Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Hunstman (2012) – Fairy tales were originally pretty dark. The little mermaid dissolves at the end of her story. Cinderella’s evil step sisters cut off their own toes to try to fit into the prince’s glass slipper. FUCKED-up things happen. (They weren’t named “Grimm” for nothing.) There are two movies this year based on the classic Brothers Grimm story of Snow White. The first was Mirror Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh, the visionary director of the damn good film The Fall and the dumb-but-pretty movies The Cell and Immortals. Despite the rather heavy mood of his previous, Mirror Mirror (which I still haven’t seen) looked to take a more comic approach while it still featured Singh’s elaborate visual style. From the trailers, the more interesting version seemed to be Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s directed by commercial director Rupert Sanders and starts Twilight ingénue Kristen Stewart. Based on that pedigree the temptation is to write the film off as a crass tweenspoitation marketing campaign. Those trailers did have some cool imagery, though, and also featured Academy Award Winner Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. So it seemed like it deserved a chance.

Said evil queen, Ravenna, marries the King (Noah Huntley) shortly after the death of his wife. She murders him on their wedding night and seizes control of the kingdom, locking away the king’s young daughter Snow White (Raffey Cassidy) and ruling with an iron fist alongside her sadistic brother Finn (Sam Spruell). One day, young adult Snow White (Stewart) escape captivity and flees into the feared Dark Forrest. Ravenna and Finn procure the services of a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down but once he realizes that Finn ain’t exactly the deal-keeping type. They flee coming across various people who hate the queen and want to come to Snow White’s aid, because she just has that effect on people. This includes EIGHT dwarves played by digitally shrunk normal-size actors (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Johnny Harris, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and Brian Gleeson). Ravenna’s magic mirror has told her that Snow White is the only one fairer than herself and that to live forever she must consume her still-beating heart, so she’s not quite ready to give up the hunt. Oh also there’s a Duke’s son (Sam Claflin) who is in love with Snow White based on memories from when they were seven. He is more-or-less superfluous to the plot and I see no need to mention him again.

Firstly, I need to address something. I do not hate Kristen Stewart. I hate Twilight. Everyone sucks in Twilight. That includes proven great actors like Michael Sheen, so I’m not going to hold Twilight against anyone in regards to their whole career. I’ve liked Kristen Stewart in movies like Panic Room, Into the Wild, and Adventureland. However, while she is kind of cute she is IN NO WAY “fairer” than goddess-made-flesh Charlize Theron. The movie seems to know this and implies that “kind of cute” plus “INNER beauty” are what it takes to be “fairest of them all.” As such Stewart goes around for 95% of the movie being pretty likable and nice to everyone but not really DOING a damn thing. She’s a passive character (like a certain other Stewart “heroine”) and I’m afraid she’s got to do something very different to dig herself out of Twilight-induced typecasting. Chris Hemsworth is engaging in some scenes and overly serious in other for an uneven performance. He seemed to walk that line much better in Thor. Charlize seems intent of really creating a character out of her underwritten role and of the three leads she does the best. Some of the visuals are pretty cool, but substantively the movie is lacking. Eye candy will only get you so far. This is an okay movie to look at but a tedious one to sit through.

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