57/100 (127 min, 2012)
Plot: In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Director: Rupert Sanders
Evan Daugherty (screenplay), John Lee Hancock (screenplay)
Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron
Not the fairest of them all
Snow White and the Huntsman was really shaping out to be a good movie - all the trailers, TV spots and pictures promised darker, more exciting and mature take on the famous classic fairytale. Unfortunately, the film falls flat because of the very poor script and film's unnecessary prolonged run time. Even when some elements do work here, because there are so many story arcs the film frequently abandons its greatest achievements and replaces them with boring sequences that at times make the film quite a snoozefest.
After the loss of her mother, Snow White is living alone with her father, the King in the castle and spends a lot of time playing with her friend - William. Soon the land is attacked by the mysterious, magical army. When the King defeats them he finds a prisoner - beautiful woman named Ravenna and instantly falls prey to her charm. Ravenna murders him during wedding night, takes over the kingdom and imprisons Snow White.
Years later when Snow White is a young woman the Evil Queen decides to consume her heart after consulting with her magical mirror, so that she would never again suck the youth out of the beautiful women, which brings her desired, but short-lived effect. Snow White manages to escape, to Queen's fury. Ravenna sends the Huntsman after her, to capture her and bring Snow White to the castle. However upon meeting Snow White the Huntsman switches sides and they both travel through dangerous and magical land.
The film's biggest asset is the amazing visual side - from the beautiful landscapes through the gorgeous and imaginative sequences like the one in the Magic Forest to the impressive battle sequences - the film really catches the eye. There are also many details from the classic story. slightly changed to great effect - the mirror takes shape of a man in gold cloak and hood and the movie uses curious technique which frequently shows Ravenna talking to it, only to cut to the different point of view of character watching her and seeing her talking to regular mirror, as if she was delusional.
It is truly a waste because Theron really managed to create fascinating character here - completely horrified by the perspective of getting old and dying. The film's best moment is when we see Ravenna calling out to the Mirror for the first time - you can see Ravenna's panic and fear, dreading that she will not be proclaimed the most beautiful woman in the world. Theron really knows how to create chilling villain - she can be eerily calm and abruptly violent and falling into blind fury the next moment. Much like Elizabeth Bathory, sacrificing young and beautiful girls in order to stay young forever it is truly a shame Ravenna is not the protagonist here.
And then there is Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, young actress who is receiving so much of unjustified hatred. She is doing quite well her, capturing Snow White's kindness and courage, but she is the weakest link in the cast - not so much because of the way she plays the part, but because of the part itself. Between sweet Snow White, complicated Huntsman and mischievous Ravenna, the character of Snow White pretty much always comes off bland. As for the obvious that Theron is much more beautiful than Stewart - in the end it's not really about beauty, it's about youth.
With every movie directed at youth nowadays there needs to be a love triangle, and we have one here - William comes back all grown up, wanting to protect Snow White. He is played by Sam Claflin, the very same who played virtuous priest in recent Pirates of the Caribbean instalment and he is just as bland here. Whenever he is on screen the movie falls into bottomless pit of cliches and familiar maneuvers, though the iconic kiss that wakes Snow White from death is quite a surprise here and also happens after moving sequence which showcases one actor's ability in particular. We also have a sidekick to Ravenna, her brother Finn, played by Sam Spruell who manages to create quite the creepy performance, without falling into grotesque or ridiculousness.
Fortunately, there is plenty to marvel at here - visual effects, which highlight the origin of Ravenna's name as she transforms herself into hundreds of ravens, all the creatures in the Dark Forrest and the Sanctuary, the mirror itself and the extremely impressive mixture of make up and CGI in many scenes really make you see where all the money spent on this movie went. The film is also greatly aided by James Newton Howard's score - which is not his best work, but works very well in the film and has several memorable moments.
Snow White and the Huntsman would be very enjoyable even with all its prolonged sequences that are simply unnecessary if it wasn't for gigantic plot holes that are everywhere. We know the extent of Ravenna's power shortly before Snow White dies from biting the apple - question is why didn't she tricked her when Snow White was imprisoned? Just do the thing, rip the heart and it's done.
If there is one thing Snow White and the Huntsman proves is that the film based on fairy tale works best when it focuses on the evil antagonist. Had the film was centered on Ravenna it would be so much better. I can only hope that upcoming Maleficient, the retelling of Sleeping Beauty will be much better. It will show the events from the evil chracter's point of view, played by Angelina Jolie which I'm sure will be great in the part.