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.