Snow White and the Huntsman is the latest fairy tale live action "grown up" adaptation to the big screen...and the second Snow White adaptation in just a matter of a few weeks. From the trailers, I expected to like this movie a lot more than the one that came out previously (Mirror, Mirror). From the trailers, it was grittier, edgier and had a cast I was more interested in (with the exception of Kristen Stewart).
This movie takes the Snow White fairy tale we all (likely) know and changes it ever so slightly. (WARNING: Minor spoilers in following 2 paragraphs)
Even as a young child, Snow White is charming and cute and everyone in the kingdom loves her. The king's wife dies and he is sad and withdrawn as a result. Then comes a strange battle in which the king rescues Ravena (played by Charlise Theron). Naturally the king is smitten by her beauty and marries her.
As in the fairy tale, there are dwarves, apples, a scary forest, and plenty of magic.
From a storyline perspective, it was hard to believe that this Snow White would have been able to successfully escape the castle, let alone survive as long as she does and come back to fight the queen one-on-one. From a logistics, strength and training aspect...she's spent the past 10 years locked in a small prison cell with no indication that she was doing any exercise or training and she has little or no knowledge of life outside the castle. Yet somehow...she makes it.
St. Crispen's Day speech from Henry V. Instead I found myself squirming and uneasy for Snow White, assuming that she was going to motivate NOBODY and ending up going on her own. The acting award has to go to the crowd that enthusiastically cheered and applauded her speech and agreed to join her cause. Once she suits up in armor, I felt like she looked just ridiculous.
Similar to the Huntsman, we also have the "Prince" (actually a duke, but who's counting). He only had about half the screen time of the Huntsman, but basically worked as a parallel to him, helping out in the fighting. He also provided the love interest for Snow White...which gave added tension, since it was evident that the Huntsman was also slated as the love interest. Thus we have two guys passively vying for Snow White's love. This certainly wasn't a love story like the fairy tale. But the Evil Queen does provide big commentaries on love. And there is the underlying "love's first kiss" to break a spell later on, but it's not really elaborated on.
Overall, I found the gritty action scenes a lot of fun. The Evil Queen was frighteningly evil and I found her magic and behavior absolutely chilling. I was very underwhelmed and unconvinced by Snow White. While the Huntsman and the Prince were adequate, their performances felt a little lackluster. And the ending...? Well, even though the "love story" wasn't pronounced, I definitely felt the lack of a "happily ever after" for this fairy tale. While it wasn't awful, it wasn't fabulous. Could be a decent rental option.
3 out of 5 stars
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