“Snow White and the Huntsman”
Directed by- Rupert Sanders
Running Time- 127 min.
Rated- PG 13
Is it so hard to find original material these days that we have rehash everything? I know remakes are a big part of the movie industry and have been for a long time, but a darker version of “Snow White”? The television series “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” and the film “Mirror Mirror” weren't enough? Whenever a remake is made it begs comparison to the original, especially when the original is a classic.
Kristen Stewart lands the part of Snow White, the princess of Tabor, daughter of King Magnus and Queen Eleanor. The Queen dies and the King remarries after his army defeats a Dark army of glass soldiers and finds a beautiful woman Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron as their prisoner. On their wedding night Ravenna kills King Magnus revealing it was her glass army Magnus defeated and she is in fact a powerful sorceress. Ravenna has the power to drain the beauty from women and make it her own.
When Ravenna's real army seizes control of the kingdom, Snow White's childhood friend, William and his father Duke Hammond escape but fail to take Snow White with them. She instead is locked away in a tower of the castle. As the years pass, Ravenna's rule destroys the kingdom. She drains all the beauty from the kingdom's women and the crops and plants stop growing as if as a result of her rule.
Ravenna has a magic mirror, as in all the other versions of the tale, and when she says her magic chant it appears to melt and reform into a human silhouette, voiced by Christopher Obi Ogugua. The effect is one of the coolest of the movie. Upon consulting the mirror she learns that Snow White has come of age where she is now the fairest of them all and that she is the only one who can defeat the Queen. Snow White, the mirror also reveals, is the one who can give the Queen eternal life if she consumes her heart. So Ravenna sends her brother, Finn, played by Sam Spruell, to bring Snow White to her so she can kill her and eat her heart- I know, it's dark right? But through chance Snow White finds a sharp nail and manages to use it to escape from Finn and she somehow manages to escape the castle and the village and evade the chasing soldiers by going into the dark forest where the Queen, it turns out, has no powers.
Stewart brings the same strength to this character as she did to Bella in "Twilight". And when I say strength, I mean a strong willed character who is willing to fight for what's right. In my opinion though, Stewart is annoying in both roles and I find myself secretly wishing someone will succeed in defeating one of her characters. She is pretty but I still don't think she can act. The fact that all her characters are basically the same is proof of her lack of range.
Ravenna hires Eric the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth, to go into the dark forest and bring back Snow White in exchange for bringing his dead wife back to life. The Huntsman was a character in the original story as well. In the original he is told to kill Snow White and bring back her heart as proof of her death. But the Huntsman is so taken by Snow White's beauty he can't bring himself to kill her and instead he allows her to flee into the woods. The makers of this movie thought it would be a good idea for that to be the love story of the tale instead of the one between Snow White and Prince Charming. In this version, Eric finds Snow White quickly but when Finn reveals the Queen can not bring people back to life, Eric fights off the soldiers, takes Snow White and they flee further into the woods.
Now on the run, Eric and Snow White find a village filled with women who have intentionally scared themselves so the Queen will not want their beauty. The Huntsman decides to leave Snow White with them. A grown-up William, who is played by Sam Claflin, learns that Snow White is alive and on the run in the dark forest. He infiltrates Finn's search party as a bowman, by killing the other bowman and getting his job. When Finn's men find the women's village they set it on fire. Eric returns to help when he sees the flames from a distance and he and Snow White and William, whom she is reunited with, all flee further away.
They find sanctuary when they meet the dwarfs. Instead of the traditional Dopey, Sneezy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Bashful and Doc, the dwarfs are named Muir, played by Bob Hoskins, Beith, Gort, Coll, Duir, Quert, Nion, and Gus. That makes eight, but one of them will die so they'll be only seven by movie's end. I don't know why they have such weird names and we never learn much about any of their personalities to care about any of them with the exception of Muir, who is blind but is sage and kind hearted. They could have been the movie's comic relief but they were not.
The longer Snow White evades Ravenna the more Ravenna's youthful beauty fades. This provides Theron her dramatic moments of anger, most of which are over the top and overcooked. Ravenna disguises herself as William and tricks Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, unlike the original when she disguises herself as an elderly woman peddling apples. The change makes sense since Snow White is more apt to trust William than anyone else, but it begs the question of how Ravenna suddenly knew where Snow White was.
Snow White falls into a coma and appears dead. She is kissed by William, a moment that brought her back to life in the original, but nothing happens. Later she is kissed by Eric the Huntsman and she comes back to life revealing he is her love and not William. I know it's the title of the movie but I don't like the change even though the original fairy tale is ridiculous too. I don't like it because they “Twilight-ified” the love story where once again Kristen Stewart has to choose between two great loves who are equally attractive and love her equally as well.
When Snow White awakens, she rallies her now army of followers like the warrior-princess she has suddenly become, to fight Ravenna's army so she can kill her. The battle is the movie's climax and it comes down to Snow White vs Ravenna with a predictable ending.
The recipe for this adaptation of the German fairy tale was simple- take out all the charm and humor from Walt Disney's “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and instead refocus everything on the horror and violence of the story. The tone of the movie is somber throughout and there are not enough moments to rejoice. None of the action is that exciting. In fact the entire first half of the movie is slow paced. There are no big surprises or twists. And movie's success relies on the audience's familiarity with the plot. The acting was uneven, the love story turned into a cliché and the story fails to produce the power the set-up suggests the movie will have.
What's even worse than all that, is that I hear they are making a sequel to mistake of a remake.
Review Grade- D