Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“The Brothers Grimm”
The verdict is in, and "Snow White And The Huntsman" is the winner in the battle for the title "Fairest Of Them All". However, in spite of her countless reincarnations, the Brothers Grimm's leading lady with skin "as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as raven's wings" continues to be a princess who cannot be redeemed, at least into one whose beauty comes with personality. Tarsem Singh's Snow White is just a two-dimensional feminist icon with a unibrow while Rupert Sanders' Snow White is just a figurehead for Jesus. To cement this paradigm further, this version of Snow White is (gasp) a Christian!
Make no mistake, Sanders' reimagination of Snow White is definitely one of the best out there but it is hard to rejoice in its crowning glory when it is the one-eyed King in the land of the blind. The visual effects and cinematography beats Tarsem Singh's hands down, with backdrops consisting of the foreboding Dark Forest, Sanctuary; which is a lush green paradise, blackened wastelands and snow-covered woods. There are also the obligatory slow-mo to heighten the impact of the scene and in fact, every scene and shot is scored to breathtaking music, which makes watching Snow White And The Huntsman one of the most thrilling two hours spent. If that is not enough, the opportunity to watch and hear Charlize Theron utter lines like "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all" and "Let them come" with great menace is worth the price of admission itself.
As for the story, well, "Snow White And The Huntsman" is an almost faithful adaptation of the Brothers Grimm's tale meshed with bits from its Disney counterparts. In fact, the whole movie seems to be a mashed up version of all that is good from every other fantasy movie, which, ironically, makes it less than the sum of its parts. Queen Ravenna is a misunderstood woman whose magical powers has led her to go astray, and Snow White's father, King Magnus, soon becomes one of her victims. She locks Snow White up in a tower, but she soon learns from her Magic Mirror that she will be overthrown by her stepdaughter, who will also surpass her as the "Fairest of Them All." To only way for Ravenna to remain in power is to consume Snow White's heart, but when Snow White manages to escape into the Dark Forest, she summons a Huntsman to hunt her down. Note that the summary makes almost no mention of the dwarves nor Prince Charming, and although both appear in the film, every other character is secondary to the trio: Queen Ravenna, Snow White and the Huntsman (yes, he is only known as the Huntsman, as per modern day heroes like Ryan Gosling's Driver in "Drive"). Kudos should be given to Evan Daugherty for sprucing up the story with fairytale elements such as how the characters spout lines like "She is the destined one", and "I'll follow her wherever she goes", not to mention that there is that omniscient narrator which seems customary for all fairy tales ("Mirror, Mirror" has Julia Roberts narrating it).
It is obvious that Charlize Theron is the best actress they have ever had the opportunity to cast in the ensemble. Theron outshines her co-stars by far as the tortured and ruthless Queen Ravenna, who yearns for eternal beauty and immortality, and she sees Snow White as an obstacle she must remove. In a film full of cliches, Theron's performance is a major one when you just want to see her utter those cliched lines. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart is less stoic here than in her Bella in the "Twilight" franchise, but there is a disconnectedness between her and her character. The expectation of her lack of expressions is, of course, the one condition that people who go to a Kristen Stewart movie in the first place have to bear with. When left alone, it is never quite certain what emotion she is supposed to be feeling at any given time, but thankfully, in her scenes with her co-star Chris Hemsworth, you can feel an underlying chemistry between them as opposed to her and the sparkly one who must not be named. And who can fault her for being enthralled when Hemsworth is channelling his usual charming and roguish persona as the Huntsman, although at times it is a bit jarring to hear him speak in his Australian accent when everyone else appears to be American. On the other hand, her scenes with Sam Claflin who plays Prince William are setting off all the alarms to warn future directors not to cast Stewart in any more love triangles.
"Snow White And The Huntsman" is emphatically not what anyone would call an excellent movie, yet it nonetheless leaves behind a glow of aesthetic satisfaction and ultimately, of the triumph of good over evil, which makes it worthy of praise. Cliches and cheesiness abounds on an intimate scale, but well-timed shots of adrenaline in between the romanticizing nature of the drama appeals to the both the child inside us and the adults we have grown into who may or may not have been exposed to the Brothers Grimm's brand of fairytales. If anything, Sanders' Snow White makes us realize that we have outgrown the seven Dwarfs, Prince Charming and song-and-dance for a Huntsman and beautiful visuals.
"Snow White And The Huntsman" is also available in 2D format in Malaysia and Singapore's cinemas.Cinema Online, 29 May 2012