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'Snow White and the Huntsman' Movie Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 2 Star Rating (1 Review)

By

Kristen Stewart in 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

Kristen Stewart in 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

© Universal Pictures)
Can we please stick a fork in the Snow White-inspired movies - at least for another dozen years or so? Mirror Mirror served up a campy take on the classic fairy tale and now with Snow White and the Huntsman, we've been given an extremely serious, stunningly gorgeous but chillingly cold version. Where Mirror Mirror was all about the easy jokes and determining how much scenery Julia Roberts was willing to chew as an evil Queen, Snow White and the Huntsman is nearly devoid of humor. What it has in place of laughs is some of the most beautiful CG effects of the year.
So, is Snow White and the Huntsman a better film than Mirror Mirror? Yes, and no. Completely different in approach and tone, Mirror Mirror was Snow White-lite while Snow White and the Huntsman uses every means possible (color palette, score, and dialogue) to deliver a dark and somber take on the fairy tale. Your desire to view a campy comedy versus a swashbuckling adventure will be the deciding factor in the 2012 Snow White battle.

The Basics of the Story:

Snow (Kristen Stewart) has been trapped in a castle since her evil stepmother, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), killed her father and took over her kingdom. Escaping prison on the day the Queen has called for her death, Snow White is tracked down in the Dark Forest by the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who, realizing the Queen's lying when she promised to bring back his dead wife, opts to save Snow rather than turn her over.

The two prove to be a formidable team, and once they meet up with the dwarfs, there's no stopping them. Battles rage, mythical creatures put in appearances, and it turns out Snow White is the savior everyone has been waiting for - the one person who can end the rule of the evil Queen.

The Acting and Bottom Line:

Kristen Stewart has very limited dialogue as Snow White, but what she does deliver is spoken with a passable British accent. And while she never appeared as fierce as director Rupert Sanders likely intended her to come across as the story progressed, Stewart was better here than in the Twilight films. Stewart failed to become the rebel leader figure necessary to sell the dopey inspirational fight speech she was saddled with, and what should have been Snow's big moment turned out to be a real momentum-killer. And, as with the Twilight films, Stewart has zero on screen chemistry with her male co-stars, including Sam Claflin as the prince who's loved her his entire life.

Chris Hemsworth, best known for playing Thor in Thor and The Avengers, did a terrific job of swapping Thor's hammer for an axe and playing the conflicted Huntsman still devoted to his deceased wife. Hemsworth seems at home with larger-than-life characters, and his Huntsman was the character audiences could most emotionally connect with due to his ability to bring this sort of reluctant hero to life.

As for those dwarfs, Rupert Sanders opted not to cast actors of diminutive stature in the roles and instead went with a high-quality crew of recognizable actors to play the roles. Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Brendan Gleeson, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, and Eddie Marsan became the dwarfs via CG magic. These non-dwarfs were seamlessly integrated into scenes, with the only downside to their performances being that they're given far too little to do once they're introduced into the story.

Charlize Theron was obviously intensely committed to making Queen Ravenna into not just a one-dimensional evil caricature but instead a fleshed out troubled - and psychotic - narcissistic woman who places no value on the lives of others. Alternating between cool and collected and a raging evil witch, Theron's performance outshines her co-stars and is the glue that holds the film together.

While the production design is first-rate and the CG effects are spectacular, Snow White and the Huntsman has a sluggish middle act that nearly kills the entire film. Rupert Sanders, making his feature film directorial debut, is apparently aiming for a Lord of the Rings-ish Snow White tale, however he didn't have a script that would allow him to live up to that desire. There's not much actually going on with the story, and the middle of the film suffers because of it.

Snow White and the Huntsman has arresting visuals, but it takes more than fancy effects and gorgeous costumes to make a story this classic and beloved a must-see addition to the collection of fairy tale-inspired films.  Lacking romance, character development, and sluggishly paced, Snow White and the Huntsman is a near miss that had tremendous potential.

GRADE: C+

Snow White and the Huntsman was directed by Rupert Sanders and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.

Theatrical Release: June 1, 2012

This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 2 out of 5
Good but not enough!, Member CardosoC

This movie is a good version for snow white but,there is other better than. Snow white(Kristen stewart) can represent the hero but she doesn't represent the best princess.But who has the attention turned to her is Ravenna(Charlize Theron). Ravenna is an evil stepmother to Snow because she knocked her in the tower and became the queen before The King,Snow's father was killed. Snow white would be better if Rupert Sanders changed the actress .Stewart is'nt a baddly actress in this case but her performance as Snow isn't the best because the princess ,in this case,isn't a ingenous girl but she is courageous. But in another side,the movie is good because has a nice script and scenery : Rupert sanders had constructed a nice representation of the nature and the animals seemed so real

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