Whether it’s as close as our television screen or at the box office, fairy tales are making a triumphant comeback – and I love this. Earlier this year, the Snow White legend already tried its hand at the Grimm legend. Brought to the big-screen by universal with ambitions of being a trilogy, this version may have the big-name stars, beautiful special effects and the costumes, but I’m not sure it will win over the masses.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) Film Review
One walk through the gardens and a wish from a beloved queen sets into motion a powerful destiny that predestines fame of one woman and the undoing of another. Gaining all the power in the land is what the powerful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) wants. Her plans to draw out a grieving king work, and now she has him just where she wants him. Marrying the king to get the kind of prestige she so desires is only one part of her evil plan. The second is his murder in their wedding bed. Once she wears the crown, she banishes his small daughter to the dungeon and rules without fear. For many years, Ravenna has everything she wants; beauty, the fear of the people and a kingdom and yet, she’s despondent.
Whispers of being the second “fairest of all” to another makes Ravenna furious with rage. For ten years Snow White (Kristen Stewart) lives with the knowledge that the queen murdered her father. Now fate offers her escape. Not wanting anything to stand in her way of the crown, Ravenna sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after the girl. But as with every fairy tale, nothing goes according to plan.
This isn’t how we often picture the usual legend of this fairy tale. Universal’s take on Snow White is captivating to say the least. One of the most interest things is that the titular heroine gets less screen time than the murderous villain. That says something. I love to despise villains, but her presence being this is intense is still curious. This version has a lot going for it that the first Snow White (Mirror Mirror) doesn’t, but is it enough?Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron star in Universal's ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (2012) #FWarchives #Fairytale Click To Tweet
Instead of cute dwarves, this one is more about the bond of an executioner and his prey. Kind of grim, right? Perhaps but in reality it’s more realistic of its original telling. I prefer lighter fairy tale fare, but I can appreciate filmmakers trying to show the story in a new way. Not only do I love the twist that is Snow White and the Huntsman, I also don’t expect it given the presence of Snow’s childhood sweetheart William (Sam Claflin). Mainly the story consists of everything we know but it uses a unique approach to the material and it often yields stunning results.
The score is breathtaking and the scenery indescribable. These gorgeous landscapes provide a visual story for our imagination. Likewise costuming is stunning. Designed by Oscar winner Colleen Atwood, the sheer genius of the designs makes the movie more of a visual masterpiece than it already is. Charlize is the one who has the most costume changes and she looks darn regal albeit evil in each ensemble. But let’s move on from the glitter, and onto the question everyone poses: How is the acting? Naturally, Theron and Hemsworth rock their roles! Just as I suspect they would. Charlize gives us a villain to detest while Chris’ natural protectiveness of a young innocent is noble to the core. There is really nothing more to say about their acting because they prove to be the pros they are. The big debate is Kristen Stewart, and whether or not she pulls it off.
I won’t fib – I don’t like Stewart. To her credit, she does a decent “princess-ly” damsel. Her acting relies a lot on expressions and sometimes I want her to have more gumption (instead she aimlessly wonders the “dark forest” gasping in fear) but I give her credit for what she does in the end. Honestly, I didn’t expect her to give as good of a performance as she does; she and Hemsworth share a sweet, genuine if not dynamic chemistry (one of the best scenes is when he’s pouring out his heart to a lifeless Snow). However the contempt she should have for Ravenna is just not there.
Should producers pursue a sequel, I’d like to see Kristen return and prove that she has what it takes to make a memorable Snow White because this go-round makes me think that maybe she could do the role justice. Maybe not perfection (it does lag a time or two) but this film is beautiful. Its open-ended conclusion is a bit frustrating but that last gaze may say more than we think plus promise of a second movie will have to pacify those of us who uncovered the forming of a finely faceted jewel in this fantasy’s lover’s dream.
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CONTENT: Many sequences are dark and feature creatures who pose a serious threat. There is a terrifying forest scene in which trees and rocks come alive and roots become snakes. Swords and arrows are driven through soldiers, many die; a woman walks through fire and survives and also transforms into many different shapes or beings. Ravenna teases her new husband in her wedding finery on their wedding night before she drives a dagger into his heart; another man fondles a frightened Snow [he caresses her clothed body]. We also see a woman sink into a white liquid naked [a backside shot] and emerge with her hands carefully covering her breasts. This is PG13.