Hey folks, Valkor here. Growing up, I was the biggest fan of the Brothers Grimms fairy tales and a couple of years ago I purchased a leatherbound edition collecting all of their stories, which were waaaaay dark for a bunch of kid stories - not all endings were happy ones. When it was announce another film based on Snow White was to be produced, I was simply "meh" about it - I've seen and read my share of Snow White stories. What could possibly be done that would make this retelling stand out? How about calling it "Snow White and The Huntsman" and giving the second character a larger role than originally intended. Interest officially has been piqued. Read on. On and major spoilers below.
Snow White and The Huntsman takes the classic fairy tale and adds a few twists to it creating a unique experience. The story opens with a narration of the birth of Snow White and the death of her mother. Soon after, King Magnus(Noah Huntley)is thrust into the midst of battle with an unknown dark army. He and forces defeat the dark army and the spoils of their victory – a woman in rags whom it appears she was held captive by the shadow soldiers. Though shabby looking, she was actually quite beautiful – and the king was instantly smitten with her. And now the once prisoner Ravenna (Charlize Theron) marries the king to become the kingdom's newest queen. As it turns out Ravenna has a dark power that enables her to suck the life out of her victims to sustain her youthful looks. And no sooner after the wedding, Ravenna uses her powers on the king, killing him, and becoming ruler of all the land, plunging it into dark times. Oh and that dark army that held her prisoner was actually her army, who soon after the Ravenna is in command, they storm the castle. And what about Snow White? Well the Queen has her locked away in the highest towers.
Some time passes and the Queen consults her magic mirror asking it "Who's the fairest of all"? And the mirror tells her now that Snow White has come of age that she is the fairest in the land. Well the Ravenna isn't having any of that and orders her brother to kill her. But Snow White escapes into the living forest – a place where the Queen can't possibly reach her. So she employs the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth - The Avengers) to go in after her. The Huntsman isn't willing at first, but with the promise of the return of his dead wife, he reluctantly agrees. He and some of queen's men head for the forest and almost immediately find Snow White. But when the Huntsman finds out that the Queen has no intentions of bringing back his dead wife, he makes a break for it with Snow White in tow and now the two are on the run to try and find the Duke and his army in hopes of saving the kingdom.
Therein lies one of many new twists to the tale – originally the Huntsman's story ends when he finds and releases Snow White, but in this retelling the two become fugitives of the queen. The twosome joins forces and later meets with the seven dwarves, whom are nothing like what you expect (especially if your only knowledge of them is from the Disney classic). Things take a turn for the worse when Snow White is reunited with her long lost friend William. And in another twist versus the fable, Ravenna poses as William to give Snow White the apple that puts her into a forever sleep. The real William (Sam Claflin) gives her the kiss that should have awakened her – but it doesn't work. Only when the Huntsman gives her the kiss does she wake up and suddenly she grows the biggest pair of marbles ever, reinvigorating her with enough energy to rally the Duke and his men in a final battle against Ravenna and her army. In the end it's Snow White versus Ravenna in a fight to the finish. Of course this story has a happy ending, with Snow White being the victor and everyone lived happily ever after.
Snow White and the Huntsman is a more serious, darker retelling of the classic that's grounded in some realism, yet contains enough fantasy, such as fairies, a troll, and a magic mirror, plus Ravenna and all her powers, that makes this film interesting to watch. But does it ultimately make the grade?
For the most part, I have to say I found Snow White and The Huntsman engaging and entertaining. I'm a huge fan of the original Grimm's fairy tale (and even the Disney animated version), and thankfully this film sticks to the source quite well – at least up until the Huntsman joins forces with Snow White; after that we're treading new ground. What's great is that we are now given some back story to the key characters that originally never had one adding a level of depth to them; Ravenna has a story (and a brother) and also the Huntsman has a story (lost his wife). Plus the added new twists to teh tale really help complete the overall awesome package. The film has some amazing visuals from the lush backdrops and CGI creatures that are sprinkled throughout the film – the living dark forest is a nice piece of work. Candy for the eyes? Yes indeedy! The acting ranges from awesome to just so-so with Charlize Theron leading the pack as Queen Ravenna; I haven't been this impressed with a villainess since Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. In Snow White, Theron tears it up whenever she's on screen; her performance is powerful, riveting and I loved every moment it. Hemsworth deserves some cred as well, who essentially embiggens his Thor character into his Huntsman; if he had said "I like it" at any point in the film I would have lost it. Decent story, wonderful performances, and some visual appeal makes Snow White and the Huntsman a hit with me.
And then this happened. First, Kristen Stewart wouldn't have been my go to gal for the role of Snow White; wasn't Emmy Rossum available? I'm sure she could use a good role or two to her resume after Dragon Ball Evolution – which I thought was cheesy good. Stewart's acting is OK, but she can't hold an accent to save her life. Second, the film feels rather choppy as some events occur too quickly or completely at random. Take for instance the hunt for Snow White… man they find her awfully fast with no impediment from the "living" forest; I bet Snow White wishes she had it so easy. Next up, I thought the ending was rather rushed and more time should have been given to make the final battle most epic. I also felt it rather cheesy that Snow White leads the charge; sure put the kingdom's savior at the front line, yea that's believable. Finally, are we doing a Team Huntsman/Team William for the heart of Snow White? Can't she just choose one, or you know just choose the Huntsman since it was his kiss that woke her up?
That troll! Amazing piece of CGI... but daaaaaaaaaamn!
Was I the only one who thought one of the dwarves should have diddled Snow White while she slept? No? Just me? Okay...
Snow White and the Huntsman is an ambitious effort for first time director Rupert Sanders, and while it has its faults I still found it appealing and entertaining, definitely worth the price of admission; with a decent story that stays true to the source, wonderful performances, and loads of eye candy, this is one film I highly recommend. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Snow White and the Huntsman a 3.5.