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Snow White and the Huntsman Review: all surface

Snow White and the Huntsman is an exercise in crafting a good-looking and appealing film but, much like its lead (Kristen Stewart), once you look under the beautiful exterior, the interior isn’t all that layered or vast in range.

Snow White and the Huntsman takes the tale of Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and infuses it with a darker and harsher tone. It follows White, The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and a band of dwarfs as they take the fight to the Evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her dark army.

Story – D+

Snow White and the Huntsman is a horribly paced feature that never decides if it wants to be fast on the action spectrum or slow on the character piece section. It frequently indulges itself with bursts of action, none of which satisfy the appetite, but spends far too much time sitting around and discovering itself and its characters to gain traction.

Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman

A big problem is the film’s structure. The first 30 minutes, in which Hemsworth’s Hunter narrates the story and introduces the relevant character, could have been condensed into a 5-minute prologue. We don’t see Kristen Stewart for the first 15 minutes, make of that what you will, and you don’t even see the far more interesting Huntsman until the 30-minute mark. The film spends far too much time establishing the world, which is a complete waste as the story of Snow White is so frequent and popular that it resonates with everyone. As a result, the film clocks in just shy of 2 hours. 2 hours?! This story and the performances, despite Theron’s best efforts, are not good enough to warrant 2 hours of anyone’s time. If they cut out the first 30 minutes, they could have produced a solid and smooth feature clocking in at 1 hour 30 minutes.

Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman

However, there is something to be said about the power of females in this script. There are two powerful females at the centre of this film whilst the males play ancillary roles. Snow White isn’t the usual damsel in distress; she frees herself, she rallies a rebellion and she leads the army. And the Evil Queen walks over every man in front of her. But one can’t appreciate that tiny triumphant as everything else doesn’t pass the surface appeal.

Acting – D

It is easy to bag on Kristen Stewart because she doesn’t particularly bring anything new or engaging to the table. However, one can’t blame her for that considering the script she was given and the lacklustre sequences she was burdened with.

Hemsworth brings his inherent Thor charm to the role as the gravelled Scottish Huntsman sent to kill Snow White but ends up saving her from Ravenna.

Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman

But it is Charlize Theron’s hammy and over-the-top Evil Queen Ravenna that steals the show and adds a thin slice of texture to this one-dimensional movie. Make no mistake; Theron is not good in the role. She is horrible. But the veteran actress is playing the role as if it originated on a pantomime stage and leapt onto the big screen, unfiltered. She takes out the range in Ravenna’s character; she’s either screaming every line or crying through it. But at least she’s doing something with it.

Bob Hoskins in Snow White and the Huntsman

If there are any legitimate performances in the film, aside from Hemsworth’s rather bland one, it comes from the Dwarves. First of all, how the hell did the production manage to cast nearly every great British actor as a dwarf. You’ve got Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan. And whilst every one of them is fun in the role, the film gets better the moment they appear, it is the late Bob Hoskins that does something special with his role. He’s glassy-eyed, experienced and fun in the role.

Direction – C-

Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman

As has been mentioned on numerous occasions, the best aspect of Snow White and the Huntsman is director Rupert Sanders adept direction and cinematography. Whilst he is laboured with a less than average script, Sanders crafts a beautiful film that manages to feel royal and regal at moments but also grungy and dirty the next. What results is a boring film that always looks good.

Snow White and the Huntsman is all surface and no personality. I already made the cheap joke about the film paralleling its lead Kristen Stewart, so I wont do that again. All I can say is that this is typical fare one can use to pass the time when you’re intoxicated but nothing more.

Score – D+


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