Jungle
Snow White & The Huntsman

Snow White & The Huntsman

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Jun 01, 2012
Grade:
B
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 7 Minutes
BOTTOM LINE:

Jaw dropping visuals and great acting will make Snow White & The Huntsman an easy sell for anyone looking for an epic adventure.

A fine meal consists of three portions. Generally you start off with an appetizer, something like bread or chips. Nothing to fill anyone up. Just enough to wet the palate. Then, we move on to the main course: Steak, beef, chicken, etc. This is what everyone came for, the main attraction. It's not only the taste of the food, but also the filling nature of it. It leaves the consumer happy and fulfilled. But then comes the dessert. A sugary treat that compliments the previous portions in the right way, but not to distract the attention away from the main focus. All together, they form a perfect meal that everyone desires. But what happens when the dessert is brought out prior to the main course? Well, just ask Mirror Mirror, the sugary mediocre Snow White adaptation that failed to win over audiences. They underwent some harsh criticism, including that the story of Snow White shouldn't be adapted to something different. There's just one thing the starving critics haven't thought of: The main course hadn't arrived yet. 

Snow White & The Huntsman is that main course.

Losing her mother at an early age, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) was told she embodied true beauty and brought happiness throughout the land. But once a mysterious woman, Ravenna (Charlize Theron), wins the heart of Snow's father, that happiness seems to fade. The sudden assassination of the King leads to Ravenna being named as Queen, with her first notion being to banish Snow White to the north tower for life. Once Snow has reached the age of 17, Queen Ravenna seeks out her heart to not only become the fairest of them all, but immortal to boot. Snow plans an escape and heads for shelter inside the Dark Forest. Knowing that her magic has no grounds in that land, Ravenna sends a drunkard huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to retrieve her step-daughter in return to bring back the huntsman's dead wife. The huntsman heads into the forest to find the young girl, but has no idea of what is in store for him. 

Snow White & The Huntsman is a different breed than Mirror Mirror or many other films at that. The tone that director Rupert Sanders chose is what will win audiences over in the theaters: Dark with a sense of unforgiving nature spell out the world that Snow and Ravenna inhabit. We're used to hearing the evil queen mention the necessity of Snow White's heart. Yet, watching Ravenna eat the hearts of 4 or 5 birds gives one a different picture than we previously imagined. Obviously, this causes some great imagery for the dark forest, displaying anywhere from giant bridge trolls to tree gargoyles. The scenery of this world is beautiful, yet terrifying. There is a specific scene where Snow and her band of misfits walk through an enchanted meadow that will drop jaws. The CGI is some of the best I've seen in recent memory. With the necessary work to transform regular sized men into 3 foot dwarves and create a fairy infested garden, Sanders has really created a rich, lavish world for his characters to work within. Yet, the scenery isn't the only quality of the film that stands out.

The characters of SW&TH aren't the most complicated of folk. Wanting to rule due to an unfortunate past, losing faith in the world after watching your true love die. They are simple character arches, yet the connection given to each character to the other makes a fine system of complimenting each other. Ravenna's evil nature taking advantage of the weak, easily-controlled mind of the huntsman to fetch the fighting-sitting-down Snow White is just one of the many examples that make the film so easy to pull off. Even with these arches, Sanders has something under his sleeve. His ace in the hole: The dwarves. It already helped having an excellent cast of actors to portray the rebel bandits (Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone), but using their personalities to utilize every great aspect of the script proves that Sanders had enough faith in these half-pint heroes to label them as his winning stallion. The story does drag a bit, due to a decreasingly interesting script, only to be picked back up by the 8 (yes, 8) vigilantes who actually kick the script back into high gear with their disagreements and humor. 

With a great vision and great characters to boot, what isn't to enjoy about the feature debut for Rupert Sanders? The stone faced elephant in the room would have to be Kristen Stewart playing Snow White. Stewart gives the best acting performance I've seen her do, but it's still not enough to match her up with her great co-stars. Then again, pinning her up against Charlize Theron and making her tag along with the God of Thunder himself Chris Hemsworth wasn't the best idea to display how Stewart can hold her own. It may not have helped that both Hemsworth and Theron are in top form here and make for some great moments together. Stewart was an obvious choice, in part to the obvious crossover of Twilight fans checking out the film. Perhaps this was one of the reasons Universal gave such a large project to a first time feature film director. But it's hard not to be happy with the outcome when we're introduced to an obvious talent like Sanders. 

Evil dark creatures, a heart-eating queen and wise cracking dwarves are enough to win me over, but jaw dropping visuals and great acting will make Snow White & The Huntsman an easy sell for anyone looking for an epic adventure. So put on those bibs, get those knives ready and get ready to wash away the sugary taste of dessert: Dinner is served. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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