Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

It’s funny how two live action movies based on the story of Snow White got theatrical releases this year – namely Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.  That kind of symmetry takes me back to 1990 when two movies about Lambada (Lambada and The Forbidden Dance) were released or the year 1992 when Hollywood went gaga for Christopher Columbus with 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.  I can’t speak to Mirror, Mirror because I didn’t see it, but I can tell you that Snow White and the Huntsman shares something else in common with the four aforementioned films; that it is very mediocre.

This movie is rife with problems none larger than Kristen Stewart.  There’s no way to mince words here.  She is a bad actress.  I know I’m not the first person to write this and I will definitely not be the last, but who knew that the highest paid actress in 2012 was as sullen and apathetic onscreen as she appears to be off screen.  This is a real revelation to me because I have completely steered clear of all her work – especially Twilight.  Casting her as the epitome of innocence and beauty as well as a beacon of hope is an incredible stretch that cripples the movie.

The problems don’t stop there.  The plot of the film is uneven – almost schizophrenic.  At times director Rupert Sanders’ film plays like a re-imagining of the story with a harder edge and gritty action, but almost in that same breadth it bends over backwards to incorporate the most trivial and extraneous aspects of the original fairy tale.  This duality leaves the film feeling like a patchwork effort rather than a complete narrative. 

Charlize Theron however does rise above the muck to turn in a strong performance as Ravenna.  There is a genuine sense of rage and fragility wrapped around narcissism that brings Theron’s character to life and makes her scenes in the film the most interesting to watch.  Bob Hoskins and Ian McShane are decent as dwarfs in very limited screen time.   As for the would be paramours of Snow White - namely  Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin as The Huntsman and William respectively - both their performances are neutral and muted but this has as much to do with Stewart’s performance as anything else.  To say that neither had any romantic chemistry with her would be a gross understatement.  Hemsworth's and Claflin's best work can be found in the action sequences, which unfortunately lacked great choreography and cinematography – as if they were mere pit stops on the way to more scenes loaded with Kristen Stewart's apathy.

This one is hard for me to recommend.  I actually wanted to like this movie and had high hopes for it, having enjoyed Chris Hemsworth in Thor as well as countless Charlize Theron performances.  As you watch the film, you can see what it could have been – a brisk, visually stunning, action-packed narrative, but sadly it amounts to nothing more than a bad movie starring a bad actress.  Under just the right circumstances, this is a TNT/TBS/FX/USA movie, but in reality it’s really a no-go.  Sadly, this is the second Charlize Theron movie that has been a disappointment this summer (though she hardly is to blame).  Hopefully, she finds better luck in her next outing – Mad Max: Fury Road.

Standout Performance: Charlize Theron and her rage infused narcissism act as the lone bright spot in an otherwise pedestrian production.


  1. Didn’t do wonders for me like I would have hoped for but I still enjoyed myself with this direction and just how damn dark and gritty everything was. However, the story the story could have been a lot better and featured a lot more tension than it initially gives off. Nice review.