Snow White & The Huntsman


Ok, so I have no tagline for this movie, because it had no tagline. I like to think that Kristin Stewart's blank expression fills in for any witty one-liner for the movie. This will be part one of my "Charlize Theron is having a crazy month" series, part two will be when I talk about Prometheus in my next post.

Snow White & The Huntsman is the second film this year that is an adaptation of the Snow White fairy tale. given the choice between the two, I pick the one that looks muddier and doesn't have Julia Roberts in it. Judging by their relative grossing it looks like I made the right call (Mirror Mirror grossed around 2.5 mil its opening weekend. Snow White grossed 56). Snow White comes to us from the producer of Alice in Wonderland, and you can see that movie in every overly indulgent "ooh look at the fairies" scene in THIS movie. I'm not saying the movie is full of those, it actually shows a fair amount of restraint, but whenever the fairy tale aspect starts to spill over, I get to remembering Alice with some chagrin. That is pretty much the biggest criticism I can leverage towards this movie. It spends too much time in too many scenes emphasizing  the fairy tale aspects of the movie, or making callbacks to the traditional story, and it ultimately detracts from the film. I feel like the scriptwriter didn't understand that 'reimagining' means you can reimagine something. That means it can be different. The movie, while grand in scale and scope, suffers from some contrived plot points designed to tie in hastily certain aspects of the story, and also from very uneven pacing. I'll talk a little bit about that first.

     The movie spends a pretty substantial amount of time setting the scene, showing the rise of the evil queen (that's Charlize Theron) and the fall of the kingdom. If they'd wanted to spend less time on the story before the story, and more time on... the actual plot of the movie, they could have made this segment about 20 minutes shorter. It also spends a lot of time doing... well not much of anything. If they'd shortened the excessive Kristin Stewart staring segments, that would have netted even MORE time, for things like character development say. While time is spent on things without any real importance, we see very little of the time Snow White and the eponymous Huntsman spend together, to establish why he gives a crap about her. I'm also a little dubious about Snow White donning full plate and winging a sword around to lead a cavalry charge, given that it's established that she's spent most of her life locked in a tower. Was she working out in that tower? The movie is full of little things like this that could have easily been at the very least mitigated, but that all together detract from the viewer's credulity. Why is there a white horse waiting to carry Snow White to safety? Sure it's implied that she has this magic link to life and nature, but you need to come out and say that stuff in a movie, not just have plot horses pop up on beaches. The most ridiculous part of the movie perhaps is the implication that Kristen Stewart is somehow prettier than the crazy Charlize Theron queen. Don't get me wrong, Kristen Stewart is pretty in a sort of, girl who lives down the street from you sort of way, but really? Charlize Theron? That's a little bit of a stretch.

KStew Prettier than me? This mirror must be broken.
Now things that were good about the movie. A lot of why the above bothered me so much is because I saw within this unfocused mass a movie that really could have been pretty good. Charlize Theron is a terrifyingly insane queen, who takes "the vain queen" to dizzying heights of vanity and also psycho cruelty. They do a little backstory to show why she's so crazy, but it doesn't exactly make you sympathize for her, given that she is intensely, deeply evil. Chris Hemsworth delivers a performance that I would describe as "ok". He doesn't blow me away, but the Huntsman is likable in a drunk jerk sort of way. Obviously this was no Thor (or The Avengers) but he does his role justice. The most startling performance of all for me was definitely Kristen Stewart herself. I don't mean to suggest that she delivered an awesome performance, I just was surprised that she managed to act at all. At the beginning of the "present day" part of the story, she speaks to a girl while she's locked in her tower, and she has an English accent. In that moment I felt dread anticipation, fearing that there was no way she could manage to keep up the accent. Mercifully I was wrong, and she did manage it. She even managed to emote in a way that didn't involve a sharp intake of breath OR rapid blinking! I was surprised in a good way, because it's usually pretty important that your main character can act at all.

Just look at that shit. That wasn't done overnight.
Really the most impressive part of the movie was the stunning visuals on display. The movie had an enormous budget, and they put it to ample use. The country they shot in is gorgeous, the visuals fit the tone of the movie, and whoever did the costuming for this movie deserves a medal. I suspect one of the terms of his making Kristen Stewart's armor was that they constantly close up on it, because the weathering alone must have taken for-EVER unless it was entirely computer generated. There are a lot of impressively scaled battles and I'm sad that we didn't get to see more of that armor on display. Instead we spend lots of time dickering around in fairy land (literally). I really spent a lot of time wondering if we needed the Seven (or more like 8) dwarves at all. I thought that of any part of the movie, shoehorning them into the plot was the biggest stretch, especially because they come into the proceedings pretty late on. Then again, if the movie had been better paced and it's length used more judiciously, they probably could have fit the dwarves in more nicely.

So would I recommend this movie? ehhhh pretty borderline. There were certainly things to enjoy there, but in the end this movie was it's own worst enemy. One thing is for certain though: It's the best movie Kristen Stewart's liable to appear in this year.


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