Thursday, June 7, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Review

Kristin Stewart and Chris Hemsworth in Snow White and the Huntsman

Film Grade: C+

Hollywood is just bursting with creativity these days, with all these remakes. At least with the remake of Disney’s happy, lighthearted Snow White, filmmakers have given audiences a more Grimm feel (no pun intended) to Snow White and the Huntsman – certainly a welcome change.

The main plot is generally the same: evil but beautiful witch rules the land, wants to kill Snow White (a very blank Kristin Stewart) in a fit of jealous rage. Even more welcome, however, is the addition of the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth. He’s got enough brawn for several men, but still has the gentleness of a gentleman. (The prince still makes an appearance, but is frankly overshadowed by Huntsman. Let's be honest.)

The film is visually stunning. Ravenna, the evil queen played by the over-sexualized Charlize Theron, is fit with beautiful costumes that change almost as much as her moods. The furry faeries, the woodsy trolls and the queen’s dark army also boast of the film’s special effects abilities.

I also applaud the film’s effort; Huntsman had the potential to be epic, but in the end, fell flat. First of all, the romance between Huntsman and Snow White had great potential to be the heart and soul of the film, but the characters weren’t given enough time and space in the script to develop more. Second, Kristin Stewart just cannot act. The scene where she bites the apple was like a flashback to Twilight when she was bitten by a vampire. She teared up at random moments. She had the daunting task of having to rally men with a speech that was supposed to be arousing, but just ended up sounding like a series of squeaks.

In the end, the movie focused entirely on Charlize Theron. Most of the scenes were devoted to her steamy scheming, writhing, screaming or just standing there, being beautiful. While Theron’s acting, given the script’s limits, did a fine job, it didn’t give the film the depth it needed.

Overall, the film was entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the Huntsman, who gave all the funny lines and was the only one NOT obsessed with Snow White. The special effects were also worth the viewing, from an artistic standpoint. As a story though, there was much to be desired. The screenwriters couldn’t make up their minds whether they should keep the same innocent, gentle Snow White that we all know, or to turn her into Joan of Arc – and with Kristin Stewart, that definitely didn’t work.

What I thought most interesting was that the film showcased how Ravenna was driven to evil by her jealousy and lust for beauty, a vice she blamed on having to please men all her life. This jealousy literally sucked the life out of  the country’s people and landscape. In contrast, Snow White was pure, gentle and innocent; she did not allow Ravenna’s evil to shroud her pure outlook. Wherever Snow White went, life followed.

I'd say it's a pretty good reminder that purity and innocence trumps jealousy and lust - a relevant theme in our day when people are obsessed with looking younger. 

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