Pietro's Movie Review: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Published: May 31, 2012 - 8:51am
A fun action film filled with beautiful cinematography and wonderful performances highlighted by Charlize Theron at the pinnacle of fairytale evil. Though it may be too frightening for smaller children, Snow White and the Huntsman is a most enjoyable romp for anyone seeking heavy handed action beats and a bit of fantastical whimsy with their popcorn.
I'd been excited to see Snow White and the Huntsman since its cast appeared at last year's San Diego Comic Con to debut the first few promotional images. As a kid I used to dive into every fairy tale story that didn't shy away from dark overtones, particularly those credited to The Brothers Grimm, so having a big budget summer action film that seemed to take itself seriously and not worry about a PG rating is naturally right up my alley. After months of clips, production stills and trailers for this film my anticipation grew but so did my hesitation; but I'm very happy to say that Snow White and the Huntsman is just as satisfying as I could have hoped.
Charlize Theron proves once again why she is one of the most in demand actresses out there with her haunting turn as Ravenna, a wicked woman with a penchant for dark magic that gruesomely kills her husband to usurp his throne. Theron is used almost as a living set piece by director Rupert Sanders, who capitalizes on her ability to quietly immerse herself in every rich scene including her interactions with the fabled talking mirror (personified by a figure cloaked in gold cloth) to her explosive transformations into a flock of ravens.
Kristin Stewart continues to distance herself from her Twilight roots with a surprisingly thoughtful and wonderfully action-oriented performance, taking the opportunity to showcase the acting range so many critics unjustly claim she lacks. Chris Hemsworth adds a wallop of gravitas to a role that, if going only by the dialogue, wasn't written into the script. His chemistry with Stewart is playful yet morose, and his solo moments of pensiveness balance out the much expected burly violence he delivers in spades.
Another great treat is the inclusion of the band of dwarfs. While this year's other fairy tale film Mirror Mirror forcibly made them into groan-worthy comedy relief, Snow White and the Huntsman crafts them as illustrious and individually interesting characters. This is no small part to the casting behind the roles, including Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Nick Frost and Bob Hoskins are the standouts. Unfortunately it isn't under we're far into the story that we meet this troupe; which is understandable since, much like Theron's evil queen in the first half of the film, they manage to steal every scene they're in.
Aside from the underused dwarfs, my only main issue with the film is it's overuse of narration. While some productions are able to utilize this expository tool with finesse, others (like Snow White) slather it on heavy handed in an effort to deepen the story. It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story but, while I understand this has a lot to do with budgetary constraints, I do wish they had spent a few more minutes actually showing some of the events they decided to simply describe instead. What we are shown, though, is stunning. Most of the time it feels like watching a impressionist painting writhing in front of your face. I can't remember a film that used contrasting color tones as much and as skillful as this production to add layer upon layer to its environment.
If you need one reason above all to watch Snow White and the Huntsman it's Theron, who I believe delivers the best female lead performance of the year to date. The downside of this is that when she is not center stage, the film tends to lose the bulk of it's emotional weight. But what those scenes may lack in depth they absolutely make up for in artistic beauty and glorious action. Snow White is a much needed dose of fantastical, escapist moviegoing with just the right amount of soul to leave you both smiling and satisfied.
In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.
The breathtaking new vision of the legendary tale is from Joe Roth, the producer of Alice in Wonderland, producer Sam Mercer (The Sixth Sense) and acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist Rupert Sanders.
Snow White and the Huntsman stars Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Noah Huntley, Lily Cole, Sam Spruell and Liberty Ross. Playing the dwarfs are Ian McShane as the group's leader Caesar, Toby Jones will take on the role of the timid Claudius, Bob Hoskins will play the blind Constantine, and Eddie Izzard will portray the burly Tiberius. Ray Winstone , Eddie Marsan (as twins Trajan and Hadrian) and Stephen Graham (who is set for the grumpy dwarf Nero) round out the troupe which will also feature a mysterious eighth dwarf. Rupert Sanders will be directing the Joe Roth produced film which Universal Pictures has scheduled for theatrical release on June 1st, 2012.