‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Review

4/10

Film Pulse Score

Release Date: June 1, 2012
Director: Rupert Sanders
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Film Pulse Score: 4/10

Hot off the tails of Mirror Mirror, Universal has released its own version of the classic tale of Snow White, which promised to be darker, moodier, and less abhorrent.  Unfortunately, while not as nauseatingly awful, Snow White and the Huntsman does not live up to the hype, and in the end, proves to be a dull, soulless endeavor, that disappoints more than entertains.

The film stays fairly close to the original tale, only taking some creative freedom here and there.  We have Snow White (Kristen Stewart), who is locked away in the castle of the wicked queen (Charlize Theron). Upon escaping, the queen hires, or rather bribes a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down.  As one might expect, after meeting, the two hit it off and join forces to escape the grasp of the queen and take back the kingdom.  Along the way, they encounter a variety of perilous situations, a long-lost friend, and a group of eight, yes eight, dwarfs who join them in battle.

The first thing one notices with this film is the stunning visual style.  The mixture of vivid locations, astounding practical effects, and top-notch CG make this a very pretty movie.  The creatures looked like something from the mind of Guillermo del Toro, and the effects used to create the dwarfs were spectacular. This overabundance of visuals was not without its faults, however. Several of the scenes felt tacked on and added nothing to the plot, even to the point of being distracting. In a movie that is well over two hours long, there’s no need to add an extended scene of Charlize Theron entering a bath full of white paint with no explanation.

And it’s the plot that serves as one of the biggest problems with this film.  From the beginning, there’s a dullness that emanates from the screen. As the characters plod along on their quest, encountering one uninteresting thing after another, I just wanted the pain to be over. I knew there was something wrong when I found myself being more interested in the scenes where you literally watch grass grow.

The only thing more dull than the movie itself were the performances.  Kristen Stewart plays her normal, open-mouthed self, bringing absolutely nothing to the table. Thankfully, it seems like the filmmakers weren’t too keen on her talking either, as she has very little to say in the film, with the exception of a particularly awful speech she gives near the film’s climax.

Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth’s performances were passable, however Theron’s portrayal of the queen felt entirely too over the top.  There’s just no need to be turning the volume up to 11 during every conversation.

The dwarfs were the best part of a bad situation, however they were extremely under utilized.  The dwarfs were portrayed by some fantastic talent including Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, and Ian McShane.  While they added some much-needed charm, they just weren’t in the film long enough, and having such a powerhouse of performers receive so little screen time felt completely wasted.

This was a film that, for every step forward, it would take ten back.  There would be some great visuals that were completely unnecessary and pointless to the plot; then there would be an epic battle scene, and Kristen Stewart arrives on camera and ruins it. Finally, you have this great cast of actors playing the beloved seven, I mean eight, dwarfs, and they’re extremely underdeveloped and underused.

It’s probably a good thing Disney cancelled its plans for another live-action Snow White film, because if people were already subjected to this and Mirror Mirror, I’m unsure of how much more we could take.  My suggestion, re-watch the classic Disney-animated Snow White, then catch an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and you’ll be better off.