Thursday, June 21, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman

The same day I saw Prometheus opening weekend, afterwards I decided to make it a Charlize Theron film festival and walked over to the theater which was going to start showing  Snow White and the Huntsman in five minutes.

 Snow White and the Huntsman had an excellent marketing campaign, with clever trailers which was able to convince me to include it in the list of films I was looking forward to see this summer. Unfortunately Rupert Sanders was directing a major motion picture for the first time and it shows, especially in the lead performance of Snow White given by Kristen Stewart, who is well-known for her starring role in the execrable Twilight film adaptations (and is now the highest paid actress in Hollywood). Stewart is definitely striking, but is she really more beautiful than the Dark Queen, played with almost riveting abandon by Oscar-winner Theron?  There are seemingly uncountable numbers of scenes where the camera is focused on a close-up of Stewart's face, and she is staring directly into the camera, with no dialogue. Many times we have no idea what Stewart is supposed to be communicating to the audience, and it appears as if neither Sanders or Stewart did either. I think it's supposed to be some kind of suggestion of enchanting Snow White's beauty is, but it mostly just seems annoying and slows down the progress of the plot.

In fact, the story is another one of the curious aspects of the film. We all remember basic details of the Snow White fairy tale: Snow White is the daughter of the King whose queen dies and he marries someone else who is jealous of her step-daughter and casts her our to the enchanted forest, where instead of being killed by a Huntsman, Snow White meets seven Dwarves. After her Magical Mirror tells her that she is no longer the "fairest in the land" the evil Queen tricks Snow White into eating from a poisoned apple which causes her to fall into a deep sleep which is only broken by the kiss of her Prince who is in love with her beauty. The screenwriter Evan Daugherty takes great liberty with many aspects of the story (relax, there are dwarves!) and has produced a screenplay which improves the agency of both of the lead female characters and gives the Huntsman a much larger role. This is not a bad thing, per se but there is a problem when the third act of the film basically devolves into a swords and arrows battle led by Snow White (in shining armor no less) storming the castle in order to defeat the Evil Queen. At this point all one can do is shake one's head and be glad one didn't pay a lot of money to see the film. But unfortunately, you can never get those 2 1/2 hours of your life back!

TitleSnow White and the Huntsman.
Director: Rupert Sanders.
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of violence and action, and brief sensuality.
Release Date: June 8, 2012.
Viewing Date: June 10, 2012.

Plot: C.
Acting: B.
Visuals: A.
Impact: C.

Overall Grade: B- (2.75/4.0).

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