Much like the poisoned apple from its story ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ looks great. It’s colour and feel will make your mouth water but after one bite you’re sure to stagger around for a dramatic moment and die. Director Rupert Sanders has given us a visually appealing film but sadly the special-effects are not enough to save this frustrating drivel.
Marred by lazy writing, off-putting performances, chaotic camera work and choppy editing the film attempts to retell the classic story of Snow White. In keeping with the audience’s presumed thirst for darker and edgier stories the familiar elements are all corrupted. This actually works quite well and had the filmmakers been less lazy in the telling of their story we might have had a worthy addition to the fantasy genre. As it stands ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is a huge bore.
The casting, however, is inspired. Charlize Theron steals the show as the evil queen, looking for eternal youth. Kirsten Stewart pales (they didn’t call her Snow White for nothing) in comparison. The young actress has little to no charm, making her a very boring protagonist.
The casting of Stewart seems to betray a level of cynicism on the part of the filmmakers. Especially, because underneath all the fairy tale stylings the film feels like a new version of ‘Twilight’. For instance, the film feels the need to add a romantic subplot in which Snow White is torn between the hardened Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and her childhood love William (Sam Claflin). Which side are you on? Team Huntsman or Team Will? Whichever way, we all lose.
The eight dwarfs (Yes, apparently you need seven of them to get people to see your movie these days.) consist of a company of well-known Britisch actors. And even though it was fun to see them together like this, the film does not give them anything interesting to do. In fact, they act rather peculiar. It’s as if the actors themselves are not quite sure about what’s expected from them.
In between the film manages to steal shamelessly from other fantasy films, such as ‘The Neverending Story’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and of course ‘The Lord of the Rings’. It’s sad, because Sanders certainly gets the look right. But never is there a moment of genuine wonder or excitement. The characters, except for the dwarves and Theron’s queen, seem to be made from carboard, pretty cardboard, but that ain’t saying much.