Hi ho-hi ho-politically correct we go!
No Spoiler Alert! (Hello–It’s Snow White)
As I write this review, SNOW WHITE and the HUNTSMAN, a 2012 release, is a currently in theaters. Directed by Rupert Sanders (first film) and co-written by Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock (director of THE BLIND SIDE), it stars Charlize Theron as Ravenna (the evil queen), Kristen Stewart (Snow White) and Chris Hemsworth as the studly huntsman.
If you enjoy films with great visual effects, you ‘ll enjoy this film.The story, however, is muddled.
In my opinion, the movie’s too long. I became restless about three-quarters into it. The story meandered. It may be that the writers were working from other versions of the fairytale and we’re all used to the Disney version. Regardless, it seems that they failed to settle on one version. Unfortunately, the result is muddled and questions like why Ravenna doesn’t kill Snow White when she kills the King and who this Huntsman really is are not answered. We’re left with too many loose ends.
Where is Prince Charming? He’s been demoted. His name is “William” (Sam Claflin) and he’s the son of a duke. Ravenna’s overly devoted brother “Finn” Sam Spreull (Hamlet called and wants his hair back) keeps a handy supply of local maidens in the dungeon for those occasions when Ravenna needs a dose of youth to freshen up. Ravenna tricked the King, Snow White’s father, into marrying her. Ravenna has issues with men–and everybody else–and makes it her business to spread misery like a bad rash over the entire kingdom. Too bad she has no other outlets. Ravenna could do a mean blog and likely, the Facebook friend from hell.
Charlize Theron makes a believable evil queen–very intimidating. I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. This actress is good in just about every role she does.
For some reason Ravenna keeps Snow White alive as a permanent dungeon resident. That is until The Mirror announces Snow White is “the fairest in the land.” Ravenna is not happy (she never is). Especially when she learns Snow White can kill her. There is good news though. Snow White’s heart is a permanent beauty treatment. If Ravenna eats it, there need be no more messy maidens.
Kristen Stewart is okay as Snow White. She simply isn’t compelling. There’s a heaviness to her acting. No perceivable sense of humor.
When Finn comes to collect Snow White’s heart, Snow White escapes. Then Ravenna sends out the Huntsman and one thing leads to another, including Ravenna impersonating William and handing Snow White the poison apple. She bites, falls dead and guess whose kiss wakes her up. Not wimpy William–it’s Hunky Huntsman.
So now Snow White is really annoyed–that apple was the last straw. The result– Snow White leads an army and storms the castle to end Ravenna. The huntsman and William, and six of the seven dwarfs (one dwarf dies) join in the battle. Several well-known non-dwarf actors hi ho it to the castle including Bos Hoskins and Ian McShane. The dwarf scenes have lots of bathroom humor and though funny, they’re not in sync with the tone of the narrative. Not surprisingly, this cast was a major issue for working actors who are in fact dwarfs. Of course they win and Snow White kills the queen. Kristen’s soulful Twilight stare helps Ravenna into the light.
This reworking of the Snow White fairy tale sounds a feminist note. It ends with her coronation. Who is going to be Mr. Snow White? Will it be the devoted William, the tormented rough-around-the edges Huntsman, or maybe a dwarf? Wait for the sequel. One thing for sure– no white charger, no “Some day my prince will come” for this girl. She has a kingdom to rule.