Sunday, 28 August 2016

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (film) was an exciting, dark retelling that almost worked but for its loopholes

Cast: Kristen Stewart; Charlize Theron; Chris Hemsworth; Sam Clafin. 
Year: 2012. 
Director: Rupert Sanders. 
Source: Bought. 
Content Rating: PG 13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality. 


In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Confession: I loved this movie. It certainly wasn't perfect and it didn't get a great reception from the general public when it first came out, but I thought it was an exciting fantasy with Charlize Theron shining as the fantastically evil Queen. 

The dialogue is admittedly simple, unoriginal, and predictable. The plot moves on weak twists and turns, and there are a few loopholes (like, how does Ravenna know where to find Snow White at the end? Wouldn't it have saved her a lot less screaming and swirling round frantically in her gorgeous gowns if she'd just traced her at the start?). But anyway. The story had to wait for its certain moments, I guess. 

The cinematography is decent but unoriginal, yet the whole movie does have a lovely Gothic atmosphere; ranging from haunted forests to dilapidated towns and fairytale clearings and meadows. (And of course, little fairies who emerge from birds and look like baby Gollums.) The scenery is beautiful, and the scene where Snow White jumps off the cliff into the ocean (not the first time Kristen Stewart's done that, I might mention: *cough*Twilight*cough*) shows gorgeous rolling waves and freezing pleasure that I'm sure Stewart wasn't feeling in her character's moment, but I as the audience certainly did. The action is epic and exciting (ultimately satisfying) but it does unfortunately come out a bit too episodically; it's there because it's exciting, yes, but it could've have been better fitted into the story, and have had more resulting twists and consequences/rewards. 

The acting is solid, and - with the exception of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth - nothing special. Kristen Stewart mirrors Twilight's Bella Swan a few times, but she's definitely improved since that Saga, and her acting at least reaches her eyes this time. She's not awful, but definitely not amazing; she's not a perfect Snow White but she's decent and pulls off the damsel-in-distress come raging fighting Princess (which, by the way, isn't entirely convincing in itself; considering most of her life has been spent in an isolated tower - and that little knife practice with the Huntsman could not have gone a long way…) pretty well. 

That being said, Snow White IS a bit too much of a damsel-in- distress. Her capable fighting in the last climatic battle seems to come out of no real training, but at least her fight scene with Ravenna has her being believably weaker. She might be a damsel-in-distress, but of course – like most damsels - she has to get in her little bit of bonding with animals; which I THINK is supposed to prove that she actually has value as a person?! After all, a Princess without some sort of sweet or redeeming trait isn't gonna win any dwarfs' hearts, and what way better way to get the poor people's support than by letting her blood ties secure her an unquestioning place in everyone's hearts; except, apparently, her dear stepmother.) Let's face it, Snow being the Princess gets her a long way, whether she's deserving of such protection/support or not. 

Chris Hemsworth is brooding as hard as he possibly can, obviously, but he works as a believable hunk of a Huntsman who's taken to drinking after the death of his wife. His acting is solid, consistent, and excellent. He fits the character, and despite a few seemingly forced dark expressions, Hemsworth is very good in his role. 

Sam Clafin gives a good portrayal of Snow's childhood friend; the character itself is admittedly clichéd, but Clafin acts well and overall gives a strong performance. Not to mention, he's also more eye candy for the fans of Finnick Odair. 

Then there's Charlize Theron. She's an awesome force of wickedness, portraying the evil Queen perfectly and giving the character all the force and cruelness she possibly can. It's a pure delight to see Ravenna swirl about the castle – her creepy and very disturbing brother hanging at her side - and having some deliciously glorious screaming tantrums. Theron is excellent in her role, and honestly, was there ever a chance of Kristen Stewart's Snow White outshining Charlize's Ravenna in beauty? I didn't think so. But that's the fault of casting Kristen, not Charlize. 

Overall, it was a thrilling, exciting fantasy, with brilliantly strong performances from everyone except Stewart. The plot is weak, the script is weak, but the action's good and the film still manages to uphold the original fairytale's magic while adding a darker edge.

I give it: 3 and a half flowers! 

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