I had heard many mixed reviews before finally deciding to watch this film. I also have a strong aversion to Kristen Stewart through experience of her "acting". However, the trailer looked impressive and Charlize Theron's character looked interesting, so I gave it a gamble.
The film is a darker more sinister adaptation on the Snow White tale. However, I haven't read the original Grimm story, so I can't give a comparison to this reworking. The film begins with the story of a king who, after a turn of sorrowful events with his first wife, remarries a beautiful woman named Ravenna (Charlize Theron).
Ravenna is revealed to be an evil witch and murders him thus elevating her position to ruling queen of the land. Most of the king's subjects are slaughtered and the fleeing survivors are forced to take refuge in hiding. Snow White (Kristen Stewart),
the king's young and only daughter, is imprisoned within the castle where she grows up alone and without hope.
Years later, as a young woman, Snow succeeds in finally escaping from her captivity but is chased into the dreaded Dark Forest. Ravenna, upon discovering Snow's disappearance, hires a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to apprehend her. The huntsman soon locates the runaway, but finds out the truth and instead sides with the princess. With the help of some unlikely allies they seek to take back the kingdom from the evil Ravenna and restore peace for all.
I have a theory that movies tend to come out in pairs. For example, Armageddon and Deep Impact, Volcano and Dante's Peak, and recently Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror. Despite my following criticisms of this film, it was by far superior to the appalling debacle that was Mirror, Mirror. No-one should have to sit through such horrendously bad "cinema". Shame on you Tarsem Singh!
I thought Snow White and the Huntsman was a good effort, although not perfect. The acting was probably the most troubling. Compared to other fantasy films like Lord of the Rings or even The Neverending Story, the acting was just very mediocre. Chris Hemsworth's accent alternated between his Thor accent to a very badly imitated Scottish accent. I was also very disappointed by Charlize Theron's performance, which was marred by erratic transitions from whispers to screams. Kristen Stewart surprisingly was alright, probably her best role to date, which isn't saying a lot. Although in one scene, involving a motivational speech, Stewart came across as forced and weak.
A lot of the acting could also be blamed on the poor script. The dialogue was pretty uninspiring throughout, with no gripping moments. It seems that the film relied on other means to validate its delivery.
The general production of the film was meritorious. The visual effects themselves made up for the inferior acting and script. Some of the CGI scenes were amongst the most realistic and original I have ever witnessed. The creature design was also conceptually fresh with equally fantastic sound design. The sound throughout was marvellous, enhancing the atmosphere, whether it be dark and unwelcoming or murky and dripping or lush and bountiful. I liked the ceramic sounds associated with Ravenna's enchanted knights or the crow and tar sounds attached to Ravenna in one poignant scene. The costumes too were perfect, creating a convincing fairy tale universe.
The movie in its entirety was an entertaining watch but not a
fantasy masterpiece. The acting and script let it down drastically. However, the production in terms of costumes, set design, visual effects, sound and score were of the highest calibre. I can imagine film students wanting to get into either of those fields would rate this movie pretty high. I give credit to Rupert Sanders for his directorial debut and look forward for his next effort. I thought Snow White and the Huntsman was fun. I'd give it a 6 out of 10.
Directed by Rupert Sanders. Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone etc.