June 1, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
Thanks to Disney’s market dominance and ubiquity in my childhood, I am not familiar at all with the original Brothers Grimm version of the story, which is dark and what Snow White and the Huntsman supposedly stays true to (as much as its PG-13 rating allows it to); so it was more than refreshing and undoubtedly exciting to check out a cinematic spin that turned any memories of colorful animal friends and sing-a-long songs upside down. As long as it wasn’t anything like last year’s Red Riding Hood retelling that tread the edgy path and bombed, I would’ve been happy overall.
So I guess I’m happy overall. I personally pushed for Snow White and the Huntsman to grace our list of most anticipated movies of 2012, so I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. Great expectations? Yeah, probably. The first trailer was one of my favorites of the year and one I watched multiple times in a single sitting. Rookie director Rupert Sanders had previously put together one of my favorite live-action video game trailers ever for Halo 3: ODST. And maybe I still couldn’t get over the BS notion that Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is the potential hotness threat to Charlize Theron’s evil queen? C’mon! (Okay, discounting inner beauty or whatever.)
Regardless, I liked Snow White and the Huntsman. With exquisite makeup and beautifully stylized shots reminiscent of Sucker Punch, it is far and away the clear winner over family film
comedy abomination Mirror Mirror, released just a few months ago, in every single aspect. Even the mildly silly dwarfs are superior in Snow White and the Huntsman, as they’re not merely comic relief and look perfectly natural (Lord of the Rings‘ hobbits style) despite being embodied by established actors like Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, and Eddie Marsan.
Despite the title, Charlize Theron absolutely owns the movie. Last seen as a devilishly delightful former prom queen in Young Adult, her power-hungry queen in Snow White and the Huntsman doesn’t just consume your attention; the Academy Award winner devours it. Too bad you don’t get enough of her, but good thing she’ll be back on the big screen very soon in next week’s Prometheus.
After a strong start that showcases Theron’s commanding onscreen presence by providing a captivating backdrop to her memorable villainess’ origin, the movie shifts gears and mainly follows the two eponymous characters, played by Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart and Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth as they run around in a magical forest. Unfortunately, the middle act of the film lags here relative to the movie’s more thrilling bookends. Stewart’s typical brooding acting is basically an accented version of Bella, and Hemsworth’s huntsman is similar to his latest character in The Avengers.
I honestly can’t tell you exactly what happens in the middle act. It was a bit of tease: an action sequence would start, and then it would end too soon. In addition, there were some incredibly random moments, one of which actually made me utter “WHAT THE F@&#?!?” out loud. If I had been sippin’ on something, it would’ve been sprayed everywhere onto the dude in front of me. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what parts I’m talking about. Was there some theme here that I missed?
But overall, Snow White and the Huntsman is a C+ movie that gets a little (biased) boost because it just looked so damn good (not just talking about Charlize), and this is coming from somebody who’s not into the fantasy genre. Sure, 3D would’ve been a nice addition, but I suppose there wasn’t enough crazy eye-popping content to warrant a full-length conversion. The film obviously focused on being visually fairest of them all, and in that regard, it wowed. Snow White and the Huntsman gets 3 out of 5 stars or B- or Good.