Review of Snow White and the Huntsman
on 2012-05-31 10:37
Following in the same footsteps as Tim Burtons “Alice in Wonderland”, “Snow White and the Huntsman” aims to turn a classic female fairytale character into a battle-crying version of “Robin Hood”. Not that that’s a bad thing. I can’t wait to see Goldilocks pick up a flamethrower and hunt some bear in a movie real soon.
Charlize Theron takes on the role of the evil queen, who tricks a king, ravages his land, and imprisons his young daughter in a tower. The young girl grows up to be Snow (Kristin Stewart), the lands most fair maiden. (Although I would imagine 9 out of 10 mirrors would choose Theron over Stewart any day.) She manages to escape her confines, forcing the queen to hire a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down and steal her heart, which is the one thing that will give the queen eternal youth. Things of course don’t go as planned.
Visually this all looks pretty good. We meet pixies and trolls and director Rupert Sanders does excellent work with the dark atmosphere (a haunted forest sequence like an lsd nightmare is a highlight) and epic battle sequences. And perhaps the best effect is the one where the heads of familiar character actors are transposed onto smaller bodies, making up the dwarves. This is probably the first and last time anyone will call Ian McShane, Tobey Jones, Bob Hoskins, and Ray Whinstone adorable.
But it’s not enough to cover a very hollow center. Stewart spends most of the movie looking like she’s wondering what to do with herself. Only later do we discover that she’s meant to be both plausible romantic interest (for Hemsworth) and battle-ready leader (ala “Gladiator”), both of which the script by Hossein Amini, John Lee Hancock, and Evan Daugherty has done almost nothing to convince. Theron also just seems to be waiting to bare her teeth in the end. She’s thinly written as a beauty-obsessed witch who spends most of the movie either screeching or writhing over her own aging. But her vindictive iciness does give the flick a needed heartbeat on occasion. As does Hemsworth, providing brawn, grieving heart (he’s a widower), and the few and much-needed humorous moments.
There are a few tasty apples here but ultimately it seems like the screenwriters half-assed, rather than whistled, while they worked.