Friday, June 15, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

It's no secret to anyone that I am a huge fan of comic-book movies. So when I saw that Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was going to be portraying the titular "Huntsman" in what looked to be a serious take on the Snow White story, I was intrigued. That initial spark of interest grew into a blaze the instant I saw the theatrical trailer, which promised a dark, gritty, supernatural style that seemed right up my wheel-house. I therefore went into this movie with fairly high expectations. Expectations that weren't immediately dashed, but that slowly deflated as the story unfolded. If you've ever heard of Snow White... well, I'll just assume you have and skip the obvious parts of the plot summary.

Charlize Theron plays the evil queen who seduces Snow White's father and takes over the throne. She does a fantastic job in the role, though, admittedly, there are a few puzzling moments that I couldn't quite get a handle on (a mid-day bath in... milk...?). Anyway, the story does have its cool moments, particularly once we get into the Dark Forest. One thing I should probably mention right off the bat - this movie looks incredible! The visual effects are done masterfully in every scene. Chris Hemsworth also does a great job and even Kristen Stewart isn't that bad. My problems with this film are almost entirely with the story. In the trailer that I've posted below, for example, there is a super-cool Troll that emerges from a bridge and attacks Snow White and the Huntsman. I want to issue a mild SPOILER ALERT at this point: Unfortunately, this really awesomely rendered monster never comes into the story again! What a waste! Also, this Dark Forest that has so much going for it, the one that is also featured in the trailer, only features in the actual movie for about five minutes. That alone turned me slightly against this movie. The filmmakers had so many ideas to put on the screen that they couldn't possibly have done them all justice in a 2 hour film. There are so many dangling threads in this movie that I can only assume they either forgot about or are saving for a future sequel to resolve/explain. It's disappointing beyond belief that the screenwriters let so much potential and everything that was unique and enticing about this version of Snow White fall by the wayside as they pursued a much more cliched and slightly boring approach. I'll withhold talking about the rest of the story to avoid divulging too many spoilers.

Keep in mind, I didn't hate this movie. I think there are a lot of good things going for it, as I've already mentioned. However, the feeling I kept having in the theater was disappointment. I can barely recommend this movie on the merits of its visual style alone, but just know that the best things about this movie are so sparsely used that it's a real let-down. Perhaps with a good re-write this could have been streamlined into the movie it had the potential to be. I give this movie two and a half stars.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.