You may get the feeling while watching Snow White and the Huntsman that you’ve seen it before. You’re probably right about that. We’ve had so many of these fairy tale stories over the last few years that you would think film producers would have taken the hint by now, every time they read “Once upon a time…”. But then again, why should Hollywood stop when they’re making so much money? So let’s not kid ourselves, this is going to rake it in.
But where is all this money going to come from? Well, there’s the Twilight audience for a start. They will all flock to see a fairy tale starring Kristen Stewart, the only actor in the Twilight series who seems to take her job seriously. So that’s the teenage girl audience locked, but how do we get the boyfriends to agree to go with them? It’s a tricky one. I wonder how long Hollywood executives we’re sat around for before someone suggested Chris Hemsworth with a crossbow and eight funny dwarves. That’s right, I said eight dwarves. I bet the suits in Hollywood were patting themselves on the back with that one, self-congratulating their own ingenuity. They shouldn’t, because this is about as inventive as the film gets.
Kristen Stewart plays Snow White, the king’s daughter. When her father is killed by the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), she is imprisoned for seven years. Snow is able to escape however, and Ravenna has to bring in a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down. There’s no point in explaining the rest of the plot, you know how it goes. Dwarves, apple, battle, end. Something like that.
Charlize Theron’s evil queen is the real winner here. Her English accent comes across with a certain degree of creepiness, and she expertly handles herself with a cold, reptilian style. Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman is Scottish, apparently, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from his accent. It may spark a few memories of Russell Crowe’s accent in Robin Hood. Also he seems to be Scottish for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Maybe it was just a bad attempt to make Hemsworth look like a better actor. He’s not bad, but he’d be better if he dropped the accent. Sadly, you can’t be so lenient with Kristen Stewart. It’s a rather unimpressive performance from her, perhaps still stuck in Twilight mode. The sooner that series ends the better for Stewart and her career.
The film’s main problem right from the off is the storytelling. Snow White has to be good, the evil queen has to be, well, evil. There is absolutely no room for ambiguity, so there’s very little in terms of freshness there. There are also too many characters thrown at us, which would be forgivable if this was a sequel. Most of them serve absolutely no purpose at all, which is rather annoying. Having said that, the dwarves are rather funny. Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Ray Winstone are among the CGI dwarves, and all serve the purpose of providing a lighter side.
In terms of visual style though, this is rather engaging. Director Rupert Sanders makes his directorial debut here, and given his background in advertising, he could be the next Ridley Scott. He isn’t able to rescue the plot here, but his visually style is entertaining. You get the feeling that if the right script is put in front of him he’ll soar with it. Chances are though Sanders’ next film will be Snow White and the Huntsman 2. We all know it’s coming.
In Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum delivers the now famous line “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Here, Hollywood has obviously been so preoccupied with who this film was for, they didn’t stop to think what it was for. It’s visually ambitious, and it will do well with its target audience, but you’ll still wish they’d put a little more effort into it.
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