Beautiful Snow White (Kristen Stewart), whose hair is as black as night and skin as pale as snow, watches her father (Noah Huntley) get ensnared and murdered by the mesmerising yet pure evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) when she is young. Now of age, Snow must escape the dank North tower she reluctantly calls home and fight for what she knows is right; to save her father’s kingdom. With the help of a grieving drunkard huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and eight questionable dwarves; will Snow defeat her evil Stepmother and become the loving queen the kingdom deserves?
So it continues, 2012 is the year where traditionally young, innocent female characters are empowered and trick the masculine world with their intelligence and femininity. We had it with Katniss in The Hunger Games, Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and now we have it with Rupert Sanders own take on the Grimm fairy tale where Snow White dons medieval armour and wields around a sword with the intention of killing.
Snow White and The Huntsman is a mash up between Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth. The spectator is thrown straight into the action with a battle scene practically identical to the opening scene in Gladiator where the good army prevails. The CGI locations and mythical creatures are similar to the locations and creatures in Pans Labyrinth. The fairyland is made up of bright luminous greens and melodic tunes representing a fantastical and hopeful realm, whereas the troll resembled that of the faun in Pans Labyrinth bringing the dangers of the fantasy world back to the forefront.
Kristen Stewart’s mumbling and slightly awkward acting style has been criticised since she played the insecure vampire lover Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga. However, Stewart’s acting for this feature is pitch perfect and consequently, her emotionally damaged acting persona works well when playing a kid that has been locked up in a tower for seven years. The character grows into herself throughout the film and changes from the innocent stereotypical character into a more bad-ass chick with great leadership skills.
Theron plays the evil Queen Ravenna, a powerful witch that pries on the innocence and beauty of the village virgins to stay young and beautiful. Theron’s low and slow vocals create a chilling and menacing demeanour that should not be messed with. Interestingly, Sanders does give the character some kind of a back-story as to why she became the evil monster she is. However, this sympathy is shrouded by the following sequence when the spectator sees the queen, surrounded by the dead, looking pleased at her borrowed beauty and youth. It is hard to feel sorry for a cold blooded killer even if she was cursed by her own mother!
Thor’s Chris Hemsworth played the huntsman forced by Queen Ravenna to find and kill Snow. Due to underdevelopment of characters, the huntsman changed from a major character to a secondary character as the film progressed. However, we’ve heard through the grape vine that Sanders has already been approached to direct the sequel to this feature that will focus a lot more on the back-story of the huntsman. Fingers crossed that the sequel will shed some light as to why the huntsman is a major character worthy of half the title!
The casting for the eight (yes eight!) dwarves was perfect and innovative. Leading up to the film, the notion of whether the dwarves were going to make an appearance in this adaptation was always kept under wraps. Good thing too! The surprise of having iconic British actors playing the roles of the dwarves added a light-hearted comedy appeal as well as creating a balance of comedy and grit. Congratulations Sanders! Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost played the druggie dwarves with comedic genius and brought some light-hearted Britishness to the film.
A visually sound and gothic retelling of the classic story. Full to the brim with fantastical elements such as medieval battles, poisonous apples and drug abusing dwarves, Snow White and The Huntsman has something for everyone. Yet, this could be its downfall. Underdevelopment of character left the narrative feeling rushed and incomplete. Maybe next time Sanders!