Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Now I'm sure I've already mentioned that I work in social media, and get to attend the odd early film screening, and even sometimes if I'm good enough, the odd premiere.

Recently I've been working on Snow White and the Huntsman (c-click) so got to attend the premiere in Leicester Square. The whole cast was there all looking beautiful (Chris Hemsworh- humana!) but what really mattered was the film.

Plot wise, SWATH for the most part remains faithful to the Grimm's original story, albeit with a few ommissions and additions. We still have the evil Queen, superbly played by the perfectly cast Charlize Theron, the Prince in a far more stripped down role, the dwarves, a nod to the beauty of nature and a poisoned apple. But we are also given battle scenes which wouldn't be out of place in Lord of the Rings, stunning costumes, visual effects which blow you away and such well decorated sets that you could well have opened up a Grimm fairy tale and jumped right into the spine.

The scene is set within the first 10 minutes as we are plunged into a rollercoaster of scene setting events. The King, devastated by the loss of his wife, heads into battle to protect his Kingdom. It is here that he meets an attractive prisoner, whom without too much faffing around, he quickly marries to crown her Queen Ravena. On their wedding night Ravena wastes no time in murdering her new husband, and overtaking the castle. Men.

Supported by her insubordinate brother, she wastes no time in imprisoning Snow White into a tower whilst she takes over the Kingdom. Years pass and a magic mirror lets it be known that Queen Ravena is no longer the fairest in the land, but Snow White is. Desperate to regain some beauty she calls for Snow White to be brought to her, an opportunity which Snow White wastes no time in taking advantage of to ditch the castle and run for freedom. And run she does! The remainder of the movie is a wild goose chase as Snow White continues to run away from her old life, to where I'm not quite sure, but befriending the Huntsman, a magical deer, some dwarves and a whole tribe of people, along the way.

Already we can see that this is a darker take on the Disney version, there's certainly no Whistle While You Work here. And Snow White certainly doesn't stumble into the forest, happening to conviently bump into a house of friendly dwarfs. Her escape involves climbing through sewer, risking life and limb, a haunted forest (okay that ones the same) and a hazardous horse ride to boot, something she fiercely takes in her stride as she keeps on running.

After the opening 10 minute romp, things start to slow a bit which for me is where things started to wain. Kristen Stewart, whilst she's adored by every Twi-hard going, I don't think has the ability to really give Snow White the balls she needed. Facially she alludes dullness and surliness, clearly not taking this as the opportunitiy it could have been to finally break free from the Twilight type cast, and even placing her on the back of a horse in a suit of armour wasn't enough to make it wholely believable. The message was there, unfortunately the execution was not.

Contrastly, the performances of Charlize Theron- Queen Ravena- and Chris Hemsworth -the drunken Huntsman- make up for what Kristen lacks. With Theron the Evil Queen is wholely believable, her ruthless desire to be all powerful and her willingness to sacrifice everything to get there is exuded effortlessly, and particularly her claw like nails piercing a sparrows heart make for a chilling performance. Chris Hemsworth similarly seems to have come into his own from his days as Thor. His altercation with a troll and the subtly of his gradually increasing longing for Snow White really give his performance weight.

Just as the film is becoming less compelling, the visual effects kick in to really get your attention. The eight dwarves (unfortunately one is lost) as played by some superb British talent, including Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Brian Gleeson, Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Johnny Harris and Eddie Marsan, and digitally shrunken to great effect, lead Snow White  to an enchanting fairyland. Here mushrooms open their eyes, forest animals scamper in the mid distance, fairies frollick, and a great white stag stands proud. Director Rupert Sanders, does his utmost to keep the plot going.

Unfortunately it isn't quite enough, and the final altercation between Snow White and the Queen comes around 15 minutes too late to be really appreciated.The film ends predictably, with the door wide open for a sequel, but without causing me to feel compelled to return and see what happens.

In what seems like a sea of rebooted fairytales, Snow White and the Huntsman certainly holds its own. It's entertaining, interesting, visually stunning and witty, but is it truly great? Close but no cigar.


  1. great review! i went to the cinema to watch it on friday. in my opinion it was okaaay... but i didn't really like it. i'm so bad in expressing lol. and omg you got the chance to meet Chris Hemsworh!! <3

    1. Ha, thanks Nee! I've seen lots of people saying it didn't quite live up to expectations. It was a bit of a mixed bag but I definitely enjoyed! x

  2. can`t wait to see this movie! xx