A dark retelling of the Brothers Grimm classic tale of a fair maiden and the evil witch that wishes to consume her heart in order to become immortal.
Though Kristen Stewart’s version of the titular princess is the obvious title character, much attention is given to Queen Ravenna (a delicious Charlize Theron) and Eric (a delicious Chris Hemsworth), a drunken huntsman the evil queen dispatches to capture Snow White after she escapes from the dreary castle. And thank god for that. Charlize Theron brings beauty and terror to the screen with pure voracity – and obviously had a blast doing it. The Oscar-winning actress was definitely committed to the role – she even tore a stomach muscle by screaming at people while on the set! Chris Hemsworth also shines as the lush with the predictable heart-of-gold. Yes, he’s playing another Thor-like character – but he does it so well. They both give one hundred percent to this all too familiar story, making this retread watchable and kind of fun.
As for Kristen Stewart, she’s still the dead-eyed grouchy hipster from Twilight, albeit with a pretty accent. She does try, but she simply is no equal to Theron and Hemsworth. Casting Stewart as the heroine was distracting, given that it was difficult to believe so much fuss would arise over her supposed otherworldly beauty. Don’t get me wrong – Kristen is a pretty girl, but we’re talking Charlize Theron here. Come on! Girlfriend doesn’t need a magic mirror to tell her she’s the fairest of them all – much less start a war over it.
Mirror, mirror on the wall – it’s no contest! [Photo Credit]
The cinematography is lovely and the special effects that slowly age Queen Ravenna, and then restore her precious looks after she’s sucked the soul of another unfortunate victim, are impressive. Props go again to the visual trickery that accompanies much of the Dark Forrest scenes. There are some truly freaky moments that are definitely not kid-friendly. However the Avatar-inspired time spent in the respite of Fairy Land, where we finally meet the seven dwarves, made me want to punch someone. My opinion is certainly colored because I hated Avatar so damn much. Otherwise, the tone is quite morbid and the atmosphere is set up to reflect the underbelly of aging and all the fear it inspires.
An apple a day keeps the acting bug away.
Yes, it’s a fairytale, but there are still huge holes in the continuity of the script. For instance, a young Snow White (Raffey Cassidy) is played by an adorable brunette with freckles; despite the fact that the audience is told, moments before, that Snow is a “fair-skinned raven-haired beauty.” (As my husband said, “Who’s the dumbass in casting?”) In another accidently hilarious moment, we find Eric the Huntsman storming off in the afternoon, only to be a few feet away by nightfall to see a fire breakout in the village he left earlier that day. He’s able to run back within moments to engage in battle from the place he’s been moving away from for hours. (As my sister-in-law said, “Damn, he must walk slow!” Yes, I travel with my own personal peanut gallery.)
The filmmakers really do try to give this story several fresh twists, but they can only stray so far. Robbed of any true surprises, most of the movie felt like a boring slog to the inevitable end. The only actual battle is taking place off screen between Chris Hemsworth and every woman’s former loyalty to Brad Pitt. And guess what? I know how that ends too!
Thanks for the memories, Brad. And thanks for the fantasies, Chris!
Outstanding performances by Theron and Hemsworth, coupled with darkly saturated landscapes, can only help this film so much. At the end of the day Snow White is still a sleepy young girl who needs a lot of help.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you feel like you’re on a bad drug trip.
Take a Drink: every time Chris Hemsworth fights some CGI.
Take a Drink: every time Eric the Huntsman snarls in slow-mo.
Take a Drink: every time Queen Ravenna screams.
Take a Shot: for Kristen Stewart and her heaving breasts. Hey, at least she’s replaced the lip biting that constituted her “acting” in those god-awful Twilight flicks!
Florence & The Machine will usher you out of the theater with the song “Breath of Life,” penned specifically for the soundtrack. Beyond that, there are no special touches or extra scenes.