Movie Review: “Snow White and the Huntsman”- A Visual Marvel… with Battle Scars

Written by Ethan Butler June 03, 2012

In addition to the rise in output of darker, more gritty superhero films there has also been a rise in the release of re-imagining’s of classic fairy tale films. In 2012 alone two films based on the tale of Snow White have been released, one is easily forgettable, the other is not. “Snow White and the Huntsman” is at times devastatingly dark, and then stunningly beautiful in its imagery, a true visual marvel. In keeping with my desire to not reveal any major spoilers pertaining to the films plot I will instead just give you a basic idea of what the film is about. In this dark re-imaging of the classic tale, the evil Queen orders a Huntsman to find and capture Snow White so that the Queen can consume her heart and remain young, and powerful forever. Here’s the kicker though, the Huntsman upon finding Snow White decides not to kill her, but, instead decides to join Snow in her quest to kill the evil Queen, which would bring an end to her poisonous reign.

For his feature film debut Director Rupert Sanders has assembled a very impressive cast which includes acting greats such as Charlize Theron, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, and Toby Jones. In addition, there are the continuously rising stars Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart, and Sam Claflin, and although each actor  gives an admirable performance overall, the script does not provide the most developed characters for them to embody.

 Performance Vs. Character 

It may simply be a case of the immensely impressive visuals overpowering the characters, but after watching the film I came to the realization, that although the characters are provided with some choice moments meant to evoke sympathy from the viewer, I found it hard to truly feel for, and connect with most of them. The script provides some traumatic back story for the characters, but the only ones, aside from the dwarves that provide anything close to a real emotional connection, are the Huntsman (Hemsworth), and to an extent, the character of William (Claflin). This is not a detriment to the actors portraying the other characters, as Theron and Stewart turn in mostly solid performances, but they are just lost in the underdeveloped nature of their characters. Theron is indeed evil, but at times she is a bit over the top, and Stewart is far more convincing playing warrior princess than a damsel in distress. Back to the good stuff though- first off the Dwarves

The Dwarves

The Dwarves of “Snow White and the Huntsman” are without a doubt a highlight of the film. Their very appearance is a work of incredible special effects, as the actors who portray them have their heads seamlessly grafted onto the bodies of their real life dwarf counterparts. Each actor, specifically Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, and Ray Winstone really deliver in making their respective characters funny, gruff, and brave all at once. Some of the film’s finest moments are the dwarves interactions with Snow and the Huntsman, and it is a testament to the ability of the actors portraying them that the dwarves are both entertaining, and endearing. The tone of the film, along with they way it looks, and feels though is very impressive.

 Tone, Look, Feel

One thing that is particularly enjoyable about the film is that it doesn’t make light of its story, and what is at stake. It takes the situations the characters find themselves in seriously, which supports the more adult, and serious tone that the film is trying to achieve. As I previously said the film is a visual marvel, really a wonder to behold. Director Rupert Sanders let’s his imagination loose, and creates some truly beautiful imagery. The medieval sets are impressive, and the dark forest lives up to its name, but it is the “Sanctuary” that is astounding. The “Sanctuary” is a place of innocence, and natural beauty, and Sanders populates it with creatures that share in this essence. 

First time director Rupert Sanders crafts what is overall a fantastic debut, “Snow White and the Huntsman” is filled with entertaining battle sequences, impressive visuals, and more good acting than bad. It only really falters in the character department where Snow and the Queen are the most underdeveloped, and some of the other characters fail to really come alive. In the end “Snow White and the Huntsman” is a good movie, that falls just short of greatness. 

 

My Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

 

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