Movie Reviews

‘Snow White And The Huntsman’: A dark retelling

By Travis WongMovies - 31 May 2012 11:38 AM | Updated 12:12 PM

‘Snow White And The Huntsman’: A dark retelling

Kristen Stewart plays the fair Snow White and is supposedly fairer than the very hot Charlize Theron. What gives?

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Though clunky as a century-old suit of armour, the second version of the Snow White legend to hit cinemas this year (the first being Tarsem Singh’s ‘Mirror Mirror’), is a good effort that might not deserve an apple but won’t send you into a deep sleep either.

The legend is given a more epic gloss. Snow White is played by Kristen Stewart, more well-known for the role of Bella from the ‘Twilight’ series. The Huntsman of the title is Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor of ‘The Avengers’, an alcoholic widower who also seems to be hygienically challenged.

Also read: Fairy tales take over the movies

Playing the key villain and seemingly determined to out-act Oscar winner Julia Roberts, the evil witch in ‘Mirror Mirror’, is Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Theron appears to take the role very seriously, while much of the other cast put in perfunctory performances. Stewart has shown she has been capable of more, as seen in the Joan Jett biopic ‘The Runaways’, but she seems, well, half-awake.

Charlize Theron is the scariest queen bi*%h in fairytale-land

There’s also Finn, Ravanna’s brother, played by Sam Spurrell, with a peroxide hairstyle resembling Moe from the ‘Three Stooges’, which might explain why it’s hard to take him seriously. Also trying to get some screentime is William (Sam Claffin), who is thrown in as another love interest to ensure that The Huntsman work a little for Snow White’s heart.

Of course, some major tweaking has been done to the story, which ends up somewhere between Disney’s animated version and the fable reimagined through the hit TV series ‘A Game of Thrones’, which shares many elements of this fantasy fable, including having a dwarf or two. ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ is not as brutal or sexist as the latter, but not ashamed to go a little dark and nasty.

After the big bad Witch, aka Ravenna, has married and killed the King, Snow White’s father, all in one night (she works quickly), Snow White is imprisoned in a tower. Obviously living in an age pre-dating Botox injections and plastic surgery, Ravenna captures beautiful woman and devours their souls in order to preserve her own beauty. Years later, after Ravenna learns that eating our heroine’s heart can grant her eternal life, Snow White escapes the tower. Ravenna hires the Huntsman to track her down, but, surprise surprise, he ends up rescuing her.

The obligatory poison apple scene -- Just gotta have it

The pair end up being captured by dwarves, who eventually bring them to the kingdom of a Duke who is the final holdout from the evil Queen, and you can probably deduce the rest.

While much of the movie is dead serious, the movie gains some levity once the dwarves appear. Played by actors like Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane and others, there’s a sense of fun but novice director Rupert Sanders keeps them from overwhelming the grim tone of the film.

Sanders does a fair job but some points are fumbled. The relationship between Snow White and William is a little confusing, and the film lacks much momentum. You get the feeling that you’re watching someone trying to over embellish a story you’ve heard a dozen times before, and with a more than two hour running time, wish he’d just get it over with and get to the happily ever after part.

Still, Theron keeps the film from being a snoozefest, even though she does go way over-the-top. Along with some gorgeous creature design, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ might not be the prettier of the Snow White adaptations, but it is the more interesting one.

‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ is showing in theatres everywhere.