Snow White and the Huntsman (12a)
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron
Running time: 127mins
Seeing Snow White and the Huntsman reminded of the days before the internet, when movies were fresh and new when you saw them in the cinema and things were much better for it.
Sure, we covered it on FTN, but all I really watched was the trailer, not because I wasn’t interested, but mostly it just got past my radar. So when I went in I wasn’t sure what I was getting – I wasn’t even sure if a certain group of seven friends would be in the movie, as I couldn’t see how they’d exist in the reality created here.
Based on the fairy tale of an evil witch (Theron) who is the fairest in the land but becomes threatened when her magic mirror tells her that she is no longer the most beautiful… Snow White (Stewart) has come of age and can undo the witch’s dark magic with her beauty and innocence, the movie takes the story in a new direction and is all the better for it.
When the witch learns she is under threat by an unwitting Snow White, who fled into the dark woods where the witch’s magic has no power, she sends for a huntsman (Hemsworth) who knows the woods and who can be controlled enough that he’ll go to the forest and bring Snow White back to face her death at the hands of the witch, but as with all good fairy tales, the huntsman cannot do the deed when he finds Snow White and so they decide to rise up against the witch.
You know the story here, only you don’t. Directed by first-timer Sanders, the movie is confident, and well handled. The world that these characters inhabit is fantastical but also feels very real. It has rules and isn’t as steeped in magic as it may have been tempting to make it, in fact there’s a few scenes that strongly hint that some of the real magic elements may just be figments of imagination or products of hallucinogenic plants.
There’s much more afoot than I have metioned above, with Snow White’s relationship with the queen well established and some of the witch’s history and motivations makes her a bit more tragic if not necessarily sympathetic.
I have read reviews that claim the usual short-comings ‘there’s no character development’.. oh please! It’s a fairy tale. Good vs evil. That’s it. There’s not much more to it than that, and the actors involved all do well with it. Hemsworth steals the movie as the Huntsman, a tragic character lost until he finds Snow White, he seems now doomed to play the hansome stranger in movies. Theron comes off well too, clearly relishing the role and not leaving much scenary unchewed. Stewart, as Show White, has surprisingly little to do but look pretty and stare at the camera/Hemsworth/dwarves in soft focus. But it doesn’t cost the film dearly, Snow White by definition is a pretty one dimensional character, with the witch and huntsman being the true focus here.
One of the most suprising elements were the dwarves. Led by Bob Hoskins, they featured, among others Nick Park, Ian McShane and Ray Winstone. A surprising turn of events to be sure, but here the dwarves served the story well and were played in a fun, yet dark way and all done through Lord of the Rings-esque visual trickery and effects.
A word to the wise, be wary if you plan on taking the wee ones because it gets pretty dark in places and does tackle adult themes too, but never at the expense of the fairy tale.
I would certainly recommend this, especially if, like me, you’ve only seen the trailers. It’s a throwback to the movies of the 80s – I felt undertones of Krull, Timebandits and Princess Bride here and it was certainly enjoyable. Go and enjoy the visuals and adventure and remember… it’s just a fairytale.