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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)


Snow White and the Huntsman

Whether it is as close as our television screen or at the box office, fairy-tales are making a triumphant return in a big way – and I love that. Earlier this year, the Snow White legend already was given a fresh spin with this blockbuster being the second take on the Grimm legend. Brought to the big-screen by universal with ambitions to become a trilogy, it may have the big-name stars, beautiful special effects and costumes backing it but I am not sure its blockbuster status is enough to win over the masses.

One walk through the gardens and a wish from a beloved queen sets into motion a powerful destiny that will be the predestined fame of one woman and the undoing of another. Gaining all the power in the land is what the powerful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) wants. Her plans to draw out a grieving king work to her advantage and she has him just where she wants him to be. Marrying the king to get the kind of prestige she so desires is only one part of her evil plan – the second involves murdering him in their wedding bed. Once she wears the crown, she banishes his small daughter (who has as kind a reputation as she is known for her beauty) to the dungeon and rules without fear of being overthrown. For many years, Ravenna has everything she wants; beauty, the fear of the people and a kingdom and yet… she is despondent. It is her vanity that manifests into her own worst enemy.

FILM REVIEW | Mirror Mirror (2012)

Threats of being the second “fairest of all” to another makes Ravenna furious with rage – and even more so when her strong-minded step-daughter escapes her grasp. For ten years Snow White (Kristen Stewart) has lived with the knowledge that the queen murdered her father. Now fate has offered her escape. Not wanting anything to stand in her way of the crown, Ravenna preys on a grieving mans emotions by sending the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after the girl. If she possesses Snow’s heart, she will be assured immortality. Unable to murder the innocent girl, the Huntsman instead becomes her protector, helping her reclaim her crown – and quite possibly the battle for it.
 
Not perhaps how we are used to seeing this legend told, Universal’s take on Snow White was captivating to say the least. It says something to me when the titular heroine has less screen presence than the murderous villainess does. I love to despise villains as most of us do so it only makes sense that scripter’s should write one that is intense and easy to detest, and in this case, their job was made easier by the actress (more on this later). Ironically back when the promotional material for this and Mirror Mirror (the first take on Snow White to appear this year) first emerged, my immediate thought was that I’d see Mirror Mirror and simply rent this one. Well… after seeing that one back in April, I decided it would be way cooler to see them both on the big-screen to compare them. This version has a lot going for it that the first did not… but was it enough?
 
 
Instead of the ever-popular Snow White and the “Seven Dwarves,” this tells the story of the friendship that develops between Snow and the man sent to kill her – grim, right? Perhaps but in reality it is more realistic to its original telling. I prefer the way fairy-tales have blossomed into lighter material over the years, but I can appreciate filmmakers trying to take it back to its origins. The dwarves are still intact, but primarily, this is the story of a relationship between the princess and her protector. Not only did I love that twist, I also didn’t expect that given the presence of Snow’s childhood sweetheart William (Sam Claflin). Mainly the story consists of everything we know but it uses a unique approach to the material and it often yields stunning results.
 
The score is breathtaking – I noticed it before even the film had begun (opening credits) and the scenery indescribable. Special effects are nothing to sneeze at while the opening snow-covered scene is as beautiful as it is desolate. Many other scenes are back-dropped by gorgeous landscapes and provide a visual story for our imaginations – real or not. Likewise costuming is stunning. Designed by Oscar winner Colleen Atwood, I saw a story on her designs in an article and it made me all the more excited to view this film – the sheer genius of the designs makes the movie more of a visual masterpiece than it already was. Charlize is the one who has the most costume changes and she looks darn regal albeit evil in each ensemble – especially in one rare scene in which she wears a gold gown. Now… onto the question everyone was posing: How was the acting? Naturally, Theron and Hemsworth rocked their roles! Just as I suspected they would. Charlize gives us a villain we can detest while Chris’ natural protectiveness of a young innocent he doesn’t even know is noble to the core. There is really nothing more to be said about their acting because they proved to be the pros they are. The big debate has been Kristen Stewart: Did she pull it off? 

Snow White and the Huntsman

I won’t fib – I don’t like Stewart. It isn’t really a fair assessment given that I’ve only seen in a role as a young teen but to her credit, she does a decent “princess-ly" damsel. Her acting relies a lot on expressions and sometimes I wanted her to have more gumption (instead she aimlessly wonders the “dark forest” gasping in fear) but I give her credit for being the one to reclaim her kingdom. Her accent was also much criticized: she actually pulled off one that was not refined but passable. Honestly, I didn’t except her to give as good of a performance as she did; she and Hemsworth had a sweet, genuine if not dynamic chemistry (in particular was the scene in which the Huntsman is pouring out his heart to a lifeless Snow) while the contempt she should have had for Ravenna was just not there.

Should producers pursue a sequel, I’d like to see Kristen return and prove that she has what it takes to make a memorable Snow White because this go-round made me think that maybe she could do the role justice. Maybe not perfection (it does lag a time or two) but this film was fantastically beautiful. Its open-ended conclusion is a bit frustrating but that last gaze may say more than we think plus promise of a second movie will have to pacify those of us who uncovered the forming of a finely faceted jewel in this fantasy’s lover’s dream.

CONTENT: Many sequences are dark and feature creatures who pose a serious threat. There is a terrifying forest scene in which trees and rocks come alive and roots become snakes. Swords and arrows are driven through soldiers, many die; a woman walks through fire and survives and also transforms into many different shapes or beings. Ravenna teases her new husband in her wedding finery on their wedding night before she drives a dagger into his heart; another man fondles a frightened Snow [he caresses her clothed body]. We also see a woman sink into a white liquid naked [a backside shot] and emerge with her hands carefully covering her breasts. This is rated PG13.
 
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Rissi
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20 comments:

  1. I want to see this movie SOO bad! Trying to convince my older brothers. :)

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  2. I really hope you do, Rachel - it is definitely worth seeing on the big screen... in my opinion!

    Cannot wait to get your opinion! :-)

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  3. Hoping hoping hoping. :)

    Just wondering, I REALLY REALLY want to know... does Snow White end up with the Huntsman (Chris) or the other dude?

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  4. Well... I am hoping with you. :-)

    SPOILER ALERT: honestly, it is really all up in the air but... if I were to say, it would be the Huntsman. He and Snow share a knowing look at the end that says a lot plus it is his kiss that changes things. Given that there is a rumored sequel, that is left to the imagination but my two cents worth are these: Loved Snow and the Huntsman together. ;-) END

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  5. I think this movie looks interesting! I'd like to see it, if only for Chris's sake. ;)

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  6. Chris is one of the best things about this movie, AnnaKate. ;-)

    Enjoy!!

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  7. Awesome honest review. Sounds like you dug it for the most part and Stewart wasn't too bad.

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  8. Thanks, Juju - all I realized was that this was one loooong review. LOL!

    I did really like it - a great deal more than I thought which turned out to be awesome!! Plus, Stewart wasn't nearly as wooden as I expected from her which was equally great. :-)

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  9. great review!
    now following your lovely blog :)
    xx

    follow back? eyespyy.blogspot.com

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  10. I was kind of hesitant about this simply because Kristin Stewart played the lead role. But... I think I would like to watch this sometime. :)

    Ps: Have I ever told you how much I like these detailed reviews that you do? :)

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  11. yep, i definitely think that kstew uped her game. absolutely adored this movie! the special effects were beyond incredible!!!
    xo TJ

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  12. I don't know how I feel about this movie;I like Chris Hemsworth,but not Kristen Stewart.

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  13. Eye_Spy - thank you! I appreciate you reading. :-)

    Thanks for the follow and stopping by; I hope you do so again soon! Checked out your blog, and am now following.

    Trinka - you and me both, girl! I do not care for K. Stewart BUT she pulls it off "o.k." I think I'd have liked someone else in the role but she didn't ruin it.

    Aw! Thank you! I hope I can continue to write helpful, informative reviews because that is my goal, so thanks for your kind words. :-)

    Stop in again soon.

    TJ - me, too. I don't think there wasn't another actress who could have done the role more justice but she wasn't bad at all. I really liked this one too; special effects... you said it.

    Definitely a "must-buy." ;-)

    Ella - I know just what you mean. I don't care for Stewart either but... she surprised me. I still would have rather someone else been cast but she did an admirable job.

    Chis = AWESOME.

    Nuff said. LOL!

    Hope you enjoy if you see it. :-)

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  14. I have one more show on the second season of Sherlock, the one where he dies. I know that one will be sad, so I'm putting it off for a little while.

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  15. You should really watch the last episode - you may be surprised with how it concludes. :-)

    Enjoy!

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  16. For me, it was pretty to look at but empty. Movies need a "spark" for them to work. This one didn't have that spark, and unfortunately, I think a lot of it had to do with an inexperienced first time director who chose silence when he needed to invoke emotion through music, and who cast Kristen in the lead. I've seen good performances out of her here and there, but for the most part she has about as much chemistry with co-stars as a lampshade.

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  17. I don't disagree that the plot could have been better or the pacing but overall, I loved it. The scene in the woods was a tad slow and Kristen wasn't the ideal heroine but that didn't stop the movie from being lovely and - for the most part, a "winner."

    Bottom line: I don't think Kristen is destined to be a great actress. But then... that is just my two cents. :-)

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  18. Have to admit to being a huge SW&H fan!! I mean...Chris Hemsworth. 'Nuf said. Thanks for your reviews, and your comments on my page! I have found myself coming to your page alot lately to read reviews on movies I want to watch! Thanks!

    Kellie @ Cherry Coke & Popcorn Movie Reviews
    www.cherrycokeandpopcorn.com

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  19. Oops. Make that www.cherrycokeandpopcorn.blogspot.com ;) Always forget that "blogspot" in there. ;)

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  20. Yay! So many viewers are down on this film. I liked a lot about it though Kristen wasn't one of those positive assets. Chris and Charlize however were both BRILLIANT.

    Thank you! I appreciate that and the same to you: I've enjoyed my visits to Cherry Coke and Popcorn (great name BTW :-D). Visit often and I loved hearing from you today. :-) Thanks, Kellie.

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