Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted June 2, 2012 by in


Total Score

4/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: fantasy
Director: Rupert Sanders
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
Length: 127 minutes
Release Date: 6/1/2012
Studio: Roth Films, Universal Pictures
What We Thought

Grimm’s Fairy Tales are both dark and wondrous, and this film is faithful to that spirit. If Jakob and Wilhelm were alive today, I’d bet you they’d be smiling throughout it.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) comes to the throne through witchcraft and treachery, murdering the rightful king Magnus.  The land falls into darkness and decay.  Time passes.
     One day, her magic mirror tells her that there is one in the kingdom fairer than she, and it is because of her that the Queen’s powers are fading.  The mirror further tells her that if she takes her heart, she will become immortal.  That someone is Snow White (Kristen Stewart), the king’s daughter and rightful heir, whom she’s kept locked in a tower till now.  She sends her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) to take her heart right from her chest, but Snow White escapes, losing the queen’s men in the Dark Forest.
     Furious, Ravenna seeks the aid of Eric (Chris Hemsworth), a huntsman and grieving widower.  The Queen promises the huntsman she’ll bring his wife back to life if he can find Snow White.  When he does, he discovers that he’s been tricked.  Snow White and the Huntsman flee together, pursued by the Queen’s men.  The pair must survive a world of magic and danger, and find a way to defeat the Queen.
     Visually, Snow White and the Huntsman is stunning, evocative of fairy tales of old.  The Dark Forest is nightmarish, filled with terrors both real and of the imagination.  The Queen ages in seconds before our eyes, going from the flawless, smooth skin of youth to the faints traces of wrinkles of someone  approaching midlife—the effect is impressive because of its subtlety.  The film’s centerpiece though is The Sanctuary, a lush, green fairy forest inhabited by friendly creatures.  If you can imagine the forest from Princess Mononoke existing in real life, this is what it would look like.  The visual effects work is amazing, creating a fantastic yet believable world, and Snow White and the Huntsman is all the more enchanting for it.
     First time director Rupert Sanders creates intense chase scenes, as the Queen’s men pursue Snow White.  The film is balanced out with moments of levity from Hemsworth, showing the same gift for physical comedy as he did in Thor.  Stewart doesn’t look the part, but she is able to project the innocence and compassion the role needs.  After all, what makes Snow White fairer than the Queen is not mere looks, but something more.  Most of all, Theron as Queen Ravenna is menacing with a hint of madness, creating a memorable screen villain.
     I enjoyed Snow White immensely, and found myself smiling throughout, so I’m reluctant to mention its flaws.  However, I didn’t feel as engaged with the climax as I should have been considering its scale, and that it just doesn’t payoff to what it builds towards.  This is largely because the characters in the battle are introduced late in the story, and their individual personalities aren’t explored.  I didn’t care what happens to them, and Snow White herself gets lost in the shuffle.  Furthermore, the story hits some tired beats late in the film, making for a rote third act.
     Even so, I was under Snow White‘s spell.  It tells the classic battle between good and evil, and I felt the same magic of Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings in Snow White and the Huntsman.  While it may be too scary for young children, it is exactly what it should be.  Grimm’s Fairy Tales are both dark and wondrous, and this film is faithful to that spirit.  If Jakob and Wilhelm were alive today, I’d bet you they’d be smiling throughout it, too.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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