Snow White & the Huntsman

Date Wed, June 20 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman

This was the first movie I’ve seen since The Muppets, last year, and it certainly was a sight. Visually, it was entertaining and interesting, the type of film I’d like to constantly pause and take a snapshot to use for a layout or wallpaper or Facebook cover photo. I got the feeling that most people liked the appearance of it. The movie was quite artistic overall.

The plot derived from the Disney tale that we all know and love. Others didn’t enjoy this, but I did. It wasn’t anything with too many twists of turns. Some of the things we saw in the beginning came into play toward the end in obvious ways, but it was a derivation that I enjoyed nonetheless. In this story, the evil queen pretends to be a prisoner of war, and the king, Snow White’s father, takes her as his bride almost immediately. The queen plots to get rid of the kind through murder and, then, lock Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in the castle’s prison, once she has taken over the kingdom.

Initially, all is well. The queen obviously uses sorcery to remain young and beautiful, and we learn that she does this from a lesson from her mother about how men will use women and their beauty is their power. Queen Ravenna Charlize Theron) comments on Snow White’s beauty, but feels no fear of it until she ages 18, and the mirror announces that Snow White is now more fair than Ravenna. At this news, the queen knows she must kill Snow White. The crafty young woman escapes, however, and the queen sends for the huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to retrieve her.

Of course, he disobeys the evil queen and her equally evil, but perhaps half as smart, brother. The naive princess who has been imprisoned for years and the hunstman, who drowns his sorrows in booze, team up. Along the way, they annoyed each other, cross a troll bridge and meet up with the dwarves, who also vary from the Disney version. The merry group is making way for a duke’s castle while trying to avoid the queen’s men, where Snow White knows a small army will help her fight the queen. Of note is that the duke’s son was once Snow White’s childhood friend, and he becomes a major player as he sets off to rescue the princess, once he realizes she’s still alive.

Eventually, however, Snow White is tricked by the queen and takes a bit of the poisoned apple. It seems all is lost. Until it isn’t. Of course, it has a happy-ish ending. Really, this version of Snow White is darker and more realistic. People are flawed, even the ones we like. The queen is evil, but she’s also a victim herself. True love’s kiss saves Snow White, but no one seems to realize that’s what did the trick. Her character is understandably naive but also contains a natural leadership ability that encourages farmer soldiers to follow her to war.

The movie’s plot, like real life, is complicated and messy. There seem to be no easy answers and everyone is left pondering what the film meant. You have to extrapolate, and that’s exactly why I like Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s a telling portrait of the human condition, framed with a classic fairy tale. Others would argue, however, that the story isn’t tied closely enough to the original or that the characters weren’t entirely fleshed out. I see their complaints, but I guess I did this all in my head.

I was ready to walk back into the theater and pay to see it again, especially to enjoy the wonderful song at the end once more. However, no one I went with was happy to have paid for the movie. It wasn’t as action-packed at the trailers would give it, and Kristen Steward, while not as bad as she was as Bella, isn’t a great actress. She uses twice as many facial expressions as ever before (bringing it to two!), but she can’t manage to close her eyes. Her parts aren’t spectacularly written. In fact, I think the writers had the best feel for what Queen Ravenna might say, but Snow White’s speaking roles are minimal, to begin with. Regardless, there’s no Earth where anyone would consider her more fair than Charlize Theron, and I thought Stewart didn’t quite look the baby-faced, red lipped, black haired version of Snow White that I would like.

Both the huntsman and the dwarves bring humor to the movie, but it’s not about that. Those characters are flawed, loyal, heartbroken, tragic in brave. Again, more humanity. I just can’t help think of the movie as beautiful, but do I have complaints? Yes. It’s not perfect. It’s a movie that will probably wind up forgettable in the grand scheme of things. Some might say it has more style than substance, but I think it was a good distraction for two hours. It made me laugh, tear up and feel righteous anger. I can’t ask for any more than that.

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