Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

For his directorial début Rupert Sanders delivers a very dark take on the classic Snow White story. Though there is little in common with most Snow White stories, it does hit specific plot points; wicked witch (Ravenna, Charlize Theron), poisoned apple, and dwarves. Initially imprisoned by Ravenna, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) escapes, then with the help of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) makes her way to her Uncle's castle, whereupon she returns with an army to overthrow Ravenna's cruel rule.

First of all I must say that the film looks fantastic. The costumes are all fantastic, down to the little details on Ravenna's dresses; there are many beautiful exterior locations giving the film a real epic feel; and some of the visual effects were amazing. In particular the dark army at the beginning of the movie is brilliantly realised, the way Ravenna exploded into Ravens is great, a cool troll, and the dwarves were amazing.

Where the film falls flat is in some of the cast, namely Kristen Stewart; she just doesn't have the charisma to pull off a main role like this. She is wooden and just looks uncomfortable for most of the film, not least when she gives her morale-rousing speech for the army - Theoden this is not! Actually half way through the film I found myself thinking "Has she actually really said very much?" Charlize Theron is a good actress, and her Ravenna is good; though having seen Eva Green's performance as Morgan in Camelot, I thought that she would have been a much better Ravenna. The other main character is Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and thank goodness for him; he is the one character we really care about. His Huntsman is gritty, initially of questionable loyalty, and has great wilderness survival skills; so Aragorn basically. To continue the LOTR theme, I noticed that Snow White seemed to have the Tree of Gondor on her shield! The supporting cast are fine, including Sam Spruell as Ravenna's brother Finn and Vincent Regan as Snow White's Uncle, Duke Hammond. The Dwarves are also good, the likes of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost having their faces digitally imposed onto small actors.

An entertaining romp that looks amazing, and far enough removed from the classic fairy tale for miserable uncultured people like me to enjoy it. Going for it are some sumptuous visuals, a tremendous scale of production and a rousing score by James Newton Howard; against it are a few below par performances, especially from Kristen Stewart who just isn't right for this kind of role.