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Snow White and the Huntsman

2012-06-01 11:23
 
What it's about:

A retelling of the classic fairytale where a young princess, Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart), has to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother (Charlize Theron) before finally returning – with the huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who was sent to kill her, and dwarves in tow – to defeat Queen Ravenna and bring peace and tranquillity back to her kingdom.

What we thought:

Like so many "re-imaginings" and "re-interpretations", Snow White and the Huntsman neither re-imagines, nor re-interprets the classic fairy tale enough to ever stand up as more than a forgettable cliff-note within the long and storied legend of Snow White.

The film does stick rather closer to the original fairy tale than the classic Disney cartoon without fully ignoring the latter version, but the film's raison d'etre is that it tries to mix the familiarity of the classic story with a more gritty and realistic take on fantasy that has made George RR Martin's Game of Thrones books and TV series such a success. Sadly, aside for giving the story a welcome feminist slant, it's a mixture that doesn't work and is one that constantly undermines its constituent elements.

The complexities of the fantastical story gets lost in the intentional simplicity of the original tale, while the magical elements of the tale seem out of place and are superseded by the brutal harshness of this nu-fantasy. This oil and water combination is never more apparent than a scene in the middle of the film where, after Snow White and the huntsman meets the dwarves, they all find themselves in a land of fairies that feels like a live-action outtake from the 1930s Disney film.

For the most emblematic proof of just how misjudged the film is, one sadly need only turn to Charlize Theron's wicked stepmother – in this version named Ravenna. Theron is clearly an excellent actress – as she proved most recently with her sublime central performance in Young Adult – so presumably it is first-time director, Rupert Sanders, who is responsible for her embarrassingly wrong-headed turn here.

While the rest of the film boasts a down and dirty feel, Ravenna looks and sounds like she belongs in another film altogether as Theron lays on the camp hamminess to levels that would make William Shatner blush.

To truly appreciate how off her performance is, one need only hold it up against, well, every other actor in the film. The dwarves are probably the highlight of the film as they get the best lines and are played by a terrific selection of top-notch British thesps who look staggeringly authentic thanks to some jaw-droppingly effective CGI but they are still played with a much higher level of earthy bawdiness than their Disney fairy tale counterparts.

Chris Hemsworth, meanwhile, is clearly having a whale of a time as a less pompous version of Thor, while the rest of the supporting cast look like nothing more than Game of Thrones rejects.

As for Kristen Stewart, her performance is the polar opposite of Theron's, but it is equally ineffective. I have no time for the view point that she is miscast because "there's no way that she is fairer than Charlize Theron" because, lets be honest, "fairer" or not, she still looks like Kristen Stewart. I also will stand up for the fact that, regardless of her involvement in the woeful Twilight Saga, she has more than proven to be a very fine actress in her own right.

Don't believe me? Just check out The Runaways and Welcome to The Rileys to see how much more there is to her than Bella Swan. For all that though, she just seems like a non-presence in the film. Whether it's because she is simply miscast or because she simply isn't given much to work with, despite being the feminist hero of the piece, I cannot say.

Worse than all this, however, is the film's biggest problem: it's really, really boring. It is, dwarves aside, entirely without humour. It has some Titanic-level creaking dialogue, its colour palette is almost entirely grey, it is entirely lacking in character, and its action scenes are dull. Worst of all, at over two hours in length, it feels extremely padded.

Overall, Snow White and The Huntsman may have its strengths – not least of which is its recasting Snow White as a tough, no-nonsense heroine – but considering its rich source material and impressive cast, it really has no excuse for being as mundane and uninvolving as it ultimately turned out to be.


Despite a welcome feminist twist, Snow White and the Huntsmen is a poorly conceived take on a classic tale that features a particularly over-the-top performance from Charlize Theron.

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

Oculus

2014-10-24 10:34

Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Mario 6/1/2012 3:03 PM
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ugh I hate critics, your jobs are so passé. I thi9s day and age people go to the cinema, and go mmmmmm I wanna see that, mmm I'm in the mood for this... keep your crummy opinions to yourself... and what waht are you critqueing... SNOW WHITE for god sake the original story is a crummy mess but yet it entertains that is all the escapism anyone needs frrom this mundane life!!!!
Natasha 6/1/2012 4:51 PM
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Have to disagree Mario, some critic you are going to agree with, and some not. It's a matter of personal choice. I personally follow Ilan's reviews very closely because, guarenteed, everything he loves I'm going to hate, so I know to avoid, and everything he hates I will most likely end up adding to my favorites collection. I now can't wait to see this movie.
Jan 6/2/2012 1:26 PM
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What's wrong here's the critic himself. Sadly he appears to have preconceived notion of the plot or stars, as a result, the twist in his myopic comments. Has he seen a better movie since the start of 2012? Otherwise, this is one hell of a good movie, with plenty of never before seen special effects, landscapes, cinematography, & artistic display. How sad to just sit casually & because you can write, just write wrongly!
Lance 6/4/2012 1:23 AM
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When I first saw the trailer for Snow White I couldn't wait to see it. I counted down the months & days until finally it arrived. I saw it on the day it opened & I was not in the slightest bit disappointed. I personally thought Charlize gave an incredibly good performance. Her character was brilliantly portrayed. She added so much depth to what could have easily been a 2 dimensional performance. She puts Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror) to shame She is superb & no doubt the highlight of the entire film. Kirsten & Chris are also very good as well as the Dwarfs. The CGI was also very well done & not over the top, I was impressed. Overall the movie is very well made, with amazing visual effects, the costumes are incredible it's exceptionally well acted and has one wicked soundtrack! (Florence & The Machine) Definitely worth a watch on the big screen!
Freddy 6/4/2012 4:53 AM
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The movie itself deserves a "Raspberry Award" but Charlize's performance is something else.
Belinda 6/4/2012 8:37 AM
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Excellent movie.
Cam 6/4/2012 9:21 AM
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Charlize is exquisite so I can't understand how they cast Kristen Stewart to be "fairer" - makes no sense. I agree 100% with the critic - over acted by Charlize.
Hannetjie 6/4/2012 9:39 AM
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I enjoyed the movie and thought Charlize played very well!!!!!
Jacques 6/4/2012 11:50 AM
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I love reading film critics - it ALWAYS proove that I have to see e movy when it is run down by them. As always it is one persons opinion, most probaply one of those nerd-looking acting writers that just have to break down everything. People can really just ignore these so-called film critics. Make your own mind up - go see what you want to see - good or bad film.
Clint 6/4/2012 3:52 PM
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Totally disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and with its amazing special effects is probably the best film version of this story. It’s a medieval fantasy with set of sharply defined performances, the best of which comes from Charlize Theron, as a truly terrifying enchantress. The film was subtle, eerie and visually dazzling.
Kashmiri 6/7/2012 1:24 PM
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The special effects and Charlize Theron were outstanding... Otherwise the rest of the actors were OK, Kristen was especially unimpressive, thankfully Chris Hemsworth made her look good in some scenes. The movie itself was just above average for me.
Louise 6/7/2012 2:19 PM
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I completely agree! It has all the ingredients to be an epic story but falls short and you leave the theater thinking...was that it!? Charilize was amazing but Kirsten just blew it. She came off as Bella..not Snow White. Further more the dialog sucked! I was looking forward to this movie..what a disappointment.
Sanza 6/9/2012 11:55 PM
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Charlize's performance...outstanding as usual. it even made Kirsten's mediocre performance stand our for its mediocrity even more. Great special effects but it did not flow.
Desiree 6/25/2012 11:17 AM
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The movie was BRILLIANT - and I thought Charlize & Kirsten were fantastic in their roles - this retelling of this classic fairytale is by far the best I've seen and I would glady watch it again!
MICHAEL 6/27/2012 8:48 AM
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Superb and realistic performances by Kristin Stewart and Charlize Theron ensure that this movie is worth watching.The special effects are spectacular and the cinematography a high class production. The film is full of suspense and intrigue, but does occasionally struggle to maintain a convincing flow. There are sufficient moments of light hearted relief to release the tension, and it is a gripping account of this classic tale.I rate it as a very good 4 star movie.
Natasha 7/10/2012 4:35 PM
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Have to admit, I agree to an extent, Charlize Theron was the only decent thing to happen to this movie. you could not pay me to watch it twice. I found it lacking. A pity, I could not wait to see it when I saw the trailor. I would never have thought Kristen Stewart would waste her time on something like this.
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