Cinema Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

DIR: Rupert Sanders • WRI: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini • PRO: Sarah Bradshaw, Helen Hayden, Sam Mercer, Palak Patel, Joe Roth • DOP: Greig Fraser • ED: Conrad Buff IV, Neil Smith • DES: Dominic Watkins • Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron act up a storm in this alternate take on a classic Grimm Fairy tale. Thankfully Snow White and the Huntsman is not the 1950s-style housfrau romance we all remember but is delightfully darker, more violent and a smidgeon more feminist than its Disney predecessor.

A young Snow White’s free-spirited existence is altered forever when her mother passes away. Not long after, her grieving father and his troops manage to defeat a mystical army only to free their beautiful captor, Queen Ravenna. Enamored, the lonely/randy King Magnus plans some shotgun nuptials and ends up receiving a nasty wedding present from his new bride in the form of a dagger through the heart.

Under the rule of this powerful witch the state of the Kingdom rapidly deteriorates and Snow White is locked away for years (amazingly without even a hint of psychological trauma). On one of her long chats to her evil, melty mirror, Ravenna discovers that Snow White’s beauty and innocence is a threat to her tyrannical reign, so she sends her brother, Finn to the dungeon to kill the Princess. However, Snow White escapes in true Shawshank style and goes on the run with that handsome Huntsman and Finn on her heels.

The film’s selling point is definitely the stunning visuals; there isn’t a single shot that isn’t striking, stylish or downright beautiful. From majestic fight scenes, sweeping shots of snow-covered scenery, an avatar-esqe magical forest and some really spectacular effects; the only thing that really lets the side down is some Lucas-grade CG fairies.

But alas, Snow White and the Huntsman is all style and only a spoonful of substance. There’s a disappointing lack of tangible character development, with the majority of the backstory consisting of tired clichés. In fact, if it weren’t for the sheer talent of the cast, notably Theron and (I‘m surprised to add) Stewart, the film would have been as flat and unengaging as the dwarves attempt at comic relief.

Gemma Creagh

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)

Snow White and the Huntsman is released on 1st June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman – Official Website


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