’d rather see beheaded than telling stories around a fire.
There is no doubt that this film is just another hit to add to Stewart’s impressive resume. Is she the new money-making gal on the block? When dealing with this sort of genre, there are no questions asked. But she still has competition with Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence to really be taken seriously instead of just being a pretty face on the screen.