Snow White and the Huntsman

In all honesty, I had rejected this movie in my mind prior to going into it.

Snow White is not some warrior in shining armor leading an army. She’s not. Snow White wears that blue and red and yellow taffeta dress with the poofy freaking shoulders and when she’s not hanging with her dwarfish friends or chowing apples, she sings to birds. Ok? That’s Snow White.

So perhaps this is all overreaction to my complete underestimation of it, but “Snow White and the Huntsman” was an excellent, highly entertaining movie. More than just a retelling of the Snow White tale, it’s an epic fantasy story, replete with mythical creatures, knights in armor, a princess in a tower and a very, very wicked witch.

I don’t know if it’s the fairest of them all, but it’s easily worth a trip to the movies.

“Snow White and the Hunstman” takes the broad framework of the Snow White fairy tale and then fleshes the story out with completely different details. The Wicked Queen (Charlize Theron) keeps her youth now by feeding on souls, and her reign has desolated the kingdom. The deceased King’s daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), has been imprisoned in a prison tower since his death. On her 18th birthday, however, the Queen’s magic mirror suddenly gives a different response to the “Who’s the fairest” inquiry. Seeking to have her killed immediately, the Queen has Snow White sent for, but this only triggers an escape from the castle.

In order to retrieve her, the Queen is forced to hire a drunken widower of a huntsman (due to his familiarity with the magic forest). He’s a mess of a man, still grieving over the loss of his wife. When the Queen promises to use her magic to return his beloved departed to him, he agrees to hunt Snow White. What he doesn’t count on is what will happen when he finally meets her…

Once she’s out in the wild, Snow White encounters all sorts of creatures of a mythical nature, not the least of which are the Seven Dwarves. Several notable actors are mixed in amongst them, such as Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone and Toby Jones. These dwarves aren’t played strictly for laughs or comic relief (although there are touches here and there), but instead are serious allies for her, and actually provide some of the movie’s most dramatic moments.  

And there are dramatic moments. Right from the outset, it’s apparent that Theron is putting everything she has into the role of the Wicked Queen, which makes the character quite an imposing figure. Hemsworth’s accent takes a little getting used to, but he does well as a staggering, self-pitying lout. Kristen Stewart isn’t asked to do much, so she doesn’t slow the movie one iota.

Which is good, because “Snow White and the Huntsmen” is a well produced fantasy epic, weaving a tale of dark, dangerous forests and faerie-filled meadows, wicked queens and magic apples. An ax wielding huntsman allies with a princess and eventually some dwarves, and they’re all pursued by dead-eyed archers across a sprawling kingdom. There’s some serious magic at play at times here – movie magic. In fact, for a quite a while, I wondered if I was watching a great movie.

The finale didn’t quite live up to the promise of the second act for me, but in no way was it bad, nor was it enough of a let down to change my assessment of the film. This is a fun story. A real attempt at epic fairy tale storytelling. It has great production values, excellent special effects, and it showcases a remarkable performance by Charlize Theron as Ravenna, the Wicked Queen.

Excellent summer entertainment. Spectacle with a touch of seriousness. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

A-

About these ads

57 thoughts on “Snow White and the Huntsman

  1. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this movie. I went in with bad expectations, or at least very low expectations, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

    • LOL. Can I just mirror your comment in my reply?

      “Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this movie. I went in with bad expectations, or at least very low expectations, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.”

      Is exactly how I feel to hear YOU say that. Ha!

      I cant believe how low the Rotten Tomatoes score is for this one Travis. Its under 50%, WTF?

  2. I’m surprised by your rave as well. I saw a clip when Theron was on Colbert the other night, and the clip they chose to publicize had no dialog to speak of and a strange special effects sequence with either broken glass or crows swirling around and doing something, I couldn’t tell what, and Charlize Theron looking on sternly. It did not encourage me to see the film. You, however, do. Seeing as I’ll be on vacation this week I may venture out and see it.

    • If you do, Gelf, you’ll have to circle back and let me know what you think.

      I thought it was very well done, man. In fairness though, reviews are really mixed on RT. It’s a 50/50 split, but there’s definitely others out there that are enthusiastic.

      I enjoyed it.

      • So the wife and I saw this tonight, and I’m sad to report I cannot back you up on this one. While it certainly had good parts, most notably the performances of Theron, Helmsworth,
        and the dwarves, there was so much which took me out of the movie that I was never able to really lose myself in the film. Starting basically with Snow White’s escape, with the lors’s prayer out of nowhere. What the….? There are Christians here? Never mentioned again? Then a girl who’s been locked in a tower for 10 years is that fit, how? And shes a damn fine rider too! And that horse… It came from where? Even miscellaneous wild magic needs a source. And then the horse just is abandoned to the lightning sands in the fire swamp? Where were the ROUSes? And then later was the part when Aragorn and Boromir where leading the Fellowship up the Pass of Carathras, … And there were just a lot of points that took me out of the film. But I think most grievous of all was the rather comatose performance of Kirsten Stewart, who is neither attractive enough outside, nor charismatic enough inside to pull off the part. Her big “Braveheart” speech at the end was unconvincing to say the least, especially as she hadn’t had two lines together before that.

        And then there was the whole subtext about menstrual blood, which was kind of gross.

  3. Hollywood always does this. Two of a kind back-to-back. What do they do, put spies in each others’ studio, and as soon as they hear of a project they create a clone! I just saw “Mirror, Mirror” so this one gives me pause! On the other hand, I quite liked “Mirror…”. I thought it was solidly in the “Princess Bride” camp, and Julia Roberts was perfectly cast . I will give this a shot. I’m a sucker for medieval “sword and sorcery”. One of the last times this happened, they came out with two really good films. “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige”!

    • I was decidely NOT a fan of Mirror, Mirror. LOL.

      You’ll probably enjoy this though. It’s got a bunch of like fantasy movie tropes scattered around, and then a bit of the knights in armor epic, all held together by the Snow White fairy tale. I thought it was really pretty good.

      • It will be a mournful week for “sword and Sorcery”. “Game of Thrones” finale tomorrow!

      • Another example of that paired movies syndrome might be the deplorable “Wyatt Earp” and the amazing “Tombstone”. I almost missed out on Tombstone because Wyatt Earp was so terrible.

      • My default for this syndrome is the two volcano movies, because how f’ing ridiculous is that that there would be two volcano movies?

        But sure enough, Dante’s Peak and Volcano were both released in 1997. Seriously

  4. Wow, I was writing this one of on Kristen Stewart alone. But was going to give it a chance because of Hemsworth. Though with the frequency I get to actually see movies, this will be a definite Red Box rental. I do like seeing all these classic fairy tales given new twists, generally darker twists. ABC did real well with Once Upon a Time. I liked the Grimm Brothers with Matt Damon, not a great movie but enjoyable.

    • I had written this one off too, Bruce, so dont feel bad, you’re not alone.

      Dude, it will EASILY justify a Red Box rent. Absolutely.

      I liked the Brothers Grimm too. Heath Ledger’s in that too, I thought that those guys + Gilliam equalled a win. Not a great flick, but definitely cool enough.

  5. Fun movie and looked beautiful, but something was just missing from the story to give it that driving tension. Have to give a lot of love Theron who is so beautiful, so sexy, and so good at playing evil, that she makes it a delight to watch an evil with do her evil stuff. Rawr!! Good review Fogs.

    • Thank you Dan. Nice comment… LOL

      Yeah, I agree with the capsule summary you’ve got there. There was a certain something lacking, I cant quite put my finger on it. I’d be quick to blame K Stew, but I’m not 100% sure it was here.

      Perhaps it was though, maybe with a more charismatic lead, we all would have been rooting for her more.

      • That’s where I would point too. If her Twilight acting is any indication, then she is bland at best. I have seen her when she was younger in some Disney films and she was boring, no emotion really, nothing to draw you in and like the character.

  6. I actually liked Kristen Stewart for the first time. The idea of taking normal sized actors and turning them into dwarfs was sheer movie magic. I have to go with a 10 on this one. I hope Hemsworth doesn’t get type cast. If he’s not swinging a hammer then he’s swinging an axe. Eveyone was great but especially Ms. Theron. What a job!!

    • 10! Nice though.

      Seriously, that was in play for me for like… 3/4 of the movie. I was like, am I watching a great movie? Should I A++ this? By the end I had realized I wasn’t THAT in love with it, but it’s still a really, really, solid flick. I liked it a lot too Al. Definitely.

  7. I was 50/50 on seeing this in the theater, but you’re the third person I trust to give it a thumbs up. Wifey was sold on it already.

  8. Glad to hear this is actually pretty decent. I had nearly as much concern about this as I did for Mirror Mirror, albeit for different reasons. While I agree that Snow White isn’t a military leader in nature, this sounds like it might be all right. Heck, even my Dad says he wants to see it, and he hardly ever watches fantasy films.

    • Go with him dude. Telling you, it might surprise you.

      I dont want to oversell it, but you sound like me before I saw it, you know? Sounds like exactly what I might have said.

      • If I watch it with him, it’ll be a rental or on cable or something; he hasn’t set foot in a theatre in twenty years or more. Not joking.

        I’ll earmark it as something worth watching, though. Definitely.

  9. You totally captured the essence of this movie. Good work!! Theron was so beautiful that even as the villain, I wanted to be on her side. I very much agree that Stewart was the weakest link, but it didn’t ruin the movie.

    • Thanks Connie! I try, you know?

      Charlize certainly IS beautiful, but geez, you’d be all … sucking souls out of people and stuff? That’s harsh!
      :D

      I wouldn’t have minded having some mead with the dwarves though, they seemed like a cool group of dudes. LOL

  10. Color me surprised! I never expected to see such a glowing review for this movie. I was hoping to see it the other day, but that wasn’t too be. I’ll give it another try this week though.

    • You’re not the only one Max. I think I’m more surprised than anyone. But every now and then, movies do that to you, you know? They defy your expectations.

      If you do check it out, let me know what you thought…

  11. You made me reconsider whether to check this out or not. I was a bit dejected by the lowly Rotten Tomatoes score so I overslept this morning and ended up missing the matinee. Maybe, I will go and check it out after all :D

    • Yeah, it wasn’t bad. If you actually click through to the blurbs, the positive reviews are all looking pretty enthused, and the negative ones aren’t killing it, you know?

      RT Scores can be a little deceptive sometimes like that. I felt the same way when I first saw them

  12. I don’t get the hate for this film. The negative reviews had me worried going in, but it was a good flick. I felt it was lacking though. I liked how it visually reminded me sort of LOTR, but like that series there was too much walking. The tension was gone by the climax and I was ready for the movie to be over.

    Needed more of Ravenna. I wanted them to do more with her backstory since they dropped that in. Watching Thor, I mean Hemsworth and Stewart wander through the woods just got old, when they had material to expand on instead. Far from being a crap movie though, but I didn’t quite love it. I guess I went in the opposite of you and was hoping it was going to be more.

    • I’m with you Nic. This film definitely wasn’t bad. I didn’t love it love it either, but I was really surprised by it and I think it’s an easily recommendable flick.

      I’m not sure that I wanted more Ravenna though. Maybe they should have worked her into the middle of the film a little better though, you have a point that she disappeared for quite a time. She was the focus of the early part of the film… but then when KStew and Thor are traipsing about, she like disappears almost entirely. LOL

      No disagreement about the let down in terms of the third act though, it definitely kind of fell of, there…

  13. Pingback: thevisionaryfilmfanatic

  14. I was a little bit on the other end of the spectrum. I had high hopes for this movie. I’m a sucker for fairy tales. I’ve seen no less than 7 different Snow White adaptations now an this ranks closer to the top than the bottom, but it wasn’t all the way there for me. I thought Charlize Theron was a little too theatrical with her Evil Queen, she has a lot of over-enunciated shouting. I also thought the dwarves looked great, but I was still a little disappointed that they didn’t use little people actors.

    • Yeah, we just talked about that last night recording our podcast. That is a little disappointing, even though the actors that they got are all great actors.

      I think if you came at this movie from a place of high expectations? You might wind up a little let down, I can see that. Definitely.

      Charlize chewed the scenery a little, maybe, yeah, but I thought it seemed perfect for the role. The “Wicked Queen” is a part that requires a little touch of “over the top” you know? I thought she was great… :D

  15. Nice! I’ve been wondering how people would react to this. I have the same problems with having a concept in my mind about what Snow White is and you described it perfectly with your intro. I may actually get to the theaters for this one!

    • Dont go in expecting a new favorite film or anything, but dude, you know what man? This was a really decent flick. I enjoyed it. I know its only batting 50% on RT but I liked it. Give it a shot… and it surprises me to say that.

  16. You love this one huh? I actually was looking forward to this and though it’s not a complete waste, I can’t give it a high mark because of many reasons, mainly Kristen Stewart’s poor casting. I had been worried about her casting initially and she certainly confirmed my dread. My review should be up later tonight if you’re interested :)

    • I am interested, of course. :D

      You know what it might be? We’re “Coming at it from different directions”. You were looking forward to it and it disappointed you… while I thought it was going to suck and it wound up surprising me.

      I think “Love” it might be a little strong, but I was impressed, definitely. ;)

  17. Snow White sings to birds…..
    That’s funny!
    I would be interested to see this movie just to see how they handled the costume aspect…
    I think it really cool to hear that Charleze held her own in this kind of a role. That’s a pretty big range considering how different “Monster” was.

    • Knowing you, you’d probably prefer Mirror Mirror in that regard.

      In that movie, the costumes were very elaborate and fancy.

      In this movie, Snow White (and everyone else) look like they spent the morning crawling through mud. I doubt youd approve. LOL :D

      Charlize is fantastic here, I was really impressed.

  18. aww man. I was looking forward to coming here and reading a ranting ripping review of this one. I’m surprised. but glad for you, that this one surpassed your expectations. It did the opposite for me. While beautiful it lacked substance.

    always fun to see a differing opinion from the Fogs’!

  19. Nice review. Like many of the people who commented here, I to am a bit doubtful to watch this movie, but your review took that doubt away :)
    Let’s hope Kirsten Steward doesn’t appall me like she usually does…

    • If Kristen Stewart usually appalls you, I dont think odds are good.

      She’s serviceable here. The movie works around her for the most part. She doesnt have a lot of dialogue, and a lot of the story actually focuses on the characters and things around her rather than her. Which is a bit of an issue, because she IS Snow White after all, but…

      There are a lot of other positive things here. The visuals are fantastic and the storyline is one of those twist on a classic, and then Theron – may chew scenery a bit, but she’s fun to watch

  20. This is another one that I’ve grown to dislike more and more the further I’ve gotten away from it.

    It’s not terrible. After a string of real z-grade films (Dark Shadows, Battleship, Chernobyl Diaries), something of even marginal quality such as this proved to be pretty refreshing. It looks great, for starters, even if its vision is lifted almost wholesale from the works of other, better directors (Jackson, Del Toro, Scott). Cribbed or no, it looks wonderful, and that’s enough for me. The creature design is pretty fantastic, from the Miyazaki stag to the mushrooms with eyeballs to the troll. (Which I wanted to see show up in other places in the film! It looks great, the moment with it works well, and then it just disappears. Boo.)

    And Hemsworth and Theron are delightful. Theron in particular owns the screen, howling like a lunatic in a role that has zero need for nuance (YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME!). Hemsworth also avails himself well, and while his performance feels like math– add brooding, self-deprecation, guilt, latent heroism and nobility, and multiply by handsome charismatic actor– he’s so good at this stuff that it works anyways.

    But the film is a drag. Stewart still can’t act, and while it helps that she’s on screen with much more gifted actors, she still has a way of sucking the life out of everything around her that brings things down somewhat. She’s better here than she’s been in, well, anything else I’ve seen her in, but not by much. (It’s the eyes. They’re just dead.) Most of all, SWATH just drags. There’s so much stuff here that could have been left on the cutting room floor; it’s a shock to me that Finn became a character at all, much less William, though I understand the need for a female lead to be forced to choose between two male love interests. (Not really. But it is a thing.)

    Tightened up and excised of its useless elements, I might have liked this more.

    • I didn’t think it dragged, I actually got kind of sucked in by it. I enjoyed it… For the reasons you point out as the positive attributes – the visuals, Theron, Hemsworth. I’d even throw in the Dwarves, those were some great actors there.

      I can’t defend Stewart, she’s stiff… I personally thought the film worked around her well enough, but its hard to argue that a movie about Snow White is ok because they do a decent job covering up for Snow White’s shortcomings.

      Still, to me, there were so many positive things about the movie. Really positive things. K Stew didn’t detract from the rest of it for me.

Join in the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s