Snow White and the Hunstman Review

poster from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

It often happens that two movies based on the same premise come out in the same year. It’s happened with volcanoes, asteroids crashing into the earth, special operations teams being betrayed by the government (actually, there’s about a million of those) and now it’s Snow White’s turn. Though they’re based on the same premise, it’s hard to imagine a pair of movies as different as Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. Mirror Mirror was a screwball comedy while this one is dark and gritty..

A teenaged princess escapes the clutches of her evil stepmother to start a revolution among the people with the help of some dwarves and the huntsman who was sent to track her down.

I’ve seen them both now and both have their strengths. Mirror Mirror is good for a few laughs and appropriate to take young kids to while Snow White and the Huntsman is totally bad ass. It’s not perfect, but I’d take it over Mirror Mirror any day.

The storyline in this version is very different from Mirror Mirror and from most of the fairy tale books I’ve read too. Ravenna (Charlize Theron) tricks King Magnus (Noah Huntley) into marrying her, murders him, takes over the kingdom with her army, and proceeds to be delightfully evil – yelling at people, talking to melty pools of gold, bathing in plaster, and sucking the youth out of village girls like a freaking Dementor so she can still look young even though using magic ages her.

Ravenna steals youth from a village girl from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

This is sort of copied from Stardust, but still cool..

The creepy puddly mirror person warns Ravenna that Snow White can either undo the spell that gave Ravenna her magic or make her immortal, so she locks the young princess Snow White (Raffety Cassidy) in a tower to wait for her to come of age. When she does, Ravenna can eat her heart and become immortal. When teenaged Snow White (Kristen Stewart) finds out about the eating heart plan, she escapes into the dark forest, which is full of plants that get you high and make you hallucinate strange creatures.

Snow White faces down a troll from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Oh man, I must be tripping my balls off right now.

In the opening scenes it seems like Snow White has an older brother, Will (Xavier Atkins), but he’s actually a Duke’s son. They get separated and each thinks the other is dead. I was expecting him to turn out to be the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) whom Ravenna enlists to track down Snow, but that’s only because I wasn’t paying attention to the promotional material, which clearly states that Will is actually Sam Claflin’s character.

Sam Claflin as William from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Whom you may remember as the priest who fell for the mermaid in On Stranger Tides.

This is a shame, because the Huntsman character really needed more depth. He’s a drunk, angry, sad guy who only agrees to hunt Snow because the queen promises to bring his wife back from the dead, but for all that I still didn’t feel like I knew him because he doesn’t even have a NAME. There’s a moment where you think the queen’s evil bad-haircutted brother Finn (Sam Spruell) is going to say it, and if you’re like me you’ll make one up in your head. I called him Thomas, and my friends called him Thor.

Huntsman attacks from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Get a haircut and maybe we’ll stop calling you Thor. And the axes don’t help either.

Thor/Thomas/Huntsman is set up as the romantic interest in the promotional materials (and the title), but the opening scenes set up Will as a love interest, so when he shows up again it’s kind of confusing in a YA novel love triangle sort of way and we don’t even get any resolution because in the famous scene where a kiss wakes her from her poisoned sleep, it’s not even clear whether she knows which of their kisses woke her. We only have a long awkward look as payoff rather than the accustomed kiss. Apparently it’s a trilogy, so I guess they’re saving it for the sequel?

Will attempts to break the enchanted sleep from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Dammit, it doesn’t count if one of them is unconscious!

My biggest worry about Snow White and the Huntsman was that Kristen Stewart would be terrible. She was terrible in Twilight but I’m coming to understand that most of it is Twilight’s fault. There are a few Twilight-esque stand-and-stare moments (mostly in scenes involving CGI) but the rest of the time she’s pretty bad ass as a warrior princess.

attack on the castle from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Screw hiding on a mountain to wait the battle out! Charge!!

The biggest casting issue for me turned out to be the dwarves. They’re all great actors (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, and Brendan Gleeson) but, you will notice, none of them are little people, though the movie employs many tricks to make them LOOK like they are. There are hardly any specifically little person roles in movies and now they’ve got to go and give them to average heighted people? That doesn’t seem fair.

Huntsman and the dwarves from the Universal Pictures film Snow White and the Huntsman

Anyone would look short standing next to Chris Hemsworth. He’s 6’3”.

Anyway, other than that, I enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman. There were lots of good battles, Snow White was very active and strong and capable of rescuing herself, the Huntsman was hot, the special effects were cool, and the evil queen was very evil. Definitely check it out.

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