It’s understandable to walk into Snow White and the Huntsman a little apprehensive. Whenever a movie uses as clichéd of a tagline as “This is no fairy tale,” then you have a right to be worried. I’m here to allay some of those fears, but not all of them.
The tagline really isn’t true at all, this is a fairy tale; it’s just a dark one. One that the Grimm brothers might have enjoyed. What they should’ve said is, “This isn’t the happy-go-lucky musical fairy tale that Walt Disney made.” While the Disney film is still, and will always be, a classic Snow White and the Huntsman puts a much darker spin on things.
Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is born to the benevolent king and queen of the land. However, Snow White’s early life is fraught with loss. First her mother dies after a harsh winter. Then her father, the king, rescues a prisoner after one of his battles. The prisoner is lying in wait. Her beauty defies logic. She’s evil to the core, but the king doesn’t know that. He’s struck by her immaculate looks and soon marries her. Now as The Queen (Charlize Theron), she takes over. Kills the king and imprisons Snow White in the tallest tower. In order to stay young and beautiful The Evil Queen has to consume the youth and beauty of the young, pretty girls in her kingdom.
The real trouble starts when The Queen finds out from her trustworthy mirror that she is no longer the “fairest of them all.” If you can buy into the fact that Kristen Stewart is indeed fairer than the drop-dead gorgeous Charlize Theron, then hope on fast because the rest of the movie is some kind of ride.
Theron goes all out as The Queen. Some scenes may seem a bit melodramatic and overacted, that’s because they are. Here Theron reminded me of Nicolas Cage, an actor that goes full speed ahead no matter how corny the part. Theron’s eyes redden and her veins bulge as she screams at her brother who just let Snow White escape the tower. She’s literally falling apart at the seams. Snow White’s beauty is the key for her immortality and she must find the girl fast before she mounts an army of willing followers to come back and destroy The Queen’s kingdom.
Not much backstory is given, save the voiceover from The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) at the beginning which describes how the whole story began. From there little to no exposition is given throughout the movie, which is nice. We already know the fairy tale, so all we’re looking for is how they’ve reimagined certain themes and scenes, and how they’ve adapted it to a much darker mood.
Hemsworth after all his success as Thor seems a little underutilized here. He’s got a few lines of consequence, but in the end he’s a brute swinging an axe who doesn’t even have many witty one-liners to spout off. That’s okay though since much of the scenery is chewed up by Theron’s portrayal of The Queen, which is just so fun to watch.
There’s something about the pacing of this movie that feels organic and less like something you’ve already seen. At just over two hours it is overly long, but at least the time is filled with interesting visuals and beautiful landscapes. The action, like many other modern action movies, is made incoherent by incessant shaky-cam and quick edits.
I had fun with Snow White and the Huntsman and I really didn’t think I would. I was apprehensive going into it, but came out feeling like I’d had a good time. Theron steals the show, but she usually does anyway. The movie isn’t without its faults, but with Battleship still in the theaters you could do much worse.