We’re not short on the reinvention of age old fairy tales on both the big and small screens right now, and if you love the story of Snow White you are swamped right now. So does Snow White & The Huntsman have anything going for it that means you should pay it any attention? In a nutshell it doesn’t. While an interesting take on the tale with some wonderful creature design, this version is a long, sleep inducing, borefest with few redeeming qualities. The film avoids my worst rating of one star purely for its produciton quality, creature design, and the talents of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth.
In this version of the fairy tale the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) murders the king shortly after their marriage and imprisons his daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in a tower. When the Queen seeks immortality by consuming her still beating heart Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest. The Queen has no power in the forest and so forces a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into the woods to find her in exchange for bringing his wife back from the dead. It’s a much darker take on the original fairy tale, but it’s so poorly executed that you could be excused for dismissing any originality out of hand.
Right from the beginning the film is void of any charisma, it’s slow and without any sense of purpose. Unfortunately it gets worse as the film progresses. There is no character development outside of token segments that are void of anything interesting or revealing. Characters don’t really converse with each other in any depth either, they merely speak exposition to the audience. In a good story, the audience can work things out by taking in the characters and their actions. In this film, there are no actions to understand, it’s just an endless series of statements about what’s going on.
Theron and Hemsworth do their best to bring a sense of depth to their characters and they both achieve a sense of being in a film devoid of any sense of what it is. It’s a pity neither of them is given much material to bring any life to the production. I also need to mention Stewart who gets a bad rap for her roles in theTwilight movies, she’s quite decent here. I am not sure about her appeal as thefairest in the land, but at times she shows a presence I thought she wasn’t able to achieve.
The films highlight however are the creature design and special effects, they are utterly amazing. From the Troll to the fairy sanctuary, this world is a wonderous place full of things I’ve never seen. It’s the kind of visual treats that a film like this doesn’t deserve to achieve. Clearly the film makers have a great eye for it, but it makes you wonder how they can get those things so right and fail so completely at almost everything else.
Snow White & The Huntsman as a concept has a lot going for it, and on paper I have no doubt it looked a winner. The reality of it however is far from something worth paying for. My wife fell asleep around the middle of the movie, when she woke up asked what she had missed, I said “well nothing really” … I do have to add however, as I left the cinema a man behind me mentioned to his partner that he really enjoyed the movie. I don’t get it, but to be fair, at least someone enjoyed it.