Sunday, June 17, 2012

REVIEW - Snow White and the Huntsman get down and dirty

"While it won't go down as the definitive version of the well known main character, Snow White and the Huntsman is a flawed dark take on a classic fairytale that is entertaining enough for it's target audience."


Seriously...the Dark Forest is really muddy and they wander around falling down and getting all dirty. But that's besides the point. I don't know why movie studios have been so nuts for Snow White lately...but between this and Mirror Mirror (see my review below), Snow White and the Huntsman is the clear winner.  Though that's not really saying much considering Mirror Mirror was basically just great scenery with bad slapstick and lame humor aimed at young children. This movie, however, is aimed at teens and, to a lesser degree, adults, with its dark mood and gloomy exterior. The question this movie worthy of your time or does it leave you wanting more?  Venture forth with me!

The casting here is a bit curious. Charlize Theron plays one hell of an evil, ruthless, spoiled, and psycho...uh...bad...lady...anyways, Chris Hemsworth (Cabin in the Woods, Thor) brings great heart and some good humor to his Huntsman. I'd go as far as to say the Huntsman is the most enjoyable character in the film, saving it from total mediocrity at times. Which brings us to the questionable: Kristen Stewart.  She doesn't do anything particularly cringe worthy in this one, nor does she offend. But it's clear she was brought in to get the Twilight crowd. I mean..."Fairest of them all" comparison to Charlize Freaking Hotness Theron?  Really? That's such a stretch it's basically a plot hole.

Speaking of plot, lets talk about it: Snow White is a princess. Her dad, the king, falls for the evil sexy face witch, gets killed by said youth obsessed lady, locks Snow White up, and takes over the land, which turns all grey and rotted.  Witchy woman talks to creepy mirror man who says "...well...Snow White's face is nicer to look at (see…plot hole) and she's a better person. Oh! and if you eat her heart you'll be all pretty forever, so you won’t have to suck young people’s souls out through their mouths anymore!" So Witch sends for Ms. White's heart for nom nom time, but she escapes into the Dark Forest. Witch summons Huntsman to get Snow from said treacherous land. S Dubs wants to re-claim her Kingdom and save the land for the evil witch's tyranny....Dwarfs get involved...I bet you can guess how's pretty much the Snow White story you already know if you're familiar with the character.

So how does it hold up? In short:'s ok. It’s got some good and some bad.  The atmosphere, the creatures, the CGI are all excellent.  I’d argue that the strongest aspect of this movie is its portrayal of fairytale characters/creatures and the environments. Some are quite creepy and very cool looking while others are, well, majestic and pretty and junk.  It gets the right feel going for what it’s trying to achieve.  And the dwarfs are handled surprisingly well as kind of pint sized British thugs. They’re enjoyable, when you can understand what they’re saying. There’s also enough spirit given to the characters that you actually care about what happens to them.

Which brings us to the bad.  The movie takes itself seriously, too seriously at times and doesn’t always pull it off. A great example being the evil queen's hissy fits.  You can tell Theron had a lot of fun with these spoiled psychotic rants, but they become unintentionally hilarious at times.  The plot also tries to give depth and heart to the characters, but  it doesn’t fully delivery on some key fronts, leading to shallowness where the movie could have been enhanced with more patience and better story telling.  Then there’s the end of the film, which (without spoiling anything) feels rushed with Snow White becoming dramatically empowered and out of character all the sudden, and then there's (kinda spoiler...) ultimately a complete lack of closure for the love story that developed throughout the film.

At the end of the day what you have is a flawed but entertaining enough dark take on a classic fairytale.  Young teens and the lady folk will get the most from it. For all others, if you dig grim fairytales, it might be worth a trip to the theater, otherwise just give it a rent if you're interested.

Score = 5.5/10

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