Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan, Noah Huntley, and more.
Directed by: Rupert Sanders Screenplay by: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini Screen Story by: Evan Daugherty Original Music by: James Newton Howard Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Premise: After having been held captive for a decade, Snow White escapes the clutches of her step mother on the eve she was to be killed to give Ravenna eternal beauty and power. Escaping into the Dark Forest, she forces the queen to seek outside help in tracking her from the Huntsman. A broken man since he lost his wife, the Hunstman agrees to find Snow White after the queen promises she can bring back his beloved. Yet when he meets her, it comes to light that all is not as he’d been told. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting – Thumbs Up: Charlize Theron made for a tasty evil queen. Her desperation to remain beautiful and shattered self worth were easy to see and made you empathize despite yourself. Chris Hemsworth also did a good job as the heartbroken Huntsman. Kristen Stewart also did well, despite the fact she was given little to work with.
All the dwarves were played by normal height actors shrunk to size. And while I love Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and several of the other actors portraying the dwarves, after having seen the available talent of diminutive men as shown in “Mirror Mirror”, “Special Unit 2”, and “Game of Thrones”, it seemed odd for the film makers to have used special effects to create the shorter men rather than pull from the awesome pool of talent already out there.
2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: While the special effects were top rate, it proved hard not to be a little disappointed as most of the major ones had already been given away in the previews or proved to be drug induced hallucinations rather than the real thing. It also didn’t help matters that the edit on the previews created certain false expectations in plot and number of special effects, which did not materialize.
3) Plot/Story – Neutral: The story of Snow White has been done many times, so it’s not like viewers don’t know what to expect. I must give credit in that it was nice to see them delve deeper into Ravenna and what brought her to be as she was, and that a lot of detail and thought was given to the Huntsman as well, with a twist to the original, but the character of Snow White had no real detail or flavor whatsoever.
Worse, Ravenna’s brother, Finn, exhibited all the worst traits his sister loathed in men and exercised them. As long as the two were together, I found it very difficult to believe she would not have discovered his predilections and corrected them through magical surgery or other means.
One last sad point with the plot was that though there were excellent actors involved, the film lacked life. There was no spark to the story, making the whole come across as bland fare. The chosen previews in no way helped this, as they showed most of the effects used and led viewers into making false assumptions with regards to some of the combat scenes and the majority of the Dark Forest.
5) Locations/Cinematography – Thumbs Up: Excellent spanning shots were doled throughout the film. Many of the shots allowed even comparisons by viewers of the state of things pre and post Ravenna, which made for great contrast and encapsulated how dark everyone’s lives had become.
6) Costuming/Makeup – Thumbs Up: Make sure to take a close look at all of Ravenna’s dresses, especially the ones after she takes over everything – the one with a full collar of bleached crow skulls was especially impressive. Unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t even realize what it was made from. Kudos for the work on all her clothes.
For Snow White, while I loved the puffed sleeves giving subtle homage to the Disney version, the rest of her main costume made no sense whatsoever, which truly distracted from the film. Here you have an eighteen year old who has been imprisoned in a tower and never let out for ten years, yet she has a dress on as well as thick pants and strong leather boots? It is implied they might have been gifts from Finn, but a lech would not have given a young girl clothes to hide her femininity from his view, especially as he liked to watch her while she slept. Unfortunately, since all the other characters and costumes were so well done, it made this inconsistency stick out even more.
Conclusion: I wanted to love this film, but despite the good acting and great visuals, it left me feeling flat and strangely dissatisfied. The previews, I feel, did the movie a great disservice and raised expectations or created assumptions that the film did not actually deliver on, prepping the viewer for unexpected disappointments.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Better For Matinee.)