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Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

May. 31, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: When her father the king is murdered by his new wife, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is imprisoned, until the day she comes of age, when the evil queen will devour her heart in order to keep her immortality. Snow escapes, only to be hunted down by The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth)- who's been forced into the Queen's service. Luckily for Snow, he has a change of heart, and, along with a group of eight dwarfs (rather than the traditional seven) and her childhood crush, William (Sam Claflin), they set off to destroy the kqueen and bring peace to the kingdom.

REVIEW: Just like the ads say, this ain't no fairytale. In fact, for the first half hour or so, it almost felt like I was watching a big screen version of GAME OF THRONES (right down to the incestuous, blond-haired, sibling villains), albeit one with far less sex and gore (damn). Certainly, SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN puts the grim back into the Brothers Grimm, and for the most part, I found this to be a highly entertaining fantasy adventure.


Of course, this version of SNOW WHITE has nothing at all to do with this spring's MIRROR, MIRROR- which I've yet to see (not that I have any desire to), or even the classic Disney cartoon. In fact, the only other version of Snow White that seems to have been some form of inspiration is a little known cable version from the nineties called SNOW WHITE: A TALE OF TERROR, which was even darker than this.

SW&TH certainly is a radical re-imaging, and a very successful one- or so it seemed to me sitting in a theatre full of cheering, clapping moviegoers. Running a shade over two hours, this takes it's time telling the story in an appropriately epic fashion, with a good chunk of time setting up Ravenna's rise to power (including a very LOTR-style battle with soldiers made of black glass), and Snow White's initial escape. The Huntsman doesn't even figure into the story until about half hour in, and the dwarfs until the film is half over, but to director Rupert Sanders credit, this isn't much of an issue.


As Ravenna, Charlize Theron (certainly the fairest of them all) seems to be having the time of her life chewing the scenery as the deliciously evil queen. Whether sucking the youth out of teenage beauties, or chewing the hearts out of black crows, Theron is terrific- although the sheer over-the-top way she devours the part may put off some. To me, this seemed just right. Director Sanders seems just as enthralled with Theron as we are, and for large parts of the movie she dominates it, and some of the imagery involving her character, including her emergence from a milk bath, and transformation into a flock of crows- is quite striking.

Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart makes an extremely likable Snow White, and while some have snarked at her getting the part, she once again proves that there's a lot more to her than TWILIGHT, and she perfectly embodies the purity that the character is supposed to radiate (although- this being 21st century fare, she kicks a bit of ass too).


Once he shows up, Chris Hemsworth also makes for a fine Huntsman. While Hemsworth initially seemed a little young to be playing the battle-weary, alcoholic Huntsman, he's able to play a lot older than he actually is. Differentiating the part from Thor, Hemsworth adopts a thick Scottish brogue, along with greasy hair and a beard, and (sorry ladies) manages to keep his shirt on most of the time. Hemsworth is kinda perfect in films like this, bringing an effective edge to the part, as well as doing nicely in the many action sequences. As Snow White's princely love-interest, Sam Claflin is game, although next to Theron, Stewart, and Hemsworth, his part seems a bit inconsequential and disposable.

As for the dwarfs, they come into the film an hour in, and bring some much needed comic relief to this dark fairy tale. Considering that they're played by a who's who of awesome English actors (including Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan, and Bob Hoskins)- you can be sure that they steal the show once they're introduced, with each getting the time to make a nice impression. While they're far less merry than their animated counterparts, they bring some much needed wit to the proceedings, and also hit a nice melancholic note, with them being the last of their kind, that fits in well with the rest of the film.

Suffice to say, SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN really impressed me, and I'll admit that I'm not the easiest sell for fantasy films (I like the genre, but I like it done well- see GAME OF THRONES). But, the gritty vibe (matched by a thunderous musical score by James Newton Howard), the top-notch leads, and striking visuals left me plenty satisfied. And it's in good ol' 2D. Hooray!

Source: JoBlo.com

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+2
10:31PM on 06/05/2012

Got Milkbath?

Very well put, Chris. I agree 100%.
Very well put, Chris. I agree 100%.
Your Reply:



3:17PM on 06/04/2012
This movie was so fucking boring.
This movie was so fucking boring.
Your Reply:



1:37AM on 06/02/2012
Loved it
Loved it
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8:30AM on 06/01/2012
8/10? I'm surprised!
8/10? I'm surprised!
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+1
3:25PM on 05/31/2012

That pic of Charlize Theron

So many inappropriate jokes spring to mind
So many inappropriate jokes spring to mind
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8:31AM on 06/01/2012
Servant #1 to The Queen: "Sire, you're taking the wrong bath tub". Hahaha.
Servant #1 to The Queen: "Sire, you're taking the wrong bath tub". Hahaha.
1:59PM on 05/31/2012
I feel like I saw a completely different movie. It's hardly "radical" and more like a Lord of the Rings wannabe. Stewart is terrible and miscast, though her role is underwritten. She hardly speaks or gets anything to do for 90+ minutes and then suddenly morphs into a vocal, forceful leader. In armor she looks like a little kid playing dress up. While it is visually striking at times, the story is often dull and disjointed. 5/10 at best.
I feel like I saw a completely different movie. It's hardly "radical" and more like a Lord of the Rings wannabe. Stewart is terrible and miscast, though her role is underwritten. She hardly speaks or gets anything to do for 90+ minutes and then suddenly morphs into a vocal, forceful leader. In armor she looks like a little kid playing dress up. While it is visually striking at times, the story is often dull and disjointed. 5/10 at best.
Your Reply:



11:55AM on 05/31/2012

Poor Hemsworth...

The guy actually has talent and for him to have to play the hero to the plank of wood known as Kristen Stewart is sad.
The guy actually has talent and for him to have to play the hero to the plank of wood known as Kristen Stewart is sad.
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2:13PM on 05/31/2012
Stewart was actually pretty good, and held her own in this movie. Given this is the only movie I've ever seen her in besides "Jumper" (where she has one line). But I guess you can judge that without ever having to see the movie for yourself, huh?
Stewart was actually pretty good, and held her own in this movie. Given this is the only movie I've ever seen her in besides "Jumper" (where she has one line). But I guess you can judge that without ever having to see the movie for yourself, huh?
+12
10:10AM on 05/31/2012
Nice review, looking forward to seeing it this weekend.
Nice review, looking forward to seeing it this weekend.
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+5
9:27AM on 05/31/2012
Good review.

There's a typo in the Plot summary: "they set off to destroy the KING and bring peace to the kingdom." Should be queen, shouldn't it?
Good review.

There's a typo in the Plot summary: "they set off to destroy the KING and bring peace to the kingdom." Should be queen, shouldn't it?
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2:42PM on 05/31/2012
Nah. She's the KING of Queens.
Nah. She's the KING of Queens.
+10
4:54AM on 05/31/2012
Chris is looking very viking with that long axe. :)
Chris is looking very viking with that long axe. :)
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+18
4:52AM on 05/31/2012
Great review! I am glad to hear that they took their time in the beginning to set up a proper story instead of streamlining it. I had forgotten about the all-star cast of the dwarfs. I definitely won't be missing this in the cinema.
Great review! I am glad to hear that they took their time in the beginning to set up a proper story instead of streamlining it. I had forgotten about the all-star cast of the dwarfs. I definitely won't be missing this in the cinema.
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+4
1:08AM on 05/31/2012
THANK YOU! Seeing it at midnight Friday. This is the first film of the summer for me that got me super excited for it. Excited enough that this is only the second time I am going to a midnight screening.
THANK YOU! Seeing it at midnight Friday. This is the first film of the summer for me that got me super excited for it. Excited enough that this is only the second time I am going to a midnight screening.
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+5
12:53AM on 05/31/2012
I agree with the review, mostly. I just had a problem with the weird pacing. 7/10 for me.
I agree with the review, mostly. I just had a problem with the weird pacing. 7/10 for me.
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