Review of Snow White and the Huntsman

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Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White in this 2012 film adaptation of the children's fairy tale. In a plot twist, the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron). Also starring Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Sam Claflin and Nick Frost.
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Movie Review: "Snow White and the Huntsman"

--Rating: PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality)
Length: 127 minutes
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Genre: Action/Fantasy

"Snow White and the Huntsman" raises the bar for action-oriented fairy tales in a big way. The focus of the film is action; from flying arrows to swinging swords, there's everything an action junkie could want. At the same time, there's a timeless and compelling story at the heart of everything. In a nutshell, an evil queen has tricked and schemed her way into power. She's used black magic to stay young and beautiful on the outside, but on the inside, she's completely rotten. True, everyone knows the story, but this telling of it is fresh and modern. The movie succeeds in almost every way. Probably the biggest reason for the success of "Snow White and the Huntsman" is its bringing together a talented and energetic cast of characters.

Kristen Stewart's Snow White is more war hero than meek and beautiful princess. When she dons her shining armor near the film's dramatic conclusion, she cuts a deadly figure. A lot of moviegoers are curious as to whether Stewart can grow beyond her role in "Twilight." The answer is a resounding "Yes." Stewart is just as perfect as a modern, tough-as-nails Snow White. This movie definitely makes me want to see her in a bigger variety of roles.

As the Huntsman, Chris Hemsworth does a great job as well. He's mean, gritty and vulnerable all at the same time. We learn a lot of his back-story, which explains why he is the way he is. His story is truly sad, but at least he didn't turn out evil like the Queen Ravenna. There's a spark of love between the Huntsman and Snow White, but we don't see it played out. This isn't a romance, after all-it's action from start to finish.

The first visit to the Dark Forest is a total fright-fest. Snow White breathes in some sort of toxic spores that make her see and hear things that aren't really there. It's easily the scariest part of the film and really sets the mood. I especially loved the bat-like creatures that reached out from the tree trunks. I know if I ever find myself in this forest, I'm holding my breath and closing my eyes tight.
The action sequences in "Snow White and the Huntsman" are absolutely top-notch. You won't get any shaky cam or blurry vision in this film. Instead, there's a crystal clear quality to everything, even the fantastic elements. When a bridge transforms into a troll, it's amazing to see and kind of head scratching, too. I found myself asking, "How'd they do that?" and "Why didn't I see that before?" The great part is that the effects blend in with the film and the scenery. They don't stand out or distract you from the storyline.

Not surprisingly, the real scene-stealer of "Snow White and the Huntsman" is Charlize Theron. When she raises her voice, you are ready to do exactly what she says. I seriously forgot I was watching a movie for a minute. Charlize is one heck of a scary queen. I just hope she doesn't get pigeonholed into the role of mean, scary woman who yells a lot. On the other hand, you actually feel a bit of sympathy for the Queen Ravenna character by the end of the film. She was apparently dealt a bad hand in life. She didn't start out evil.

It was tons of fun to see some great character actors playing the Seven Dwarves, Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins among them. But make no mistake: These dwarves are nothing like the happy and cheerful little people from the Disney cartoon. In fact, Snow White nearly loses her head to them before they realize who she actually is.

The dwarves take Snow White into fairyland, which is sort of the opposite of the Dark Forest. There are flowers made of butterflies, toadstools with eyes and a white stag that turns into hundreds of white birds. It was a nice break from the grey and black colors that make up a lot of the film. As a viewer, you get the chance to take a breath before more action kicks in.

The music in "Snow White and the Huntsman" is pitch-perfect. It's mostly orchestral and really matches the mood just right. The main song for the film is by Florence and the Machine, and they hit the right notes. In this viewer's opinion, the score and soundtrack for this film should be nominated for Oscars.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5