Jun 1, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Review

A dark and wonderful twist on a classic fairy tale.


Did you know that in the original Cinderella, birds tore the eyes out of the evil step-sisters at the wedding? And in the original Little Red Riding Hood, Red is eaten by the wolf and never saved because she strayed from the path and took a shortcut to grandma's, which she was specifically told not to do. Fairy tales at one time meant something. They were cold, unforgiving stories where evil was beaten and disobedience was punished and no punches were pulled. That is what SWatH was: a terrific epic tale of good emerging triumphant over evil.

In the beginning there was a kingdom. It was a happy little kingdom where the king and queen lived happily. Their joy was increased with the birth of their daughter, who they named Snow White. However, when the queen dies and a new evil one schemes her way into taking over the kingdom, everything pretty much goes to hell. When the queen (Charlize Theron) discovers that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the greatest threat to her power and the key to eternal power and youth, Snow escapes into the dark forest. Needing someone to track her down, the queen hires a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to find her and bring her back. When the huntsman finds Snow, he decides to rebel and attempts to lead Snow to the resistance and put an end to the evil queen's reign.

First off, SWatH looks absolutely fantastic. The setting is spot-on and is obviously high budget, featuring towering castles, horrific forests filled with monsters and other nightmares, and spectacularly woodland glades that remind me of the beauty of Avatar's Pandora.
The CGI is some of the best I've ever seen as well. As you watch the Queen age before your eyes, you never really see an serious change through the sequence, but the end result is clearly different, revealing a massive amount of small detail and intimacy used in the changes in the movie. Then of course there's the monsters. Trolls, faeries, and other mythic creatures do abound and all look excruciatingly detailed and well done. This is one of the best looking movies I've seen in a long time.
As far as acting goes, I hope there's no Twilight fans here, because Kristen didn't live up to film. There was one section of the movie where Snow gives a inspirational speech before leading her troops into battle. Now the writing was very nice and had Chris done the speech I probably would have run outside, found the nearest person to me, and beat the crap out of them. I would have been that ready to fight something. Unfortunately, Kristen isn't really that inspiring, nor is she the symbol of life and purity that Snow White is to portray. I just can't see Kristen in an innocent princess role, so she seemed to stick out the entire time. Not all the acting was bad though: actually, Kristen was the only really bad one I saw, and Chris Hemsworth, as you would expect, did an amazing job with his manly mannish accent really coming out, something that he really couldn't do as Thor. The real acting gem of the film, however, was the queen, Charlize Theron. The queen does a spectacular job of portraying anger, pride, hatred, and a manner of other emotions. I loved her backstory and the emotion she brought to the role. She really did make up for Kristen's uninspiring performance.

There were battle scenes at the beginning and end of the movie, with a few smaller fight scenes thrown in between. There were a few times where the movie slowed down and things got a bit boring, but the battle scenes were incredible. The armor looks authentic, real blows are given and felt and deaths are nice and satisfying. During the slower parts, you can really get to know the characters and the setting. This isn't a glorified fairy tale, with knights in shining armor, where princesses wear dresses and grand castles and structures dot the landscape. The characters are dirty, grimy, and inhabit a world of the same quality. Mud covers the world and the faces of the characters. Most men are unshaven and don't have 200 dollar haircuts. I recall how none of the characters at any time were every really clean (aside from the queen) and the first time we actually see the huntsman he's in a drunken brawl rolling around in the mud.

Overall, Snow White and the Huntsman takes you and places you in a realistic fictional realm filled with amazing scenery, incredible characters (minus Snow), and impeccable effects. I highy enjoyed being taken to a fantasy world which was both believable and fun, and I would recommend this movie to any fan of the fantasy genre.

9/10

Nothing after the credits.

3 comments:

  1. Oh yeah, this is another one of those movies I really need to see... There are several aspects of this that just look totally awesome.

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  2. I'm going to check it out Monday, glad to see that it was good.

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  3. Okay, went and saw it and I have to say I disagree quite vehemently. It's a 6.5 and maybe a 7 if you're feeling generous. It was painfully slow at times, the "battles" were extremely short and lackluster, the story is telegraphed from a mile away and it doesn't even finish one or two of it's plot lines. The whole love triangle is left unresolved, although it's a safe bet as to who she'd end up with. There was also a very WTF moment that the movie quickly threw in at the last moment but doesn't explain.

    William was pretty cool in the few "I'm doing my best Hawkeye impression" bow and arrow scenes, but other than that I was highly disappointed. You know all the coll and amazing things Galvin was talking about, go watch the trailer again and that is IT. Everything is in the trailer. I never actually cared for any of the characters and many of the plotpoints (the second Snow White wins trees that were dead start bursting into life.) Snow white has all these magic life powers but we never learn why. Her mother pricked her finger on a rose so her child magically becomes the worlds only hope.

    The special effects were alright, but I wasn't blow away like Galvin was. Plus comparing it to my beloved Pandora should be a crime.

    Now I want to stress that I did enjoy the movie. It was entertaining enough and I didn't leave the theater cursing the director to rot in Hell for all eternity. But I was very disappointed and it is one of those movies that you will quickly forget about. If you are interested in this, then I'd suggest waiting to rent it.

    P.S. I actually didn't have any problems with Kristen Stewart.

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