Snow White and the Huntsman

I wanted to see “Snow White and the Huntsman” primarily for Charlize Theron, who’s clearly having a ball as the wicked witch.  I also am always interested in seeing new versions of fairy tales, but factors such as Kristen  Stewart made me nervous for this particular one.  Having seen this film yesterday, I am satisfied that it exceeded my expectations.  Charlize Theron was all that I wanted her to be.  The gender issues brought up with her character were fascinating, they could have built on that more.  Second in importance to me was the way they presented the fairy tale itself.  I found it very gratifying that this movie actually presented a fleshed-out version of the fairy tale, instead of following simple tropes like modernization, or flipping the “good” and “bad” characters around.  No, they worked from the tale itself, added in things, and kept it within the fairy tale realm of the fantastic, which is my favorite place to be.  I also really appreciated how the romantic part of the story developed.  Many stories where two guys are involved invariably make one of them either a type of person who is obviously wrong-foolish, boring, hateful, etc., or they make one of the guys the romantic unrequited-love type whose clearly dead-end relationship ambitions grow old fast.  “Snow White and the Huntsman” presented both men as having issues and flaws and while one of the relationships clearly had more potential, the other one stayed reasonable and was not allowed to encroach on the other man’s character.  Helpful to all of this was that the role of Snow White’s love was kept understated, but vital, just as the fairy tale indicates.  I expect some people will be dissatisfied with the secondary nature of the romance here, but I found it perfect for the Snow White fairy tale.  Also, the truly disturbing elements of this film were handled very delicately, there but not taking over scenes or minds, simply allowing awareness without pushing shock value or crudeness.  I genuinely respect that.  Last but not least, this movie pleased me by being very, very pretty.  The effects played wonderfully, the shots were lovely, and the costumes, while I would have altered a few choices (such as the neckline of Stewart’s gown at the end), were marvelous.

 

This is not to say the film had no problems.  The writing fell down in several places, most notably in Snow White’s inspirational speech and her last words to Ravenna, the wicked queen.  Luckily, this is a largely visual film, so the weakness in the writing doesn’t appear that frequently.  The ending fell remarkably, and awkwardly, flat.  It needed more lines, more direction, more of almost anything, really, in order to be a real resolution.  This was the only time that Kristen Stewart actually bothered me.  I really liked her acting in the first half of the film, likely due to the large amount of action.  When she began having to deliver more lines, the poor writing let her down.  This made her less likeable, but I will hardly blame her for that.  I feel like she did the best she could with what she was given.  This applies to the ending, too-her acting got insipid and a little ridiculous, but given what the director asked her to do and that the writers gave her nothing, and even her costume here didn’t work for her, I cannot blame her.  Again, I think she did all that she could and tried her hardest to deal with the bad situation this director ended on.  The good news was that my mind automatically came up with reasons why that situation would be awkward in the story, that the credits immediately go back to showcasing the pretty, shiny aspects of the movie, and that it is the end so it doesn’t effect anything else.

 

In short, this movie has some serious faults.  It  made some odd choices and allowed specific issues to mar some key points.  Nevertheless, overall I found it very enjoyable.  Perhaps because I’m a very visual person and this film played up beautifully for my eyes or perhaps simply because I found their attention and respect for the actual fairy tale layer of their plot wonderful and refreshing (especially after “Tangled”), it gave me a lot of pleasure.  I cannot really recommend it without knowing individuals, because I think the problems will outweigh the good for a lot of people.  On the other hand, as a great lover of fairy tales, I can tell you that I want to own this film someday.  Plus, Charlize Theron’s performance is unequivocally killer.  The rest of the film could have been far worse and it still would have been worth seeing once, just for her.

 

Spoiler: In case anyone’s interested, my solution for the ending is that clearly under Ravenna’s rule the Master of Ceremonies didn’t get to plan any parties.  He got so excited to organize the coronation that he forgot he needed something to continue it after the action coronation, itself.  I imagine the minute the cameras panned away that poor man leaped into the middle, beckoned to the fanfare and made some announcement about the queen leading the way to the dance hall or something, since he’d forgotten how to get people there gracefully and is now trying to cover up for it.  During the rest of the festivities the dwarves rib him endlessly about this.

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sinistmer
    Jun 04, 2012 @ 20:58:19

    From the previews, it looks very pretty and shiny. It’s one of those movies that I have been toying around with seeing. So, I guess, for me, would you say “yay” or “nay”?

    Reply

    • wheresmytower
      Jun 04, 2012 @ 21:30:57

      I think you’d probably have a good time with it. It is very pretty, they don’t really play up the romance stuff so you won’t have to deal with that, and I think there’s enough action to balance out the weak writing parts for you. Also, there’s one part that I am informed is reminiscent of Princess Mononoke. So, yay.

      Reply

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