Snow White and the Huntsman - Review

Since "Mirror, Mirror" was a total disaster from start to finish, it shouldn't be that hard for "Snow White and the Huntsman" to be the better Snow White adaptation of the two this year.
With a much darker take on the famous fairytale and an impressive cast (well maybe except Kristen Stewart), "Snow White and the Huntsman" has quite some good chances to come off as one of the better fairytale retellings out there.

The plot:
Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Unable to tolerate the insult to her vanity, the evil queen decides that Snow White must die. The queen sends a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to kill Snow White. However the huntsman finds himself unable to murder the innocent young woman, and instead ends up training her to become a warrior capable of threatening the queen's reign. (source: IMDb)

"Snow White and the Huntsman" features a completely different and way darker take on the famous fairytale its based on. Though it quite cleverly incorporates the original key moments from the source material like the "bad apple poisoning" etc. into the story, it mainly follows its own new story.
This new darker storyline is obviously heavily influenced by several other well known fantasy movies. There are many scenes that force flashbacks of movies like "Lords of the Rings", "Joan of Arc" (although not fantasy), "Alice in Wonderland" and partly even "Princess Mononoke".
With that said, the movie might be inspired by not only one but a whole bunch of sources, but which doesn't hamper the fun too much. It is very competently made into a solid complete story whose individual parts fit together nicely, although at the end when it's all said and done, the entire story doesn't offer anything new or inventive that we didn't already see in a bunch of other fantasy movies, underlining the fact that the movie is overly long.
Often you encounter scenes that run on a snail's pace and who have an obvious goal to make a certain character more three-dimensional to get the viewer emotionally invested. While this is a "plot-convenience-method" that is used incredibly often in (nowadays) almost every movie. Here it's just too plain obvious.
Other than that, the story itself, while being expectedly very simple and basic, is a just a fun and solid fairytale that holds on to the source material just as well as it invents upon it by mixing it with its original new storyline.
Expecting overly much sense and realism in this fairytale-based fantasy movie is the wrong approach.

The acting is a mixed bag here.
The performances in "Snow White and the Huntsman" range from "solid" to "overacting" or "just don't giving a damn".
Chris Hemsworth probably is one of the better actors in the movie. You can say that he is probably only cast because of his previous hits including "Thor" and "The Avengers" but to be honest, aside from being a charismatic protagonist, he is a pretty damn good actor. Emotional scenes might be a bit forced in this particular flick, but you can tell that he makes the best out of what he's given. He fits the role of the huntsman well, although his character himself is (like most of the other characters) underdeveloped and a bit shallow.

With Kristen Stewart i had serious doubts. I am convinced that she fits her role at least with her looks. Only judging by her looks, she does great as a rougher, warrior-like interpretation of Snow White. But then...there comes the acting. To be fair, Kristen Stewart DID make some pretty good movies like "Panic Room". I was always wondering if her performance here would equal the same one as in the Twilight movies. And for the most part...yes it does.
It's far not as bad as her "i just woke up and took some morphine now let's go do some actin'"-performance from the Twilight flicks, but most of the time she fails to deliver a credible, believable Snow White. Therefore, her entire character development goes pretty much downhill and does only work on paper, like her unconvincingly delivered war-speech towards the end of the film.

Charlize Theron is THE one particular actress in the film who just doesn't give a damn. I mean she just chews on the scenery. At first she does solid and than just jumps into overacting from one second to the next. I mean i could understand if Theron just thought that a constantly screaming queen would in the end work for this kind of movie and well, at some parts yes. But if the antagonist does nothing else but yell and scream a lot, after a short while it just gets ridiculous. My guess is that Theron just didn't give too much about her performance and just wanted to have fun with it. And if so, you can clearly see that she has had a WHOLE F**KIN load of fun here.

The rest of the cast does ok but it's the characters themselves i want address shortly.
Characters like Ravenna's brother Finn serve the movies storyline well but are clicheed to the limit. Everyone who looks at him and his weirdo-haircut can name you at least three movies featuring a fantasy-movie-character exactly like him. I guarantee. A bit more originality would have been nice.

The dwarfs do a solid job and just have to have a place in EVERY Snow White adaptation. This might be just a minor nitpick, but there is one particular blind dwarf called Muir, played by Bob Hoskins, who (except maybe for one instance) has absolutely NO purpose. He just stands there and spits out supposedly deep and faith-concerning-lines that turn out to be THE ABSOLUTELY MOST OBVIOUS THINGS EVER!

I mean when the entire forest goes apeshit and starts blooming up all around Snow White and he spits out "Don't you see? She's the chosen one." I just facepalm and think "WELL NO FUCKIN SHIT, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!!!".

Another (probably even more) useless character is William, played by Sam Claflin. His character gets established after about half of the movie is over. He just makes you scratch your head and ask yourself if he or the huntsman is now the real male protagonist. It just makes the movie unnecessary complicated. I guess they wanted to somehow put a "prince-like" character in there although still the huntsman is clearly the male protagonist. Resulting in William being completely pointless. The could've cut his role without sacrificing an inch of the movie's essence.

The effects in "Snow White and the Huntsman" are the true sellpoint of the whole affair. They completely steal the show. The dark forest effects with the moving trees, weird creatures and shapes, etc. alone are far better than Tim Burton's entire "Alice in Wonderland" movie.
Although at times i think the effects go a bit too far, when for example there's CG rabbits instead of real ones (i mean, come on!). But overall, nothing to complain about here.

All in all, "Snow White and the Huntsman" is one of the better retellings of famous fairytales out there.
The story might lack a bit of substance or depth for some, but again, it's a fairytale. And considering how smoothly the new storyline blends with famous parts of the source material, it's quite an accomplishment.
Additionally, great effects-work and imaginative forest- and creature designs offer some great eye-candy.
Yet still, negative aspects like the uneven acting and mostly shallow characters hold the movie back a whole lot.
It all comes down to the pros and the cons placing the movie in middle territory as a not-groundbreaking but a decent, solid experience.

If you put your expectations accordingly and just want to have some fun with fairytale fantasy flicks, you should check out "Snow White and the Huntsman".

Final Verdict: 4 out of 10


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