Director: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson
Running Time: 127 minutes
Synopsis: The evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) plots to murder her stepdaughter Snow White (Stewart), who is destined to surpass her as ruler of the kingdom. Sending the huntsmen known as Eric (Hemsworth) after her, the Queen plots to cut out and consume Snow White’s heart in a bid for immortality. But she hasn’t counted on the Huntsman & Snow White forming an alliance…
With the recent MIRROR MIRROR leaving an unfortunate taste in one’s mouth, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this latest Snow White adaptation/reinvention/re-jigging may have come too soon. However, unlike the sickly sweet MIRROR MIRROR, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN leaves an entirely different taste altogether – not necessarily a good one, but different at least.
The film is an entirely bland affair – there’s not much here that we haven’t seen before. Supposedly-invincible CGI armies? Check. Evil Queen and her equally evil underdog brother? Check. A by-the-books storyline in which a defenceless, broody princess is capable of leading an entire army into battle despite spending most of the film in constant need of rescue? Double Check! Essentially, it’s a film that borrows, begs, and steals from every other fantasy movie of the last two decades, mixes it all together in a cauldron, and throws it onto some celluloid.
The biggest influence is clearly Tim Burton’s equally bland and unimaginative ALICE IN WONDERLAND from 2010 (no surprise there, since both films were produced by Joe Roth). This influence does SWATH very few favours. Whilst visually it’s a well-shot piece of cinematography (despite plenty of very wonky CGI whenever mystical animals or dwarves are involved), the story is nothing new – no twists, no turns, and not much in the way of pace, clever gags or originality. Things pick up in the second half once the eight Dwarves are introduced (no guesses as to why there are eight of them as opposed to seven!), but the lack of originality still infuriates as the film reaches its rather sub-par climax.
The central performances are a mixed bag too – Stewart is a charisma vacuum, devoid of any kind of emotion, capable of only three indistinct facial expressions, and completely unable to even smile when required to. Meanwhile Charlize Theron, whilst not as hammy in the role of the evil Queen as Julia Roberts was in MIRROR MIRROR, still gives an over-the-top performance, her lines delivered AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS SO AS TO APPARENTLY PORTRAY HOW WICKED SHE IS!!!!! GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! That said, Chris Hemsworth as the titular Huntsman is fantastic, all roguish scowl and bad-ass attitude, whilst the actors playing the dwarves (and especially Brian Gleeson as the sweet and innocent Gus) play their parts well, even though their each lumbered with very little to do.
So it’s no MIRROR MIRROR, praise be to the great film gods of ye’ olde! But it’s still nowhere near perfection. If MIRROR MIRROR was the desert that made you feel sick, then SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is the bland digestion pill you take to feel a tiny bit better. But not that much better. Best rest up and avoid eating solids for a few days, eh?!
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN arrives in UK cinemas 30th May