Snow White and the Huntsman
- Kristen Stewart as Snow White
- Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman
- Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna
- Sam Claflin as William
- Sam Spruell as Finn
- Ian McShane as Beith
- Bob Hoskins as Muir
- Toby Jones as Coll
- Ray Winstone as Gort
A dark and stormy twist on the Snow White tale, Snow White and the Huntsman brings the tale to life with style. Yet for all that, a sometimes dragging narrative and questionable casting stop it from becoming a complete success.
Once upon a time, a King and Queen live in a prosperous kingdom. The Queen gives birth to a princess who is named Snow White. Sadly, the Queen dies and the King is left in a web of grief. Invading forces attack and the King goes to battle, eventually destroying the mysterious army. Among the dead, he discovers a beautiful woman by the name of Ravenna. Besotted with her beauty, the King hastily marries her. But he doesn’t realise that Ravenna is in fact a twisted and vengeful sorceress. Ravenna murders the King and brings her dark forces to the kingdom, which causes everything to wither into darkness and hopelessness. Ravenna is obsessed with remaining young and beautiful and as a result locks Snow White away in a tower. She retains her youth by draining the life force of young girls and then consulting with her magic mirror. When the mirror tells her that Snow White is the fairest, Ravenna descends into rage and plots her death. Meanwhile, Snow White sees an opportunity to escape and manages to. The young princess finds herself in the Dark Forest, which is feared by everyone. Enraged, Ravenna summons a drunken Huntsman to track her down. The Huntsman has no interest in helping the evil queen at first, but when she promises to bring his deceased wife back to him, he agrees. Venturing into the woods, he tracks Snow White and when it is revealed that Ravenna has tricked him, joins forces with the princess. They find themselves tracked by the Queen’s forces and journey deeper into the ravaged land. There they come across a band of dwarfs who were loyal to her father and William, a young nobleman with whom Snow White was friends with as a child. As she is the King’s daughter, she must be the one to lead the rebellion against Ravenna and take back the kingdom for good once and for all.
Debuting director Rupert Sanders bring a whole lot of style and panache to this film. Instead of a quaint fairy tale that has been done a thousand times, he delves into the dark heart of the story and brings the Gothic nature of it into view. The set design is absolutely sublime, with The Dark Forest being the highlight of an impressive array of visual splendour with moody colour scheme and creepy effects. The costumes are fantastic, especially in the case of Ravenna, who dresses to kill both metaphorically and literally. It’s great to see a different take on Snow White as a character. Here she is an innocent girl who transforms into a Joan of Arc style warrior leading men into battle. This is a far cry from the winsome and fawning portrayals of the eponymous princess we have seen. And yet there lies part of the problem with Snow White and the Huntsman, it can’t quite makes its mind up of what it wants to be. On one hand we have the effective dark fantasy with a few tweaks here and there. But by altering some of the classic story, the passion is lost. There is supposed to be passion between Snow White and the Huntsman, and even something of a love triangle with William, yet it curiously falls flat. And a middle section that drags at a snail’s pace does the movie no favours. Thankfully, the thundering musical score conjures up some striking moments of drama and magic.
Kristen Stewart portrays Snow White and I must say, is not really that memorable or good in the part. She nails the gloomy stance in the beginning quite well, but seems incapable of escaping this open-mouthed stare and emotionless drudge. Stewart doesn’t convince either when it comes to the growth of the character throughout the narrative. I can’t help but feel that if someone else where in the part, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Chris Hemsworth fares much better as the Huntsman, by carefully bringing a worn-out persona and lonely existence to this brutish man. Yet the real fireworks come from a superb Charlize Theron. Portraying Ravenna as a woman consumed by fear, hatred and no mercy, she is marvellous when she takes the floor and vents her fury. Possessing that imperial gaze and glint of eye, Theron makes what could have been a stock character very interesting and arresting by showing us her back story and why she is the way she is. Sam Claflin doesn’t register that well as Snow White’s friend from childhood, but Sam Spruell sends shivers down the spine as Ravenna’s too close for comfort brother. The acting talents of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones and Ray Winstone add dashes of humour to the proceedings as the dwarfs.
Snow White and The Huntsman may be stylish and a visual marvel, there’s just something missing because of the unevenness in tone and lack of passion to balance things out. Saying that, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than Mirror, Mirror.