Snow White and the Huntsman Directed by: Rupert Sanders Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Nick Frost Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: June 1, 2012
PLOT: An Evil Queen (Theron) wants Snow White (Stewart) dead, so she sends a huntsman (Hemsworth) to bring her back. The queen didn't count on him protecting her, and now Snow White wants to take back her father's kingdom.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you've ever watched Disney's classic animation movie of the same inspiration and dreamed that the dwarfs were involved in medieval battle scenes against a milk-bathing Theron, here you go, weirdo. Unless you're fine with large dosages of Stewart and/or Hemsworth, you'll be bored with the lack of thrill this wannabe spectacle has to offer. Adoration for the power of Theron is not going to be enough to successfully get through this one.
EXPECTATIONS: I didn't catch the previous "Snow White" adaptation Mirror Mirror, so you won't be hearing any comparison from me. With Stewart in the title role alongside Hemsworth's Huntsman, I assumed this would be like the fidgety parts of Twilight ... mixed with grayer Thor-like action?
Kristen Stewart as Snow White: Aside from accusations related to preference of appearance, Stewart has the vulnerability aspect of Snow White down, but can't transition the character to be the strong fighter this movie wants to turn her into. We can accept Stewart playing a young woman fearfully running around the woods with dirt on her face, but when she is suited up trying to give raucous inspiring speeches, such attitude falls on non-believing ears. Score: 4
Charlize Theron as Ravenna: Theron makes this her show, and then the movie steals it away from her. Theron rocks this flick like it's her audition for Step-Mommie Dearest in the first act, looking both "the fairest" on the outside, but screaming all levels of "crazy" and "evil" externally. With her wide trembling eyes, she says of her destructive reign as an evil queen, "Am I not kinder?" In terms of sheer talent this is a seducing role from Theron who raises the psychotic state of this classic character to something chilling. Score: 7
Chris Hemsworth as Huntsman: After two movies dressed up as comic Norse god Thor and now this, the charm of Hemsworth carrying a big weapon and a wise-ass ruffian attitude is starting to lose its muscle. Of all of Hemsworth's movies in the past two years (of which there have been maybe 3,000), this is his most boring role for it how it knocks him back to character basics, and then ditches him. Aside from a weepy monologue in the third act, the Huntsman does no good to helping Hemsworth's potential of becoming more than Dial-A-Hero. Score: 4
Rest of Cast: Yes, this version of Snow White brings the dwarf characters back into the fray, but they're not Sleepy, Grumpy, etc. Instead, these are very similar-looking gruffy mini-Hobbits played by recognizable actors - Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, and Toby Jones. Despite amusingly having their heads placed on smaller bodies and being used for comic relief, these supporting actors aren't able to make this movie feel any faster. While their technical aspects don't slack, the script still doesn't make a strong enough case that we need them in this different vision of the story. Score: 4
TALKING: Aside from some curious statements by Theron's Raveena that might stir up a Slate.com feminist breakdown or two, dialogue is highly superfluous to this story; it's got such obvious visuals it could probably play out as a silent film. When characters do speak for more than a few sentences, it does cause this thing to drag. The second act of Snow White and the Huntsman is fixated on hyping up Snow White's relevance as a messiah, which becomes so overdone you'll think that the dwarfs believe she can dodge bullets. Hemsworth offers a high quality "That's What She Said" line when offering stabbing advice to Snow White, which might be funny but still doesn't save the chit-chat of Huntsman from being basically useless. Score: 3
SIGHTS: Though it pulls off the "hobbit" effects with believable ease (except for Toby Jones, who is at his natural height ha ha ha!) the lackluster problems of Snow White can be found in its battle sequences. Despite having a lot of extras riding on horses and crashing into each other, (and rich cinematography) these big battles are bland with unsurprising choreography and lack of interal tension. Even a final showdown between Ms. White and Ms. Witch lacks any jolting energy. In essence, this is the type of action movie where scenes sharply turn their dramatic course because someone just had to get fatally poked by an arrow. This happens at least twice. Score: 6
SOUNDS: The score by James Newton Howard seems tempted to break the classic atmosphere of its score with rockin' guitars (or maybe that's just me, and my memories of the movie's goofy trailer). The centerpiece of the Snow White and the Huntsman soundtrack is "Breath of Life" by Florence + The Machine, which sounds like angry Enya. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: I love that moment when Ravenna asks her weirdo brother, "Am I not kinder?" When has the evil queen ever been so conflicted?
ENDING: There's no tag or opening for a sequel, which is slightly surprising. Regardless, this is a the definition of an unsatisfying climax. This movie ends with one of the weirdest closing shots since that Channing Tatum movie The Eagle.
REWATCHABILITY: I'm not sure this movie could improve upon a second viewing. I'd watch it to study Theron, but the rest of it is so disappointing I'd probably dislike this movie even more.
Snow White and the Huntsman is the weakest kind of bad fantasy movie that inspires no sense of wonder. It leaves you cold, despite its attempts to fashion up a love triangle and big action sequences, all while following the recognizable supports of the "Snow White" story arc. The script simply isn't smart enough to pack all of these elements into a two-hour movie without having them undermine each other. Even the action of the movie is as dull as the forced and unromantic chemistry between Hemsworth and Stewart.
If anything, the wonder that this movie does create is the thought of how much better it would be if evil queen Theron were given more prowess in this story; how much she'd be able to save an otherwise murky movie from its title characters with more than just her brief moments of delicious darkness.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10