Film Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Film Review:

Snow White and the Huntsman

07.12.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Category: Fantasy/Fairytale

Director: Rupert Sanders

Writers (Screenplay): Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini

Format: Film, 127 minutes

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Production Company: Roth Films, Universal Pictures

Release Date: June 1, 2012 in Canada

***

Snow White and the Huntsman is a film adaptation of the original fairytale, “Snow White,” which takes to the screen a dark, edgy re-telling of the tale.

***

The screenplay itself is filled with some over-reaching, clichéd dialogue and some dry gaps of narrative that feels as heavy-laden on the tongue of its speaker as it is slow-moving in its pace of the film. But, while this is true, it happens only a few times to be easily forgiven with the understanding that its root cause may not necessarily be solely the verse of the screenplay, but the delivery of its inexperienced and/or less talented actors.

While Chris Hemsworth delivers a believable Huntsman, both in strength, courage, and even hesitant chivalry, the dialogue in the latter part of the film, particularly his soliloquy, is far too dramatic without the appropriate build-up to ground its significance that it not only seems far-fetched, but highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Chris Hemsworth is an enjoyable enough actor to play within the dialogue of his role, however convoluted it seems to be. For him, there doesn’t seem to be much choice. He didn’t write the lines, but must be left to enact them.

***

Aside from his obvious appeal to women in the audience because of his classic handsomeness, the bulk of his frame, the rough resonance of his voice, his physical maturity for an actor only 29-years-old, and his valour in role-play, I could not help but be constantly reminded of his role as Thor as I watched him on-screen. The only prop missing aside from potential chemistry between his role and that of Kristen Stewart as Snow White was Mjollnir, Thor’s powerful and godly hammer. I kept thinking to myself, “Save Snow White for Odin! For Asgard!,” which is both a terrible injustice as well as an act of confusion in the wrongful melding of two different stories altogether. I partly blame my bias having seen the movie Thor recently on DVD and also the casting director and costume designer of the film, for the character of the Huntsman in Chris Hemsworth is terribly similar to that of Thor in the movie of the same name.

***

His counterpart found in Kristen Stewart as Snow White is both the attraction to the film for those of her worshipful fans who follow her based on her popularity as Bella in Twilight—as well as the ruin of it—in her poor depiction of such a classic, almost iconic heroine of the original tale.

While the story originally attests Snow White’s beauty as one which reveals dark, ebony hair and skin “as white as snow,” with potential power to defeat the evil queen with innocence, purity, and unequivocal beauty belonging to someone who is deemed the “fairest of them all,”—I found this incredibly difficult to reconcile in the actress, Kristen Stewart.

***

A soft, snide remark may come to mind, “Oh, you’re just jealous, Zara,” but I can assure you that I’m a fair judgement of beauty in my belief to be able to look at myself soberly and others well enough in taking consideration of what is deemed attractive within the understanding and acceptance of diversity in tastes.

In fairness to Kristen Stewart, she is both an attractive and young American woman, but hardly one I would consider astoundingly beautiful to carry the weight of such an attribute and title as “fairest of them all” in a classic and archetypal fairytale.

Her skin, somewhat ruddy in complexion, her obvious brown hair, her eyes devoid of passion or even variances of emotion, coupled with thin lips that have a tendency to only open partially in order to mumble or to remain sullen, altogether remind me neither of purity, innocence, extreme beauty, or grace in a fantastical tale, but the exhaustion and cool indifference of an edgy, over-tired, if not plain teenager filled with the self-absorption and angst of the modern world.

***

It doesn’t help that Stewart’s acting ability is less than desirable in its overall stiffness and deadpan tone that the audience is unable to escape into the fantasy that the character Snow White is supposed to induce and emanate, but rather gets pinned down by the weight of Stewart’s contrived attempt at acting easily and naturally—which unfortunately, she fails at.

I would have preferred to see such casting for the character of Snow White in natural beauties who resonate the dark hair and fair skin as prescribed for the role and an ethereal grace, freshness, and innocence that resounds a kindness and compassion that evokes an almost supple sensuality. I would have preferred to see such casting for the character of Snow White in such actresses as: Natalie Portman, Wynona Ryder, or Liv Tyler.

Natalie Portman

***

Wynona Ryder

***

Liv Tyler

***

But, the saving grace of the film is not only in its creative and imaginative effects and its costume design, it’s in the performance of Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. Her beauty and depiction of pain and lust for dark power is both convincing and eerily seductive. If it were not for her role in the film, Snow White and the Huntsman would falter to a dark, pitiful play simply staged with people in costume.

***

***

***

The cinematography of the Evil Queen’s transition from injured bird back to human as she crawls from the tar pit of her dead wings and injured flock is both exquisitely transitory and dark and one of my favourite scenes in the entirety of the movie.

Overall, if you’re able to lower your expectations in Kristen Stewart’s acting ability and resign to the fact that she was indeed wrongly casted and ill-suited for the role, as well as overcome your annoyance at her attempt in playing Snow White, with the hope of feasting your eyes on the decadence of some creative costume design and interesting special effects, as well as accept your typical dose of adventurous action sequences at the sight of Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and sit back to drink the performance of Charlize Theron in as the Evil Queen, then you might walk away somewhat satisfied.

Otherwise, it’s best to opt to see another film. One in which you can trust the ability of the actors to bring life to their roles in such a natural way that you see beyond the actors themselves and become intoxicated instead with the realism of the characters they play. Perhaps then you can relish in the delight of visual and sound effects that make your ticket price and two-and-a-half hour sitting time wholly worthwhile.

***

Zara’s Rating

***

If you could choose which role to play, who would you choose to be in the movie, “Snow White and the Huntsman?”

***

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Film Review: Snow White and the Huntsman”

  1. Lol. You don’t hold back, hey?! Lol.

    I had already guessed Kristen Stewart wouldn’t quite do it based on the movie previews. But then, I got really irritated the last time I saw her, too. Wonder what the thought process was behind that casting?!

  2. I’m guessing the casting director was counting on her popularity to reel the audience in? Because other than that, I’m really not sure why she was chosen for such a classic role. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s