Tag Archives: Snow White And The Huntsman

I saw Snow White & the Huntsman

11 Jun

by Mike Hansen

Snow White & the Huntsman horizontal 3part teaserNo, this isn’t comics. But it’s a movie about a fairy tale, and that’s close enough for me.

Short answer: I liked this a LOT more than I thought I would.

Longer answer…

PROS:

Snow White & the Huntsman queen foreignThe story actually works, at least for the first 90% of the film. Instead of treating the source material as a safe story for small children, this movie goes the other way and reminds us how difficult and cruel life was for most people back when this story was created. This is a hard PG-13, and I really appreciate how the material isn’t dumbed down or softened for a younger crowd. Kids already have the immortal Disney version, and this is now the best alternative telling of Snow White for a more mature audience. It’s restrained enough to not go over-the-top or excessive with the violence or death, but there are moments that are likely to give children nightmares, and I say that as a compliment.

The design is incredible. Even though Snow White & the Huntsman is based on a fairy tale, this film treats its subject matter seriously and makes the world feel as real as possible. There are some moments in the “happy/good” forest with the dwarfs that are truly breathtaking. And there’s actually dirt under the characters’ fingernails, including Snow White (though she keeps her disturbing, impossibly white teeth). Similarly, the special effects are, for the most part, fantastic.

This film is much closer to Tolkien-ish realistic fantasy than the cheesy immaturity of the Narnia films and books. This film doesn’t need its characters to stare wide-eyed in wonder at everything, because it looks good enough for the viewer to do this on their own.

Snow White & the Huntsman huntsman segmentCharlize Theron is brilliant as the wicked queen – she completely gives herself over to the role, and is absolutely believable in her vampiric quest for immortality and power. And the script is very, very smart in giving her a genuine motivation for her actions beyond just being evil for its own sake. When she explodes with rage or keeps herself coldly separate from other people and the world, I bought every moment – having seen people in my own life exhibit similarly sad behavior. Theron is so great and dangerously sexy (a vampire in all but name) that I have a hard time buying that she isn’t the fairest one of all – even though the script does a surprisingly impressive job making Snow White an inspiring figure, Kristen Stewart’s performance didn’t quite sell it to me (though the blame for this could go to the director or editor as well).

Similarly, Chris Hemsworth continues to impress me. After his fine work in The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods, he’s having a hell of a good year with some terrific roles, and his Huntsman is given a lot of material to play with.

CONS: Continue reading

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