Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) can probably best be summed up as a Willow for the 21st century. Here is a film that had the potential to be, if not great, at least tolerable and utterly failed.  Instead, it is another film in which random plot elements from other stories were put in a blender and what came out was passed off as a plot.

Plot: Through magic, deceit,  and a little old fashioned murder an evil Queen, takes over a kingdom and imprisons Snow White, the princess, in the dungeons for several years. Snow White escapes and is eventually aided by the huntsman, who had been hired to kill here. Several mostly boring scenes that do little to advance the plot occur then happily the movie ends.

The Fair: The cinematography, costumes, and art direction were all at least adequate. The special effects were well executed, though often poorly conceived (The T2 style "liquid metal" magic mirror, for example). The score was pleasant, but too subdued for the film. Charlize Theron was fine in the rather limited role of evil queen.

The Bad: Everything else. Really. The casting, acting, plot, direction, and logic were all abysmal.

The worst among the cast was easily Kristen Stewart, who lately seems to have a grand total of one facial expression - constipated.  It this this film, she hits a new low, displaying the emotional range of the average zombie in The Walking Dead. Realizing that Stewart is pleasant looking, but hardly the "fairest" of them all, the film suggests that "fairest" is an inner beauty.  This works for Snow White but that would mean Ravenna, the self-centered, sadistic evil queen had the second most inner beauty of the women in the kingdom.   An extreme, though unintentional, anti-feminist statement that would be too much even for a John Norman fan. Of course the first women they meet are nowhere near as bad as the queen so even this meaning of "fairest" doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Less problematic, though not much better, is the is Chris Hemsworth, who has recently been fairly good as Thor and George Kirk, here comes across as a naive, depressed, mumbling, Aragorn wannabe. Perhaps his acting was influenced by Stewart.

Other than being rather slow and boring, the worst remaining problem is that so much of the film seems like padding and does nothing to advance the plot.  Meeting the magical deer in the forest is clearly pointless as there is no need to prove that she is "the one." She is the daughter of the murdered king and heir to the throne, regardless of rather a stag bows to her or not. 

And like Willow, the film borrows just a little to heavy from other stories.  The aforementioned deer scene is far to close to scene in Legend where Lili meets the unicorns to be coincidental.  Snow White being "the one" will be quite familiar to fans of Harry Potter and her "Who will stand with me? Who will be my Brother?" speech is a watered down version of the St. Crispin's day speech from Henry V "For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother"  Normally swiping from Shakespeare is a good idea, but when everything is swiped from better films/stories this just makes matters worse.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10.  Don't waste your time on it.


Victoria said...

Thanks for the review! I've been curious to see what others think about this movie, especially because of Kristen Stewart. I am not a fan of hers at all, so that's pretty much why I was not interested in wasting my money in the theaters. You’re not the only one I’ve come across either who has those thoughts about her either. A few of my coworkers at DISH did say the film is at least worth a rental because of the CGI and costumes, so with those reasons I've decided to give it a try. I’ll get it in the mail from my Blockbuster @Home package in a couple of days to see what all the buzz about. I can’t tell if I’m excited about seeing it just yet or nervous it’s worse than I imagine lol. :)

Dave Tackett said...

Thanks for commenting. Hopefully you enjoy it more than I did, and if not, at least seeing it from Blockbuster@Home is much cheaper than buying the blu-ray.