SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012)
DIRECTOR: Rupert Sanders
STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin
And so we have our second attempt at the famous Grimm Story, Snow White. Though this time it has gone down more of the Game of Thrones/Lord of The Rings route than the family friendly Mirror, Mirror from earlier in the year.
So, has it succeeded? Does it live up to the hype?
The film has everything going for it. An A-list cast of Theron, Hemsworth and Stewart. The producers are behind the Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland. The source material is much darker than the Disney version that we all grew up with, yet for me… it failed.
The film starts off well enough, giving you the backstory of how the Wicked Queen, named Ravena, came to worm herself into the kingdom. It’s an interesting spin and shows you how ruthless this woman really is.
We fast forward a few years and see that Ravena has imprisoned Snow White in the North Tower. We never find out why throughout the whole film. In the Disney animated feature at least she was used as a servant and in Mirror, Mirror it was due to the fact that the Wicked Queen was sitting as Regent till Snow came of age. This film never really explains why. Ravena is even asked why she didn’t kill her when she was a child.
And so Snow makes her daring escape after finding out the queen literary wants her heart on a plate. It’s all rather fast paced and very edge of your feet stuff. When Snow reaches the Black Forrest, it begins to resemble a very bad trip on some LSD. It’s never fully explained but it is hinted that the black ash is the reason why Snow hallucinates that there are lots of ghouls and creatures that are attacking her.
It is here we meet the Huntsman of our tale, who is blackmailed into going after Snow. From the moment the two pair up, after Snow pleads for him to help her, the pace slows. Most of the time is about the two of them trudging through the forest with a few set pieces to try to keep your interest. A couple of them did, but for me the filmmaker really did drag it out too long. There is only so long you can stay connected as two people trudge through a forest.
When we finally get to the famous poisoned apple scene, there was a really nice twist. Not to spoil it too much, but how the Wicked Queen gets Snow to eat the apple is very clever. Though I have to admit I already knew the twist on the whole kiss thing to awaken Snow White from her slumber.
When the group, including the huntsman, the dwarfs who they have picked up on the way after the dwarves high jacked them in order to get a debt from the huntsman, and our “Prince Charming”, the dukes’ son, take Snow’s body to the keep of her late father’s allies, the film seemed to take a very dramatic right turn.
It almost felt like two different films had been glued together. We have this young girl, who was imprisoned from a very young age, suddenly taking charge of an army. I mean, come on! The only battle training she has had is a move the huntsman showed her in the forest. And as for her call to arms, all I can say is that she is no Tyrian Lannister (All you Game of Thrones fans will know what I’m talking about…. Blackwater!)
The movie shifts gears and becomes a swords and horses film, with Snow and her army storming the castle. We know how it will end, but by then I just wanted it to end. My bum was numb and I couldn’t help but compare the film to other shows and films in the same genre.
As for the cast, well they were average to say the least. The only person who was slightly above average was Charlize Theron, but even then there could have been so much more to the character.
Kristen Stewart is not a strong actress in my opinion and this role does nothing to change my mind. I do give her credit for keeping her accent most of the time, with only one slip into slightly Irish. For me she can’t seem to connect with the camera. Her wide eyed, vacant look really begins to grate and when she has to step up and play the strong heroine, she misses the mark.
Then there is Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Ah Hemsworth, Hemsworth, Hemsworth. It seems that you had enrolled in the Russell Crowe School of Accents for this role. He slipped from Yorkshire to Australian to something else entirely. I loved him in Thor and The Cabin in the Woods, but in this he was very poor.
One final note, there is supposed to be a love triangle between the Huntsman, Snow White and The Duke’s son. There is no chemestry between any of the characters and it all seemed to fall really flat. I didn’t cheer for any of them.
Overall, this film shows you how programs like Game of Thrones have spoiled us in this Genre. Where it manages to cram in so much plot development and has characters who you really can invest in, Snow White fails on so many levels. The film is very much style over substance and without the pull of Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart, I don’t think it would be as successful.