Snow White and the Huntsman had a lot to live up to for us moviegoers after we saw the epic trailer that gave everyone chills. Did it deliver? In short, no. The script needed more, and the casting just needed to be different. While the film is entertaining, it spends most of its time dancing on the precipice of what could have been great. It’s challenging to ignore all the issues when you can clearly see the vision for what the film should have been.
Snow White and the Huntsman delivers a slightly different version of the fairy tale that Disney made popular in 1937. In this version, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the chosen one – the only one who can save the land from the age-defying evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Escaping from the prison tower the Queen has kept her in for what appears to be about a decade, Snow White has grand visions of defeating the Queen and restoring the kingdom to the land it was… before the Queen murdered her father.
Right before Snow White’s escape, The Queen learns that with Snow White’s heart, she can obtain immortality and forever be young and beautiful. In the pursuit of beauty, the Queen hires a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to retrieve Snow White. Only things don’t go exactly as the Queen plans, and Snow White returns to the kingdom with a rather large army. It’s avenging time!
Kristen Stewart is stunning in the role of Snow White. Her beauty and raw innocence which she delivers to the role fits the character perfectly. However, when Snow White is supposed to step up and be a bad ass – Stewart just can’t deliver. The director seems to be somewhat aware of this too as he tries to avoid too many fight scenes with Stewart as the focus. Smart move… Though, what we do see of her trying to be a strong female lead seems forced and painfully contrived.
I also couldn’t help but remember that Viggo Mortensen was originally up for the role of the Huntsman. I’m so glad this casting didn’t go through for a number of reasons. First, Mortensen is far too seasoned of an actor for this film. Secondly, the age difference would not have been believable at all as the Huntsman is a love interest for Snow White. And lastly, the look of Mortensen in this role would have been too similar to that of Aragorn in Lord Of The Rings, which I think would have made it even more apparent that the type of film they wanted this to be… well it just didn’t happen.
Chris Hemsworth does a fine job at being the emotionally-damaged, big tough guy that the role of the Huntsman requires, and Charlize Theron does as much with the role of the Queen as she can. I’d even venture to say that these roles were cast perfectly, but still something falls flat. It’s pretty clear that Snow White and the Huntsman was intended to be Snow White inspired by Lord of the Rings and Game Of Thrones, and while the film certainly feels deceivingly epic in parts – there are just too many elements missing for any sort of real epicness to be achieved..
There are a number of films based on fairy tales that are currently in development. Some of the will probably mirror the epic scope that Snow White And The Huntsman went for, while others will aim to tone down the seriousness such as this spring’s Mirror Mirror. But one thing is for certain, they probably won’t be able to hold a candle to the sheer cinematographic beauty that this film delivers. You could freeze any frame of this movie and it’d make a beautiful work of art. Whether it’s the colder scenes of battle or the vivid colors of the fairies’ forest, the film is visually stunning from beginning to end.
There’s a number of awesome special features though on the Blu-ray release for the fans who enjoyed the movie- Featurettes like Reinventing the Fairy Tale, Citizens of the Kingdom, a 360 degree tour of the set, commentary, and more.
All in all, I enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman in spite of what I wish it could have been, and I owe a lot of that to the cinematography. I love epic adventure movies, and perhaps the bar has been set to high by masterpieces like The Lord of the Rings trilogy…. but there was just too much missing for Snow White and the Huntsman not to feel like a failed attempt at that genre.
Review By: Emma Loggins
Snow White And The Huntsman is out on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack on September 11!