Snow White and the Huntsman
Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Clafis
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Guest reporter Viv says this edgy fairytale movie is pretty to look at, but suffers from too many plot holes.
In a contest of beauty it would be impossible to weight Theron or Stewart over each other, but it's unclear what beauty Snow White and The Huntsman examines.
Sanders’s film adds a feminist kick to the classic Brothers Grimm fable, but a cryptic script and wandering plotlines result in an unsatisfying piece. The first in a sweeping Hollywood trend of edgy fairy tale revamps - Bryan Singer’s next film, Jack the Giant Killer, follows the trend - SW&TH is a bouquet of breath-taking imagery.
Kristen Stewart is the titular Snow White, who neither dismisses or gratifies Twilight critics with a passable performance as a feisty princess who makes her escape from her stepmother's clutches. Beside her, Charlize Theron as the evil queen Ravenna steals the spotlight with her emotionally portrayed, recognisably human flaws and suggested misandrist preoccupations.
After a pivotal escape, the unnamed Huntsman (Hemsworth, better known to audiences as Marvel's recent Thor) is summoned by the Queen in order to recover her wayward daughter. Hemsworth’s decent Scottish accent and rugged charm imbue an otherwise flat character with charm, and he excels in the delivery of lines that run close to cliched.
The premise of a princess, lush romantic forestry, and the casting of Stewart acts like a charm to entice the Twilight-loving demographic that this film targets, therefore the appearance of a snag in the burgeoning romance is no surprise. William (Claflin), Snow White’s childhood friend, acts as the foil to Hemsworth’s rugged and uncouth bond with the princess. Regardless, the attractive trio fail to act upon what is implied: they remain as chaste as the snow after which Stewart’s character is named, the kisses they trade merely perfunctory and taken as prophetic symbolism rather than fodder for fangirls.
Perhaps the most significant issue with SW&TH is the lack of follow-on from its ambitious promises. Snow White is cast as the centre of a prophecy (or a number of prophecies - it's never really made clear). Billed as "the one to end the darkness" and "life itself", Snow White blunders through the film. From receiving a blessing from unnamed, magical creature to possessing a heart of desirable properties, there's no end to the premise of the princess as something radically significant.
The film calls for an immense suspension of disbelief, though, when it's revealed that, despite having been imprisoned for near half her life, Snow White is capable of fighting with a sword, leading an army and comprehending the prophecies and mission that have led her and her stepmother to this situation.
The most disappointing lack of follow-up is centered around Ravenna, arguably the most interesting character in the movie. While the audience is treated to a brief flashback of Ravenna's life as a child, her hatred of men, kings, and their place over women frustrates more than it evokes sympathy given that no explanation is provided to as why she feels this way.
Sanders's choice to pad out the film with CGI and moody settings means that character and plot are sacrificed in a meandering tale. Part aspiring feminist tale, part puzzling re-reading of the original fairytale, there's no denying that SW&TH certainly is a daunting, morally-charged movie that paints a picture of an engrossing world, but then it leaves it there. A sequel should be anticipated: whether Sanders chooses to answer the many unresolved questions brought up in the first movie or to stretch out the vague mysticism is another matter.
2 and a half out of 5.
Like this review? Want to write one like it? Check out our Get Published on Youth Central page to find out how!
For more movie and theatre reviews, check out our Reviews Archive.