Monday, 4 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and is known as a great beauty. Her mother, the Queen dies when she is young and her father remarries a freed prisoner called Ravenna (Charlize Theron). On their wedding night Ravenna kills the King and takes the Kingdom for herself. Snow White is locked up in an isolated tower for several years as the Kingdom is left to rot under Ravenna’s cruel rule. When she comes of age it is revealed to Ravenna that she is no longer the fairest of them all and that Snow White’s beauty has usurped hers. Ravenna tries to eat Snow White’s heart in order to stay forever young but Snow White escapes. Ravenna sends a drunken widower Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring Snow White back but things don’t pan out the way Ravenna hopes.

The film appears to be influenced by many different stories and ideas with the most notable being Snow White (obviously), but there is also a lot of Joan of Ark in there as well as a little Twilight, Game of Thrones, Royal Wedding and the visual styling of an acid trip. The castle appears to be modelled on Mont St.Michael in Normandy. The film’s design and effects are amongst its most successful features. Debut director Rupert Sanders has created a sumptuous world of dark forests, great castles, dancing fairies, giant trolls and medieval towns. The film looks stunning.

Unfortunately the story isn’t so great. 95% of people must know the Snow White story so in order to freshen it up the writers have made Snow White less of a dainty princess and more of a fighter (as I said, Joan of Ark). They’ve also added the Huntsman character as a kind of hunk with flaws. In the end Snow White is a grumpy teenager in a love triangle with bad people out to get her. Seem familiar Bella Kristen? The story has been Twilightified in order to appeal to a certain demographic and if my screening of popcorn munching, mobile phone answering teens was anything to go by then its been a success. I liked that the film had two very strong female characters, something that is rare in a mainstream Hollywood movie. Neither the Queen nor Snow White relied heavily on men and both were naturally strong and powerful in their own right. Another thing I liked about the story is that Charlize Theron’s Ravenna is a character that many people will identify with. She is afraid that loosing her looks will mean a loss of power and influence and in our media driven world I think that this is an interesting theme. She fears that Snow White’s beauty usurping her own will mean that she is no longer centre stage.

This brings me on to my next point. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
“Kristen Stewart”
“You what?”
Surely the whole idea with a Snow White story is that Snow White is ‘fairer’ that the evil Queen. Kristen Stewart is in no way fairer than Charlize Theron. Kristen Stewart is a woman who looks like she’s mildly annoyed to have bees in her ears. Even when Theron was looking aged she was still more appealing that Kristen Stewart. The only scene in which she looked ‘fair’ was in a scene that she was ‘dead’! But then she woke up and remembered those pesky bees and her face turned to a grimace once more. Another slightly dodgy area was at the beginning of the film when everyone was going on about how hot the young child Snow White was.

Along with the great cinematography and CGI another highlight for me was the Seven Dwarfs. They were played by some fine actors in wonderful prosthetic hair and makeup and included Ian McShane (Grumpy), Bob Hoskins (Blindy), Toby Jones (You Firsty), Eddie Marsan (No After Youy), Ray Winstone (Angry), Nick Frost (Drunky) and Brian Gleeson (Irishy). All of the Dwarfs were great without exception and I’d have happily watched an entire film with them as central characters. The standout was Ray Winstone whose personality seems to suit being a short, drunk, angry dwarf. They provided most of the comic relief and deflected attention from some bad acting from the stars. Kirsten Stewart was fine in the action scenes but as soon as she had to convey any sort of emotion she seemed to revert to her factory settings and grimace while pointing her chin. Her accent was fine in places but slipped at times. Chris Hemsworth is introduced in the same manner as every man seems to these days, as a drunk and a waster (Battleship, John Carter) but soon takes to heroism. He was alright but his accent slipped a lot and ended up somewhere between Glasgow and Bucharest. Charlize Theron was excellent as the evil and shouty Ravenna and actually pulled a muscle during filming from all the shouting.  

Snow White and the Huntsman is a film which looks good but is patchy elsewhere. It felt overly long and a bit dull and I just didn’t buy Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Aesthetically at least it is great and I look forward to seeing what director Rupert Sanders comes back with next.


1 comment:

  1. Stewart's Snow White, meanwhile, pouts her lips, bats her bedroom eyes, and scarcely seems to have more on her mind than who might take her to the senior prom.