The Queen's Been Out Done ... Off With His Head!

Snow White & The Huntsman (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
3 Out of 5 Stars
June 1, 2012
“Do you hear that? It's the sound of battles fought and lives lost. It once pained me to know that I am the cause of such despair. But now their cries give me strength. Beauty is my power.  Lips red as blood, hair black as night, bring me your heart … my dear … Snow … White … hahahahaha!!” 
The darker tone of the 2nd story told in one year, Snow White & The Huntsman brings a more evil and cynical twist on the classic fairy tale.  It’s action packed and full of adventure … or at least it’s made out to be that way. 

Charlize Theron portrays the evil queen Ravenna whose mother put a beauty blessing/curse on her as a child to save her life when her town was invaded from its enemies.  She becomes a power hungry, evil ruler as she takes over kingdoms by overthrowing the king by taking their soul and beauty; comprising her own “beauty” needed for survival.  Only the fairest, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) could replace her as queen as revealed by her precious mirror on the wall that I would’ve liked to have seen some more visual personality from (and that looked like an Asian “gong” and not a fancy mirror to fit in this new twist on the story that the filmmakers were going for).  So Ravenna needs the heart of the daughter of the new king she’s now overthrown to rule this land in this lifetime she’s now ruling within (yeah kind of like Rapunzel).  Snow White’s soul & beauty will give the queen immortality and will no longer need to feed off of the beauty of others.  But Snow White escapes and a “huntsman” (Chris Hemsworth) is called in to retrieve her from the dark forest she’s fled to, but ends up discovering the truth and the two set out on a quest to relinquish the evil queen.

Once that was established in the first act, the movie lost its edge.  It had a great opening tone that kicked off the story and gave the sense of “okay, I like where this is going”.  Then it dragged a bit and had “filler” moments instead of “key plot points”.  Filler moments give the audience a feeling of “this is just kind of going along”; key plot points make us forget everything and intrigue us in this world and this story we’re now apart of.  Throw in some over dramatized, one-dimensional acting from “that Twilight chick”, Kristen Stewart, some CG’d familiar faces on smaller bodies, an over emphasized accent of Charlize Theron, a beautiful score from James Newton Howard, and some pretty good visual effects with the action sequences and you’ve got Snow White & The Huntsman.  Not extremely pathetic like the comedic version of the fairy tale earlier in the year, but FAR from great! 

One of the few good things of the film was Chris Hemsworth.  His Australian decent really helps him in the American film market to portray a different array of characters, especially as of late.  So it’s only natural to sound different with the different characters one portrays.  His Accent is amazing as he adjusts his roots and heritage to the roles he plays.  This is no different with The Huntsman, a widower hunter and warrior of his village who drowns his sorrows in alcohol from the loss of his wife.  I would’ve liked to see more development and back-story in his character, as it’s a key role in the survival of the main story.  This movie may go down in flames but Chris Hemsworth will definitely rise from the ashes as I believe he’s taken away the shine from Charilze Theron, the person we all probably thought would steal the show.  I don’t know, maybe they should’ve given her more screen time then. 

What I thought to be true before and now after seeing the film, about definitely not stealing the show is the acting from Kristen Stewart.  I could write a review on her performance alone!  But to keep it short and sweet, it was the same as it always is, one-dimensional.  A good way to think of it is, if there was a young teen girl lead version of the movie 7 Pounds, she might just do an amazing job for once!  Instead of using Will Smith, re-write it to use Kristen Stewart, a girl who ALWAYS acts IN EVERY SCENE as if the world is going to end WITH EVERY WAKING BREATH SHE TAKES or with everything that happens, the world WILL end!  I think this role should’ve been cast to someone who holds a more artsy type of beauty to her.  Someone kind of cute even, when we look at her we just think “wow, she portrays an innocent beauty … I like her”.  I would’ve loved to see Amanda Seyfried play this part; it looks like something right up her alley.  The only task would be a convincing fighter side to her that rallies up the troops to lead them against the evil Charlize Theron. 

Overall, this film has its moments that are just a little too fairy tale (no pun intended).  The film comes off as a more realistic, down and dirty version of this story.  Yet some things come off as a studio executive trying to throw his/her 2 cents in because it looks cool and is a good selling point to throw in the trailer or the key art (the posters).  Which a lot of trailer moments are just that, trailer moments, that have absolutely no input in the story to drive it forward, they just … look cool.  Why in the world does Charlize Theron take a bath in white wax-like substance?!

During inception the film probably had great merit, some of which I’m sure carried over into the final cut.  But in the end, Hollywood took over and infiltrated it in fear of non-profit repercussions.  I’m sure before this it was a really good movie.  But as the credits rolled when it was over, I could hear people behind me say, “Yeah it could’ve been a lot better …”

Snow White & The Huntsman
Action & Adventure, 127 Minutes, PG-13
Screen Story by: Evan Daugherty
Screenplay by: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth

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