Friday, 8 June 2012

Snow White And The Huntsman

Rating: ★★★½

Mirror mirror on the wall which movie is the fairest of them all? Well, it has to be Universal Studios Snow White And The Huntsman!

Snow storm
A couple months ago I reviewed Relativity Media's Mirror Mirror and explained exactly why I thought it has to be the worst adaptation of a fairytale I have ever seen. I also wrote about how I was a lot more excited about Snow White And The Huntsman which had its release date moved back so as not to clash with Mirror Mirror. If you hadn't guessed they are both based on the fairytale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

Snow White And The Huntsman was the perfect blend of fairytale wonder and action movie excitement. This version sticks a lot closer to the original tale, both in style and plot. It opens with an enchanting prologue similar to many other fairytale films but ends with a battle similar to a fantasy adventure film like Lord Of The Rings.

She may not be the fairest, but she's still the best
Even though the film is called Snow White And The Huntsman the true star has to be Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. She is very menacing and portrays someone obsessed with beauty very convincingly. Maybe even too convincingly.

Skin as white as a vampire
Kristen Stewart has upped her acting game a lot since Twilight but I still find her very annoying. The scene where she escapes a troll just by giving him the puppy dog eyes made me want to throw up into my popcorn box. Kristen reminds me of a young Keira Knightley except not as pretty and a little bit dead behind the eyes. And even though Snow White in this film was given a strong action-heroine makeover, the filmmakers still can't escape her 'fairest in the land' dullness!

He steals her heart... without putting it in a box
Chris Hemsworth was another highlight. He was quite funny and tough, but was also very good at the more emotional scenes, which is a very difficult balance to get right in an adventure film. I can also see why Chris might have woman queuing at the cinema to see Snow White And The Huntsman. That said, romance lovers may feel a little dissatisfied with the ending which left Snow White's romantic future a bit too ambiguous.

Magic rule book
The main problem I had with the film was the magic. I didn't really understand what the guidelines were. At the end it all became very confusing. In one scene Snow White has a magic connection with a white hart deer and it's meant to be very poignant but I was starting to think 'what the hell is going on?'

Larger than life characters
Another aspect where Snow White and the Huntsman trumped Mirror, Mirror was the portrayal of Snow White's little friends - the Dwarfs. In this film they were a rambunctious team of forest bandits played by an assortment of Great British character actors including Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost and Ian McShane. They had a lot more personality to them than just being Happy or Sneezy or Dopey!

I particularly loved the film's distinctive design which was sort of Art Deco by way of Medieval Gothic and the fact that it was consistent throughout the film made the magical world very believable and engaging.

All in all, this movie has proved that you can do an effectively dramatic, grown-up adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It has also proved that the Evil Queen is now the much more coveted role in Hollywood than the nice but dull princess. That said, as usual the Evil Queen doesn't get her happy ever after.

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