Friday, June 1, 2012
Movie review: Snow White and the Huntsman
All doom and gloom, anchored by an empty void.
At one point I considered just re-printing my Mirror Mirror review, subbing in the names of the actors in Snow White and the Huntsman. But while both films poorly retell the Snow White story, they couldn’t be more different in tone or execution.
Mirror Mirror was cotton candy and knew it. This Snow White presents itself as a heavy epic on par with the Lord of the Rings saga. If the filmmakers think that, they’re more delusional than the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron).
While Mirror Mirror reminded me at times of Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland, this Snow White reminded me of another legendary misfire: Ridley Scott’s joyless treatment of Robin Hood. Like that bore, very little in this movie is exciting, and that’s deadly for a summer blockbuster.
But the biggest problem is the most obvious: the casting of Kristen Stewart as Snow White. She’s made some good movies here and there, but since taking the lead in the Twilight franchise, it’s become apparent that without a killer script and better actors to carry her along, she’s dreadful.
Her character allegedly possesses a “rare beauty” inside and out. But that’s not evident anywhere. She looks comatose even before she eats the poison apple. And even with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, is she fairer than Theron, let alone the “fairest of them all”?
More distressing is that this Snow White is supposed to be so radiant and courageous that she inspires an army to rise up and storm the castle. But Stewart is so lifeless that she couldn’t inspire anyone to walk across the room, much less risk their lives to take back a kingdom.
Theron is occasionally menacing, but quickly descends into overacting, and not the fun kind. There’s no fun to be had in this movie, except when the dwarfs appear. They’re played by a host of recognizable faces superimposed on dwarf bodies. The effect is flawless, as are all of the visuals, but it’s all in service of dull, empty spectacle.
First-time director Rupert Sanders has his background in commercials, and it shows. With so many shots of Stewart running through the forest, I kept waiting for a Nike Swoosh to pop up. And when Theron slips into a milk bath, I couldn’t help but be reminded of her Dior commercial from a few years back.
And that’s as deep as Snow White and the Huntsman wants to go. Look at all these beautiful people covered in mud and riding bareback horses and clashing swords in slow-motion. That’s not worth 30 seconds, let alone two hours.
Also, I must caution parents. I know some of your daughters will want to see the girl lead the charge into battle, but this movie is definitely not suitable for younger kids. There are several deaths (including several animals) and an attempted rape.
Snow White and the Huntsman is all doom and gloom, anchored by an empty void. That’s no way to spend a summer afternoon at the movies.
For showtimes for Snow White and the Huntsman, click here.