Snow White and the Huntsman is 2012’s second stab at the classic fairytale. After the flop that was Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror, Mirror.” The movie has so far paid off with a $56 million weekend at the box office, beating last weekends “Men in Black” to the top of the charts by $30 million, and rescuing Universal somewhat from the disaster that was “Battleship.”
The movie follows traditional outline of the Snow White tale, but with a huge detour after all the requirements have been met.
The Huntsman, in a far more expanded role, takes sympathy upon Snow White and helps her escape her pursuers again and again, which include Ravenna’s brother, an odd addition with an even odder haircut.
William, the prince, who is not a prince but is the son of the rebellious duke and a childhood friend of Snow’s, finally makes his appearance, having joined the search party after hearing the princess is still alive. When he joins the party, the 8 dwarves, yes 8, have been introduced and lead the rag tag group to Sanctuary, the home of the fairies.
Surely everyone recognized Ian McShane under that mop of hair and a few feet shorter! On their way to the duke’s castle, the required poison apple and death by Snow White is brought to the screen. Here is where things take the crazy turn.
When the princes kiss fails to revive the princess, they take her body to lie in state at the duke’s residence. She awakens as a result of a large twist of the tale and rallies the troops to attack the castle and the queen. The story has its gratuities triumphant ending, and ends with the crowning of Queen Snow White.
The most confusing aspect of this movie is the kiss! Without any futher disclosure, since even I am still confused as to that whole situation, I have to say I’d be jealous either way of which hunk it was.
Another confusing aspect concerns the queen herself. In the castle, her explanation for needing the Huntsman is that she has no magic in the Dark Forest. Then how does she turn into William to trick Snow White into eating the apple, and then shattering into a murder of crows?
The acting is extemely different for each character. Chris Hemsworth provided the rock as the drunken widower first in charge of hunting down Snow White and then with protecting her, and was a steadying presence between Theron’s theatrics and Stewart’s traditional blankness. In concerns to Mr. Hemsworth, there was only ONE shirtless scene. Imagine the disappointment. Sam Claflin plays William, the son of the Duke, with ease, as well as the devotion his character has to Snow White after so long a separation.
Charlize Theron is theatrical, over the top and awesome. She’s said to have based the Queen off Jack Nicholson in “The Shining,” the slow decent into madness the Queen experiences. Her commitment made the shrieking and general madness of Queen Ravenna work, and Theron’s established beauty made it hard to believe Stewart could best her for ‘Fairest of them All.” Unless the mirror, which isn’t even a mirror, but a giant golden gong that becomes a cloaked man, has a preference for slight brunettes to statuesque blondes. And how about that crown?
Stewart in her first major role outside of the ‘Twilight” universe, and her acting is no different. While concessions must be made that her acting has improved from the first Twilight, it still left something to be desired. Her delivery of the speech meant to rally the troops, a la Joan of Arc, would have been difficult for any actress, but Stewarts seems to be unable to grasp the true emotion required for it. She can do earnest, wondering, but empowering escapes her. Let’s give her a few more years and see is it proves as progressive as the last four.
The movie is dark and foreboding and the effects appropriately reflected that. The Dark Forest is especially dark, and the creatures shown, especially the troll, depicted the true nastiness within the forest. Sanctuary is a wonder, with the fairies, of no sexual orientation and big eyes, and the woodland creatures brought back memories of the Disney version we all grew up with. But this movie is far more Grimm than Disney.
The transitions of the movie are clear. Act one show the princess up until her escape from her tower prison and explains how she came to be there and how Ravenna gained her place as Queen, act two is her journey to find her allies and herself, and the third act is comprised of the rallying of the troops and the battle scene where Snow White claims her rightful place in the world.
The movie is supposedly the start of a saga, and the box office shows the reception for this movie is good. Where they can go with it is up in the air, with there being no evil queen around anymore. Fans of the newer, truer to the original take of the fairy tale will turn out for more, and perhaps this gives us high hopes for how “Maleficent” is going to turn out.
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