Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

I was hoping to do a Compare/Contrast type of review between Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman but I never got around seeing the former and I didn’t feel like waiting for the latter to hit DVDs before reviewing it . Should I review Mirror Mirror I may revisit this post. For now let’s take a look and judge this film on its own.

Anyway as I’ve said before I think people are too hard on Kristen Stewart because, like Robert Pattinson, she’s the public face of the Twilight franchise. I still haven’t seen any of the Twilight films but I’ve seen her in The Cake Eaters, The Runaways, and Welcome to the Rileys and she was decent in all of them. I’m not saying she’s the greatest thespian in Hollywood but she has a fair range and is well above the line of terrible (Pattinson has yet to do anything for me). Seriously, she’s a whole hell of a lot better actress than January Jones (who I’m convinced with a name like that and her sub-par acting was actually meant to become a porn star but somehow her destiny went array and she broke into mainstream acting instead). And that’s the important thing.

Her latest non-Twilight film is a gritty fantasy adaption of the classic Snow White which seems kind of bizarre but not as novel as it would have been a few years ago. In fact gritty re-imagining of Fairy Tales is pretty much the norm these days. The film has done surprisingly well its opening weekend but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a piece of crap.

Full review after the jump.


Meh, she's easy on the eyes if nothing else
After the death of his wife King Magnus and his army do battle with a mysterious Dark Army, rescuing the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) in the process. Falling in love he marries her but she almost immediately murders him, revealing herself to be a powerful magic user, and conquers the kingdom with her true army. Magnus’ daughter, Snow White (Stewart), is locked in a tower for years afterwards. However, right after Ravanna learns she needs to consume the girl’s heart to keep her powers, Snow White escapes to the dark forest. As a last resort a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who knows the forest is contracted to bring her back.

The best thing about this movie, by far, is that it looks great. From the effects with Ravenna’s magic to the world itself the movie is gorgeous. I was especially enamored with Sanctuary, the home of the fairies, which is a really cool looking place with some really cool looking creatures. Overall this is an interesting world and I really enjoyed seeing it explored. I also liked the re imagined Dwarves. I liked their look, I liked what little background we got from them and I liked how they used them. They needed to be brought in a lot sooner than they were; the film flows noticeably better when they finally show up.

Hunt, hunt, hunt; HE'S THE HUNTSMAN!
The film suffers from a number of…I don’t want to say “major” problems but lots of noticeable issues that keep it from reaching its full potential. What bothered me the most about this film was its plot. It’s not bad, exactly, but it’s a standard “by the numbers” affair. It’s the “Dorothy Gale Plot”; a young hero caught in a situation they were forced into goes on an epic journey, making loyal allies on the way, and end up becoming a savior of the world. I don’t mind this plot, it’s a fine plot, but it makes the actual story of the film kind of boring and predictable. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before even though I clearly haven’t. Sometimes this isn’t a con for me but in this case it bugged me, probably because I really like the world presented here and I’m disappointed that the script doesn’t provide me with an original plot to go along with it.

The cast is similarly flat. Not bad exactly but there just isn’t nearly enough depth going on with the characters for things to really appeal to me. There are hints of greatness with the characters but we just don’t get to know any of them enough to care. Snow White was particularly annoying because they didn’t really take the time to really examine what and who she is, even though she’s the lead. For example it’s said she’d been locked in a tower for years. If so it would have been nice if we got some scenes where she got to experience the outside world she’d been hidden away from all that time. Hell, she would have to be noticeably antisocial, or at least socially awkward, since it’s doubtful she had many people to talk to during her years of incarceration. It would have helped a lot because she is pretty dull, save for one typical fantasy “Let’s Go to War” speech.

As far as the acting goes they’re fine in the sense that they do the best they can with a weak script. I don’t think there’s much to complain about the performances, though Charlize Theron is chewing the scenery like it’s bubblegum and it’s pretty damn amusing (as is her character’s bag of crazy). There is a superfluous love story, of course, and it’s not resolved by the end of the film. The only reason it’s even here is because the Snow White fairly tale’s pivotal scene is the girl in a coma awakened by a kiss by the handsome prince so they needed to recreate it here and thus set up for it. But it’s so unnecessary and forced and actually doesn’t make any sense (the two lovebirds have no reason in the world to be in love with each other).

HERE COMES THE HAAAAM!!!
Also why did Ravanna keep Snow White alive all this time? I know she needs the girl’s heart but she finds that out years after she first locks her up. At the very least why didn’t she consume her youth like she did with every other girl in the kingdom?

I liked this movie but I’m pretty sure that the reason lies with how pretty it is and that naturally susceptible to sword and sorcery-type fantasy stories. Plus it does have a female lead character who is clearly the hero, which is always good. However at the end of the day it's a movie that doesn't bother going the extra mile to be anything special or remarkable. It has all the tools but it just doesn't use them properly, which is a shame. It’s not great, not terrible; check it out if you’re into low-thinking summer popcorn films.

It's like Princess Mononoke but without the wolves
(Or, you know, the emotional connection)
I give Snow White and the Huntsman 3 Adorable Pandas out of 5.


Pros

-It looks great

-The world is interesting

-Strong Female Lead

Cons

-Weak plot that we've seen before

-Flat characters

-Overall sub-par script

5 comments:

  1. I'd have given it a 2/5, and only because I've recently seen worse. It did at least look really good, but, wow, that script needed a complete re-write.

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    1. Understandable. I saw your review and I totally see your point of view. Like I said in the review I'm partial to this genre(fantasy w/ swords) and I did enjoy myself while watching it so I gave it an average score. Plus as bad as things got here it's still better than Dark Shadows.

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    2. "Still better than Dark Shadows"? Gah, that makes me even gladder I decided not to see that one. I've finally gotten off my butt and have started watching the 1991 Dark Shadows. No sign yet of Carolyn turning into a werewolf in that one.

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  2. What bothered me most were Snow coming out of that tower with perfect mental health and perfect teeth, and the love trifecta with Snow's true love being the drunk she didn't even know. Meh. I loved Charlize though, and her brother surprised me and stole the show sometimes. I gave the movie a B, mostly because it was pretty. Great review!

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    1. Thanks. And your points are right on, though I think for me the brother and his relationship with the Queen was a bit too underdeveloped for me to care about. Just another problem with this movie.

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