Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Dork Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

I very much wanted this to be a good movie, and when you look at it on paper, it should have been. You have Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, both great actors who have proven themselves. You have a classic story that almost everyone is familiar with, and if you believe the trailers then Snow White and the Huntsman was going to be a good dark take on the basic Snow White theme. How could it have failed?

Fair warning, explaining this will involve spoilers, so even after I've said this is a piece of dreck you still want to see it, I'd recommend reading no further.

First point against the movie is that there's no continuity. Things just seem to happen. For example, early on Snow White escapes by slashing at the Queen's evil brother with an iron nail and then locking him in the cell she was held prisoner in for about a decade, then Snow proceeds to sneak away. Before she's out of the castle the evil brother has somehow escaped the cell. No explanation is given; we never see how he gets out. This may not seem like much, but it's the first example of things just happening for no apparent reason. Another good example is later on when Snow White is storming the castle. After she and her troops are in the defenders suddenly remember they have boiling pitch/oil to drop on the attackers. Yes, I know Snow needs to live so that the Queen can take her heart, however, the Queen isn't shown telling the troops this and has been keeping the fact she needs Snow White's heart a secret to everyone but her brother then entire movie!

Next point against the movie, the dwarves are in it far too little (and no that is not a pun). And it's not like they just went out and hired a bunch of random people to play the dwarves. No, they hired the likes of Bob Hoskins and some other really good character actors and then somehow digitally shrunk them to dwarf size. WHY? I would have much rather seen them hire and use unknowns for those roles who fit the physical stature required and had them around for a greater portion of the movie. As it is, when one of them died saving Snow White I didn't care as they'd been around for less than twenty minutes at that point. What's even worse is, the dwarves get one of the best scenes of the movie late in the film as part of storming the castle. Gah!

The third strike against the movie, and I actually feel a bit guilty about this one, is Kristen Stewart. Now, I went in wanting to give her a chance, really I did. I think the Twilight movies are terrible, but that could easily be because their source material is garbage. I wasn't going to hold acting in them against her, and in fact I don't think I've actually seen any movie she's been a major part of, so I could have been really surprised by her performance in Snow White and the Huntsman. Sadly, I was not.

Ms. Stewart does not currently have the acting chops to pull off the role they asked of her. Most of the movie she appears to be dazed and confused, and the one major scene that required her to deliver a moving and motivating speech flopped completely. Really, I was waiting for one of the troops around her to yell out "Why the hell are we following this dumbass?". Sigh. It might have been that Kristen Stewart just didn't have the voice to pull that moment off, or that eventually she might have the skill to do something like it in a later movie, but at this point I probably won't go and see any film she's a major part of. Oh, and in regards to the meme I've seen floating around about Charlize Theron being much "fairer" than Stewart, Kristen actually looks rather beautiful in this film and definitely fits the Snow White template, she just hasn't developed the acting skills to pull off what the part required.

The only person who pulls off a good performance in this movie is Chris Hemsworth. He plays the Huntsman as almost a Han Solo like rogue with a heart of gold. Hollywood seriously needs to find this guy a fantasy trilogy (something non-superhero) to star in as he could pull it off. His acting was of Shakespearean quality and depth. Charlize Theron on the other hand, well, she gives a great performance as I expected but the dialogue they provided her was terrible, and realizing this she went for the whole Jeremy Irons in the Dungeons and Dragons movie route and starting chewing up the scenery. I half expected a scene where she'd be gnawing on the magic mirror.

There are other problems with this movie. The ending was unsatisfying and the whole movie tried to find a balance between reality and fairy tale that just didn't work for me. If you still want to see it then good on you, but I don't hold out much hope you'll enjoy the experience.


  1. Good review K.W. A lot darker and grittier than most fairy tales we see on the big screen, but it worked and gave this film a new edge to it that I think it needed. Story could have had more tension to it though.

  2. Thanks, I have been curious about seeing it, but I think I'll wait until it isn't in the theatre. This is the second review I've read that says this and while that's by no means a scientific sample, the similarities in themes are too strong not to take seriously.

  3. Yeah Bev, this movie is definitely a rental or a download. It's a very pretty movie, but it just didn't have the presence needed for it to be a great movie.

  4. Dtmmr - I agree it was much darker and edgier, but at the same time it tried too hard to fit in some of the lighter fairy-tale elements. If the story had more tension, and if the dwarves had been a bigger part of it, it might have worked, but only because they would have compensated for the screentime given to Kristen Stewart, which is sad as she's one of the three leads. After Twilight's over, unless she's improves or is part of another hit series I don't think she's going to be around for long.