Film Review : Snow White and the Huntsman
● By Justin Buettner
This is a action reimagining of the traditional Snow White fairytale. Snow White’s father is tricked into marrying a wicked witch, who murders him and takes over the kingdom. Snow White is banished to a cell for nearly a decade and manages to escape just before the Witch discovers that she will become immortal only by killing Snow White. The kingdom is now under a dark spell and only a Huntsman and a band of rebels are left to defend and protect Snow White from the wicked queen’s pursuit of her.
This film essentially combined Snow White with Lord of the Rings. Did it succeed? When you compare this film to Mirror Mirror, without question. Snow White and the Huntsman is better in every respect than the abysmal Mirror Mirror. I would even contend that Snow White and the Huntsman is a better film than the Lord of the Rings trilogy it emulates, although I know I would be in the extreme minority in that opinion. I just feel that Snow White has a more compelling villain in Charlize Theron’s evil witch and it compacts a similar story into a single film where the Lord of the Rings was painfully overlong. That is not saying Snow White and the Huntsman is a great movie, because it certainly is not, but it is entertaining.
Visually the movie is extremely strong as I think the effects, sets, and general look are top notch. This includes the aging effects on Charlize Theron, the look of troll creature, the design of the dark forest, and several other key sequences that really show a clear style and visual flair. I quite enjoyed the take on the dwarfs, led by Ian Mcshane, too. They look and sound more like hobbits than the dwarfs we are used to seeing in a Snow White movie, but it serves this film well.
Snow White and the Huntsman additionally is well cast. Charlize Theron makes a terrific wicked witch. Chris Hemsworth does quite well with his role as the Huntsman too. There may not be a “manlier” man in film today as Chris Hemsworth, who looks and sounds like a tough guy unlike so many of his action star colleagues. Although Kristen Stewart is pummeled by everyone for her Twilight performances (and the criticism is well deserved) she does fine with the role of Snow White. I have liked Stewart in some of her smaller roles outside of the dreadful Twilight films, I hope she can find success and hopefully fix her tarnished reputation. Perhaps Snow White and the Huntsman is the first step.
Director Rupert Sanders does a terrific job, especially considering this is his first feature film. Snow White and the Huntsman moves along at a good pace and he manages to get good performances while managing all the visual complexities. That is not a small feat for any director and he looks to be a filmmaker to pay attention to in the future.
The weakest part of the film lies with the script. Evan Daugherty himself is a rookie screenwriter and I appreciate what he attempted to do with the Snow White story. In fact Daugherty pulls of quite a few feats in blending the fairy tale with a Lord of the Rings style. However there is a bit of a disconnect with the character of Snow White. Perhaps it is because the film skips over her long imprisonment in the castle tower? Regardless of the reason, she is not a very relatable character especially when put in the mix with the cast of fully realized supporting characters. In addition the world is never fully explained in a way that makes sense. Magic befalls the land without rhyme or reason. The evil queen’s magic comes from a spell cast upon her, but why does the land surrounding the castle go under such a transformation? It does not seem the queen has done this? Perhaps I am over thinking the story.
There is news that a sequel to this film is already underway and I hope they rethink that idea. This is a film that should stand alone. The end even avoids the corny resolution to its love triangle, and instead gives us solid hints. I don’t know what new territory needs to be explored with these characters? Regardless, Snow White and the Huntsman is an entertaining and action dominated alternative to the traditional tale of Snow White.
Films like Snow White and the Huntsman : Alice in Wonderland, Stardust, and Robin Hood
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.