Josh Wilding Reviews: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark re-imagining of the fairy tale that most of you will more than likely only know from the classic Disney animated feature. So, does the team-up between Twilight's Bella and The Avengers' Thor deliver the goods? Find out here.
In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.
Snow White and the Huntsman brings a fair bit of baggage with it. Kristen Stewart is best known for starring in the polarizing Twilight franchise while Chris Hemsworth is instantly recognisable to just about everyone after playing a superhero in the biggest movie of 2012. It is inevitable then that comparisons will be made between Snow White and Bella and Thor and The Huntsman. Well, credit where credit is due as both actors put their own stamp on both of the characters, easily separating them from those mentioned above (even if in Hemsworth's case that involves an occasionally dodgy Scottish accent). You see, it is these impressive performances which save the dark re-imagining of the classic fairy tale from being completely forgettable, despite some very clever twists on some of the classic elements you instantly associate with the tale. In Rupert Sanders' directorial debut, he brings an impressive style to the film, helping to elevate the far from perfect screenplay into a film it's hard to not recommend checking out.
Snow White and the Huntsman is never boring, although it's definitely a bit too long, with a few too many superfluous scenes. The premise is straightforward enough, as Snow White goes on the run from the evil Queen Ravenna (who needs to consume Snow White's heart in order to retain her youth and become immortal) and along the way bumps into the Huntsman, who very quickly goes from hunting to protecting her after realising the Queen is playing him for a fool. Things breeze along rather nicely up until this point, although the middle of the film drags. Unfortunately, the introduction of the
seven eight dwarves adds little humour to proceedings - something Snow White and the Huntsman could have so desperately done with - although it builds to a satisfying and action packed final battle. The screenplay is by no means terrible, but we're ultimately left with an incredibly disappointing conclusion between the two lead characters with only a look (you'll understand when you see it) which annoyingly has, "To be continued in the sequel..." written all over it.
As is mentioned above, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth are fantastic. The latter adds a lot of depth to The Huntsman, and while the similarities to the God of Thunder (one uses an axe; the other a hammer) are inevitable, this is a very different character and everything about him shows that he truly is leading man material. Stewart is stunning as Snow White and thoroughly convincing as both the pretty girl AND warrior. There's a lot more to the actress than Twilight, and it would be a great shame for anyone to dismiss her talents simply due to her being connected to a less than stellar, but extremely successful, franchise. However, it's Charlize Theron who steals the show as Ravenna, the complex and evil Queen who is so much more than your typical one dimensional villain. Sam Spruell is almost equally as impressive as her brother, while Sam Claflin is good (not great) as William. The likes of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan and Toby Jones are wasted as the dwarves who ultimately add very little to the film. Do we need a sequel or spin-off? Perhaps not, but these are characters that it's difficult to not want to revisit.
Snow White meets The Lord of the Rings is an apt description for the film, so it's a shame that James Newton Howard's score is so completely and utterly underwhelming, delivering in some places, but absent in far too many scenes and nowhere near as epic as it should be in most others. In terms of special effects, Snow White and the Huntsman is a visually stunning film, although it occasionally falters with a few not entirely convincing CGI animals. Other creatures (one of the most exciting sequences sees our leading duo facing off against a troll) are thankfully far more fantastical. Theron is made to look far older than she really is on several occasions (in an almost identical plot device as Michelle Pfieffer's Lamia in Matthew Vaughn's Stardust) but this too is mostly faultless. However, scenes such as the one in which Ravenna materialises back into human form from a murder of crows really impresses. In fact, it's more than a little surprising that the film isn't in 3D as so many moments would have leant themselves perfectly to the format.
Snow White and the Huntsman is a solid take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, full of great performances and stunning visuals, ultimately let down by a mediocre screenplay.
Kristen Stewart as Snow White
Chris Hemsworth as Eric, the Huntsman
Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna
Sam Claflin as Prince William
Lily Cole as Greta
RELEASE DATE: June 1st, 2012.
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