Weekend Roundup: Snow White and the Huntsman review

Hope your first June weekend was a good one, folks. I finally made my way to the cinema since The Avengers a month ago. That movie is still box office gold as it still place third this weekend with over $20 mil, so it’s overall worldwide gross now stands at 1.3 Billion, wow, hulk smash all right! The reigning champion is Snow White and the Huntsman which beats expectation with $56 mil, which actually beats the Universal studio’s expectations.

I was quite looking forward to this movie because of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth’s casting, and the trailer was pretty impressive. Well, did it live up to my expectations? Read on…

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

With TWO Snow White movies released within the same year, this one promises to be the grittier and perhaps takes the most liberties with its ‘re-imagined’ version of the fairy tale. Well, one thing for sure this one offers more twists than the curliest branch in its mythical dark forest.

The first part of the ‘origins’ story starts off promisingly. It opens with a beautiful shot of Snow White’s kingdom in the Winter time, and where her beauty and her name comes from. She seems to have merry childhood with his valiant father and beautiful, kindhearted mother. But soon tragedy strikes with the death of her mother and her father being drawn into a peculiar battle, followed by a hasty marriage to an equally mysterious beautiful blond named Ravenna in the form of Charlize Theron.

Unlike in the Disney animated feature, we get somewhat of a back-story of how the evil queen becomes obsessed with her looks and why she is so threatened by Snow White, whom she locks in a dark tower until she reaches adulthood. To her chagrin, her inept brother somehow lets her get away as he’s about to retrieve her for Ravenna. How the frail-looking princess is able to outrun Ravenna’s army is perplexing, but I chug it out to this being a ‘fairy tale’ after all, so anything is possible, ehm.

With the help of a pair of little birds and a white horse conveniently waiting for her to aid her escape, Snow White manages to outrun the evil horsemen riding bareback into the dark forest. Impressive indeed! Good thing she’s got some rugged boots under her dress though, instead of some flimsy slippers like Cinderella’s, as those come quite handy in the muddy and damp environment she now finds herself in. I have to admit I was quite spooked by the scene where Snow White is haunted by visions of a terrifying forest in the animated feature, but it’s nothing compared to the horror our heroine is facing here.

To make matters worse, now Ravenna has hired a Huntsman to track her down. Despite all her powers, she doesn’t seem to have any power in the dark forest, and we’re left to our imaginations as to why that’s so. The Huntsman is no other than Thor, er I mean Chris Hemsworth, who’s now lived as a mischievous drunkard following his wife’s death. But the evil queen gives him an offer he can’t refuse so off he goes to retrieve Snow White. The movie is true to its title in that the seven dwarfs take a backseat to the Huntsman as the protector and mentor of the princess. The movie even hints at something more perhaps, as Prince Charming (Sam Claflin), despite his Legolas-like archery skills, is not given much to do in the entire movie.

Before I get to the um, shortcomings, I have to hand it to newbie director Rupert Sanders [so new he doesn't even have a bio on IMDb yet!] for making a visually-arresting spectacle. The cinematography is beautiful, offering a stark contrast between a dark and eerie mythical world and that of a bright, enchanting realm where the fairies live. The costumes are spectacular, especially those worn with such exquisite grace by Theron. No surprise as the costume design is done by triple Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland, Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago).

But looks alone doesn’t make a movie. And the pretty scenery can’t possibly makes up for the terribly uneven pacing, uninspired acting and gaping plot holes all around, and I’m already setting aside the fact that Ravenna already IS fairer than Snow White! There are too many unexplained circumstances but the biggest one involves a magical white deer with tree branches as antlers. That scene itself is breathtaking to behold and for a while I was quite engrossed in it. It reminds me of the scene where Lucy meets Aslan in the Narnia movie, except that we’re never told just what that deer represents and its significance to the story [scratch head]

Now, the acting. Theron makes for a fierce villainess but her range is not utilized at all as the script only requires her to be a slithering and conniving beauty. She even looks bored in some scenes, all that scenery-chewing surely gets to be laborious after a while. Hemsworth is much more captivating, his character seems to have more depth compared to the rest (though that’s not saying much), plus the Aussie actor has such strong screen presence and undeniable magnetic charisma. He’s the saving grace in the movie for me, and every time he comes on screen, the movie seems to ‘pick up.’

Can’t say the same thing about Kristen Stewart. In fact, the opposite is true. My husband said that she was mediocre in the beginning of the movie and he’d be ok with it as long as she just stays that way. Alas she seems to progress downward as the movie goes on, and the worse part is when she has to give a rousing speech to a flock of people to fight against the evil queen. Ok, I’d be hard pressed to believe Stewart can inspire a four-people book club, let alone an entire village to take back her country! I mean, suspension of disbelief is a given in any movie, but this is just too much. She’s also not believable as a kindhearted princess that everyone is immediately drawn to, as she comes across cold and standoffish most of the time. I’m even more baffled why Stewart is in such a high demand as she seems to only have two forms of expression, one of nervousness and one of sorrow, that’s it. She alternates between those two no matter what scene she’s in.

Last but not least, it’s really a crime to hire some of the best of British actors to play the dwarfs and not give them hardly anything to do. We’re talking about the likes of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones and Nick Frost, and they’re all practically wasted here. They all seem a surly bunch and there’s no sense of fun other than a couple of wisecracks by Nick Frost.

Final Thoughts: I think if they had cast someone else besides Kristen I’d have been kinder on the movie, but there are some scenes with her that remind me of the Twilight and that’s NOT a good thing at all. At least the visuals keeps it from being a complete waste of time, but I can’t give it a high mark just for that. I’d say my rating is mostly for the visuals, Hemsworth and Theron, in that order :)

2.5 out of 5 reels


Have you seen this film? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and the cast, particularly miss Stewart.

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33 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Snow White and the Huntsman review

  1. ” a magical white deer with tree branches as antlers. That scene itself is breathtaking to behold and for a while I was quite engrossed in it. It reminds me of the scene where Lucy meets Aslan in the Narnia movie, except that we’re never told just what that deer represents and its significance to the story [scratch head]”

    —my thoughts EXACTLY!!!

    I wish I could’ve liked this one more. It seems we are definitely in alignment on the same issues here!

    Great review my friend

    • Glad you agree, T! Yeah, when that deer showed up I was like, is he Aslan?? But there’s really no point for all that pretty scenery in the story, what a shame!

  2. Hi Ruth! I have yet to see this movie, but I’m with you re: Kristen Stewart. She’s pretty enough, but I’m sorry, I don’t buy her as “fairest of them all” when you’ve got flippin’ Charlize Theron in the picture. What might save this is Chris Hemsworth’s presence and that great rogue’s gallery of actors playing the Seven Dwarves…pity they seems to be sidelined for much of the movie.

    Think this is a “wait for DVD rental” sort of a film. Thanks for the sneak peek!

    • Hi Jeff, well I was willing to let that one slide but there are far more plot issues with this movie. Hemsworth is really good here, such charisma but he’s a bad ass hunk with a heart, ahah. The seven dwarves don’t really have much play in the story though.

  3. Well it sounds pretty interesting but apart from Theron, I’m not overly desperate to see this film. Shame, I’m sure the visuals make it worthwhile catching on the big screen.

    • The visuals does look good on the big screen, Pete, that’s why it’s still not a complete waste. Won’t be memorable without an engaging story though.

  4. I was more generous to it, as you know.

    Stewart was basically vaccuous there’s no arguing it, but I felt they worked around her well enough to make the movie enjoyable. The visuals were awesome, and basically nothing in the plot or acting was bad enough to detract from them greatly for me.

    If the third act hadnt fallen off, I probably would have liked it even more!

    I can see where you’re coming from though Ruth. :D

    • He..he.. you certainly are, Fogs. Well I’m glad you like it more than I did. I mean, it wasn’t a complete waste, there are times I did enjoy it, well mostly when Chris or Charlize came on, ahah. The visuals are awesome indeed, but then there’s K-Stew to ruin the scenery :)

  5. Awesome review! You pretty much summed up all the things I thought about this movie – the plot holes and the uneven pacing were so annoying. I did love Hensworth’s work and I agree that he is very charismatic. Kristen was really a weak link here, but I think it’s the flaw of the story and the script – with so much going one the sweet princess it the one that always appears bland comparing to the Queen, magic and the magnetic Huntsman. Stewart can be really great if she is working with the strong script, like in Welcome to the Rileys.

    • Thank you Sati. Yeah, I like Hemsworth even more now, he’s actually more charismatic here than in Thor, though of course he rocked that role, too. I really do think if they had cast someone else other than Kristen, I’d like this movie a whole lot more. I don’t even know now if I want to see anything else she’s done, she has zero screen charisma.

  6. This really did have the makings of a better film on the surface. Your review definitely makes me reconsider where my cinema-bucks will be going in the coming weeks!

    • Hi Iba, maybe watch this when it comes to the discount theater, you have that where you live right? I mean the visuals are arresting enough to see on the big screen, but not much substance.

        • Oh, the discount theater we have here usually shows films that no longer play in the regular theaters, so the price is only $2.50 for all showings. Usually it’ll show up about a week or so after it’s gone from the main theaters here like AMCs.

  7. I might rent it someday when I’m bore, not really a film I want to see. Especially with the 12 year old looking leading lady.

    • Ahah, that’s right Ted. But Snow White is supposed to be 16 so I guess that’s not a bad thing that she looks young, I just wish she could act!

  8. I want to watch this just because I want to see Theron…which happens to be miles prettier than the freakin flat face snow white. I am going to watch this only in dvd

    • Ahahaha, yes Nov, that’s what I thought, too. Charlize looks ravishing in this film with those gorgeous costumes! I also love her crown made of metal nails.

  9. “Ok, I’d be hard pressed to believe Stewart can inspire a four-people book club, let alone an entire village to take back her country!”

    HAHA. Great line and review, Ruth. I think I will be passing on this one then unless I am real hard up for a new movie.

    • Thanks for reading my review so closely, Eric! I think you’re the only one who commented on it and I was hoping someone would notice :D I’d say just rent this one if you’re only mildly interested.

  10. Good review Ruth. It seems like it’s a consensus that the movie looks great but otherwise doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm for itself. It’s disappointing because the trailers were great and I was looking forward to this. Oh well, it will be a rental ;)

  11. I didn’t know that Ian McShane was in this film it may make me rent it at least.
    I viewed 3 films myself over the Jubilee weekend and there were as follows.

    Incendies – a Canadian french film set in the Middle East a mind altering film which for a vast part of it was unecessary violence. A story of a mother and her twins which goes back and forth in time and wreaks havoc on what you think is normal and what isn’t.
    Makes me glad to live in a modern society without these kind of rules used to oppress and demean women whether this is a true to life story or not.
    It will certainly leave you a little shell shocked more than from the beginning but great acting by all concerned.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1255953/

    The Guard
    Funny film about an Irish police guard played by Brendan Gleason who is not your average copper and was very glad this time Don Cheadle was not trying on an English accent as he played an American FBI agent. Mainly an offshoot from a short haunting film with a few familiar faces. Mark Strong who played Darcy in 95′ also played many villains certainly is one here. It was a shame they cut so many bits out or changed them but I do recommend a viewing.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1540133/

    Albert Nobbs
    Where do I start? All is not what it seems and thought Janet McTeer was more convincing as a woman playing a man than Glen Close. As Janet reminded me of Gabriel Byrne. It was interesting the kinship between the two characters. Three of ” The Commitments” ladies were in this film as well as Brendan Gleeson and Pauline Collins were the real stars.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1602098/

    • Yeah, I had no idea Ian McShane was in it either until I saw the film, it was a pleasant surprise but dismayed that he wasn’t utilzed to this capability.

      Oh I really want to see The Guard, looks sooo funny and I do like Brendan Gleeson. Hope to rent that soon. I’m curious about Albert Nobbs but my hubby said Glenn Close’s look creeps him out, ahah.

  12. Great review, Ruth. Can’t say I disagree with you on anything you wrote.

    This line you wrote made me LOL: “I’d be hard pressed to believe Stewart can inspire a four-people book club, let alone an entire village to take back her country!” Unfortunately, that’s very, very true.

    I almost felt like the film was inspired a little bit by Ever After. There’s this happy time when the princess is happy with her father, the father dies, and then the evil wife takes over. Just made me think of that movie a little bit :)

    • Hi Kristin! Glad to see you today, thanks for meeting me, I had fun chattin’ with you!

      Thank you for the kind words. I couldn’t help talk about Kristen’s lack of believability in that speech, she’s just so terrible.

      Oh yeah now that you mentioned it, it does have a similar storyline with Ever After. I thought Drew Barrymore’s accent was terrible in that one and she’s a bit miscast, but at least she’s got a personality to make up for it a bit.

  13. Omg!!! Its like I wrote this!!! Saw it last night, when she jumped off the cliff my hubby & I were like…, Twilight? & who the heck is the deer…and why? And then she YELLED at the villiage ppl, not inspiring at all. And how can NE one say Kristen (with those teeth, & expressions) say she is fairer than Charlize??? I am still very confused by this movie….I couldnt stand her as Bella, and now she ruined Snow white. One plus, at least there was some eye candy. ; )

    • Hi Tessa, welcome to FC! Glad you agree with my review. Yeah, some scenes remind me of Twilight because of Kristen’s acting. And that deer is pretty but pointless, ahah. At least the two male cast were nice to look at though, you’re right.

  14. I completely agree about Stewart, I’m really curious how she got famous in the first place it baffles me! However I did like the white deer scene. It’s suppose to be The magical white stag. Not a well known legend/myth but it’s out there. He’s essentially the protector if the forest, he is life, and he is very sacred. The dwarf was saying that about Snow White, that she is life. That’s why the stag was blessing her.

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