Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

NEW REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted by Max Lalanne on June 1, 2012

When you think about it, Snow White and the Huntsman was one awfully ambitious project to pull off for first-time director Rupert Sanders – and the disappointing thing for someone like me who was eagerly anticipating this film, is that it really shows that the guy was slightly over his head handling a film of this sort. Full of richly imagined, breathtakingly gorgeous, hyper-stylized visuals that apparently only a previous creator of high-end commercials for the likes of Nike and Adidas can summon up, all that glorious and thrilling eye-candy only serve in retrospect to give us momentary respite from the under-developed script that seriously undermines the promising movie, Snow White and the Huntsman could’ve been. (Hint to Universal: Maybe the flawed screenplay is the result of having at least three credited writers – Evan Dougherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini – tinkering with your movie?) Let’s face it, Snow White and the Huntsman is not a bad movie, but how good is it really when the first 2-minute trailer released quite a while ago, turns out to be better than the whole movie itself?

In Snow White and the Huntsman, Charlize Theron has the showiest role of playing the age-obsessed, dangerously over-the-top, psychotic Evil Queen Ravenna which either has her violently screaming at the top of her lungs or stalking around her castle with generically menacing death threats dripping from her mouth. Ooh, she’s a nasty lady all right. The subject of these vehemently demented rants? Kristen Stewart, that’s who – she almost manages to cast off the curse of these Twilight movies, but is sadly undermined by thankless dialogue which prompts bumpy, awkwardly self-pretentious acting which plague, in fact, almost all the major players in this film. As the titular heroine Snow White we first see her imprisoned in a grimy castle tower, ever since Ravenna sneakily murdered her father when she was just a little girl. By one way or another, though, Snow White escapes and blindly stumbles her way into the Dark Forest, which leads Ravenna’s forced “recruitment” of the swarthy, drunken Huntsman (Chris Hemworth) to hunt her down.

This is a rather good premise, and while the story has somewhere to go to and the action keeps moving Snow White and the Huntsman is all enjoyable, epic fun. What happens next though – the Huntsman joins Snow White’s budding one-girl rebellion, they meet up with the Seven Dwarves (led by Ian McShane), Snow White also reunites with her escaped childhood friend, Prince William (Sam Clafin) and his small army, and everything all-too-soon tumbles towards an unsatisfactory quick and unsensational ending of totally non-epic proportions – is too lazy and happy where it’s at to be a truly entertaining, mini-Lord of the Rings epic. But oh, does it visually try. Everything from Snow White on a white horse, hair in the wind, escaping from mounted black-armored guards (Arwen in Fellowship of the Ring, anybody?) to our scraggly team of heroes wearily trekking across a Middle-Earth-like landscape (pick any film from the trilogy) to the final battle (a lame mash-up between The Two Towers‘ Battle of Helm’s Deep and Return of the King‘s Battle of Pelennor Fields) screams wanna-be comparison, making the striking “imagination” of Snow White and the Huntsman, so damn important in a visually-dependent movie of this sort, unfortunately all the less compelling.

Snow White and the Huntsman: B-

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