Sunday, June 10, 2012

REVIEW: Snow White & The Huntsman

Snow White & The Huntsman

Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron


June 1, 2012

Rupert Sanders

Universal Pictures

2 hours 7 minutes



It's only June of 2012 and we've already gotten two films based on the classic tale of 'Snow White.'  The first one, which came out in late March, was called 'Mirror Mirror.'  That film was made generally for families and those who wanted to laugh at something.  That film surprised many critics and audiences alike and faired moderately well at the box office.  I didn't get the chance to see that on the big screen, so a DVD watch is likely in my future.  However I did manage to find some time to check out the other 'Snow White' movie.  The other 'Snow White' movie is a more action and adult oriented version with bigger cast members and a first time director.  In fact, this film, entitled 'Snow White & The Huntsman,' looked far more superior to 'Mirror Mirror.'  While not having seen 'Mirror Mirror,' I'm guessing that it's a tad better than this film.  What could've been a fast, action-packed, and fun film end up being slow, over the top, and bizarre at times.  'Snow White & The Huntsman' is a disappointing summer film that odds are will make a ton of money opening weekend.

If you know the story of 'Snow White,' then you should probably know that this adaptation is only loosely based off of the original material.  Instead of Snow White being an innocent young girl, she is a more mature and smart woman with some combat skills of her own.  The Huntsman does more than attempt to kill Snow White and save her instead.  He actually tags along with her and tries to defeat the evil Queen.  The Evil Queen in this version rather than just act menacing is a sorceress who in order to stay young has to suck the youth out of young girls, and suck the life out of people to stay alive.  Instead of the seven dwarfs being the pivotal comedic element of the story, they have a few more tricks up their sleeves, and one of them is a wise blind man.  It's all obviously going to go down hard with Snow White and The Evil Queen, but we are just in it for the action-packed elements and maybe get a good story and decent acting on the side.

Kristen Stewart was quite possibly the best part of the entire movie for me.  This role for her was quite an improvement over biting her lip and screaming "Edward!" or "Jacob!" for no reason whatsoever.  Despite this being her best performance that I've seen, she does go a bit over the top by shouting a few of her lines for no apparent reason at all.  Plus we see something we have rarely seen from Stewart before: her smile.  As joking as that was, Stewart actually shines in this movie the most, which really isn't saying a lot compared to her co-stars.

Charlize Theron is a wonderful actress.  Not only did she win an Academy Award for her insane role in 'Monster,' but she also entertained audiences in 2008's 'Hancock.'  It's understandable that she wants to be in more mainstream movies, but this film wasn't the right choice for her.  In the majority of the movie, Theron is screaming out her lines as if she's being tortured by the screenwriter to spill them out.  In some scenes it was just painful to see her yelp these awful lines like "Bring her to me!" and "I'm sorry brother!"  I can't see how people are calling her great, unless they were referring to her more subtle scenes as a villain, then I would only say she's good in those.  Theron was decent in this film overall, but she left a lot for me to desire.

Chris Hemsworth plays the other name in the film's title, The Huntsman.  In the original story, The Huntsman is only there to hunt Snow White down, and then let her escape due to her beauty.  In this film, the filmmakers had to, not only add a back story to his character, but also have him tag along with Snow White and become of the two love interests.  Hemsworth from the trailers looked like he was going to steal some of the thunder from the leading ladies; however instead he felt more like a really unnecessary character who was just there because either A.) his name is in the title; and B.) the screenwriters wanted to put in a really bland love story for fun.  This character could have been a hard core bad ass with some clever jokes and an interesting story of his own.  Instead he is a bland, misplaced character with not much of a purpose in the movie other than to replace Prince Charming.  There are more characters to talk about, like the "Prince" William, The Queen's brother, and the Seven Dwarfs.  Unfortunately they are not even worthy of being talked about much, which is why this huge section about the cast comes to a close here.

The visual effects are what really drove the movie on the "summer blockbuster" route.  If the movie was only intending to look really cool, then it did its job right.  This movie is quite stunning to look at throughout.  From the Enchanted Forest to the destruction of dark armies, the cinematography and visual effects of the film look absolutely stunning.  In fact, this goes without saying that the cinematography and the visuals could possibly be nomination worthy if this year lacks in the special effects department, which by the looks of it won't at all.  As for the cinematography, there will be far more wide scoped films to come out and snag nominations come awards season, but the film makes you feel like you are in this insane and magical world because of its large epic scope throughout.  The film overall looks really amazing, but that doesn't stop it from being a mediocre mess.

If this film had a better script, director, and even cast, then 'Snow White & The Huntsman' wouldn't have been such a disappointing summer film.  The trailers made this movie seem like one fun and bad ass fantasy trip with great performances by all.  Instead what was given was a poorly acted, often slow, yet visually stunning movie that seems to be a part of the generic Hollywood formula these days.  It seems the movie industry lacks a lot of creativity, therefore can only copy ideas and see if anyone notices.  Can't movies just be original ideas that stimulate the mind rather than rehashing old stories and make them look really nice and glossy?  Let's hope that filmmakers have something up their sleeves very soon, because the creativity of films is slowly depleting and will soon be gone.  Everything in 'Huntsman' could have been so much better, but sadly what is given is 127 minutes of over the top acting and a bad story/script.  People seem to really dig this movie, yet I don't see why.  If one does have interest in seeing this movie, just watch it on a big HD TV when it comes to Blu-Ray.  Unless Hollywood can find some better way of making the 'Snow White' story fresh and new again, the "fairest one of all" has taken her last bite from an apple for a while.  



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