Snow White and the Huntsman DVD Review

Kristin Stewart as Snow White

Snow White and The Huntsman: Universal Studios’ attempt to reweave old yarn in order to lasso the hordes of pre-adolecent girls, the type convinced that gloom is as fashionable as skin tight jeans and lip pearcings.  Director Rupert Sanders understands his audience well; like the pied-piper he lures tweens by casting Kristin Stewart as the eponymous heroin, shoots though the same faux-gothic lens as the Twilight movies and, for girls who don’t like Twilight, gives Chris Hemsworth’s huntsman plenty of screen-time to show of his chopper. However if these three ingredients are all you need to prepare a box office hit, it tells us all something rather depressing about the low expectations of modern cinema goers.

Narrative wise, there are no surprises to be found here. If you are familiar with the classic fairy tale, or with Walt Disney’s stunning animation, you will already know that Snow White, heir to the throne of a faraway land, is targeted for assassination by her evil stepmother. Charlize Theron astounds as the maleficent queen, Ravenna: Motivated by her jealousy of Snow White’s reputation as `fairest of them all,’ she dispatches the tall, handsome Huntsman to track and murder the pale princess. By that rather brief synopsis, you may have already realised the flaw in the rather basic premise: The casting of the perma-frowned Kristin Stewart as the face of beauty itself is almost as laughable as the notion that former model, Charlize Theron, would be jealous of her looks.  The rather limited screen time afforded to Theron is a criminal waste of an Oscar winner’s talent, but for her part Theron channels Lady Macbeth’s madness and Holly Golightly’s insecurity, to dominate the film despite suffering from dialogue that would be poor for panto. It may be no fault of Stewart’s that her performance is lacklustre and devoid of any charisma, sadly her acting range seems to only consist of two looks; sad and confused.

Charlize Theron as Ravenna

Rupert Sanders, making his directorial début, hasn’t exactly made the best start to his portfolio. He blatantly plagurises iconic shots, and sometimes entire scenes, from genre hallmarks such as Gladiator, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter without offering anything original. This liberal recycling isn’t subtle (check the Tolkean horse chase featuring a white stallion outrunning a flock of black riders though a forest) and only serves to undermine the film by forcing comparison with better cinema. Quieter moments are presented just as clumsily; Sanders’ over-reliance on monochrome and block colour results in every frame looking like a Myspacer’s photoshop project. Some credit is restored through the confident expansion of a basic children’s tale into an epic war story and the accompanying re-imagining of its classic characters. To its advantage, the film also manages to avoid obvious comparisons with Disney (despite one scene involving pixies, bluebirds and rabbits,) whilst the gritty and engaging action scenes succeed on a superficial level, complimenting the strong pacing of an otherwise limp and under-whelming failure.

Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman

Twilighters will be satisfied, however for those not on team Edward, Snow White and the Huntsman  is totally unoriginal; stitching together rough patches of old plots and better films like a Frankenstein’s monster of fantasy cinema. Over the two-hour runtime Sanders fails to forge any connection between audience and character with only Hemsworth and Theron emerging with any credit. This daisy chain of empty dialogue, cut between forced jigsaw pieces of artificial emotion, result in this folly attempt to Tolkeanise a classic, ending up more like a  chronicle of Narnia.

About The Author

Liam graduated from the University of Kent in 2012 with a first class degree in Film Studies. Whilst studying at Kent he discovered his passion for cinema criticism by questioning the merits of as many examples as possible'; from Hitchcock's The Lodger, to The Hangover Part II. Liam's cinematic range encompass' genres and auteurs far and wide, however, the fusion of technology with outstanding storytelling is where his key passions lie: Therefore, the work of James Cameron, David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson forms the bulk of Liam's must see catalogue.

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