Snow White and the Huntsman
Prince Charming is Such a Third Wheel

Earlier this year, Mirror Mirror gave moviegoers a bright, colorful version of the Snow White fairy tale.  Snow White and the Huntsman now gives viewers the opposite.  It is dark and drab, yet has surprisingly more in common with the popular Disney version than its bubbly predecessor.  It is also the better of the two movies.

It all begins once upon a time when the Queen of the land gives birth to a baby girl with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and raven hair.  The Princess is named Snow White and she is loved by the entire kingdom.  After her mother dies when she is just a young girl, however, the King remarries the wicked Ravenna.  Ravenna kills the King on their wedding night and locks Snow White in the tower.  A vain witch, Ravenna can literally suck the youth and beauty out of all the maidens in the world, keeping her eternally young.  She knows that there is one woman in the kingdom, however, who can break the spell and on Snow White’s eighteenth birthday, Ravenna’s magic mirror reveals that she is that one.

Chris Hemsworth as The HuntsmanRavenna knows that the only way to quell the threat is to kill Snow White and take her heart, but Snow has managed to escape the tower and has sought refuge in the dark forest.  Her own men being scared to enter the woods, Ravenna hires a drunken Huntsman to hunt down her prey.  But when the Huntsman looks upon that snowy white face, he realizes he is on the wrong side and decides to help Snow White escape the clutches of the evil queen.  In the forest, the pair come across a commune of scarred women and eight—yes, eight—resourceful dwarfs.  Together, they will help Snow White to realize her true power and claim her rightful spot as the Queen of the land.

The pace of Snow White and the Huntsman is right on.  The movie moves smoothly from one action scene to another, leaving just enough time in between to give the audience a breather and some exposition.  It’s not edge-of-your-seat, cheer-worthy action like The Avengers, but it is still very entertaining and the special effects are quite impressive.  The stand-out sequence comes early when Snow White first retreats into the forest.  This is the first moment when the movie really brought back memories of the Disney version, which featured an equally terrifying lost-in-the-woods scene.  The other moment comes later when the woodland creatures seem just one step away from helping Snow complete her chores.

The plot is pretty much the tale as you remember it.  The lone “twist” is not much of one due to its inevitability.  It involves the Huntsman and the Prince, who is not called Prince Charming in this version, but he was named William, so we get it.

Whereas Julie Roberts played the Evil Queen more for laughs in Mirror Mirror, Charlize Theron is going for pure villainy here.  For the most part, she pulled it off nicely, even if a couple of her rants did feel a little forced.  Hot on the heels of his mega-success as Thor in The Avengers, Chris Hemsworth puts on a different accent to play the Huntsman.  Although the Scottish brogue comes off a little too strong at times, he once again plays the tough guy very well.  Another delight in terms of the casting was that of the dwarfs.  I had avoided reading about the casting ahead of time and was glad that I did; recognizing the actors as they appeared in character was one of the movie’s surprising delights.

Where the movie suffers, unfortunately, is in its main character.  Kristen Stewart lacks any personality as Snow White and watching her try to emote on the few occasions when she was required to was a difficult thing to watch.  In the movie’s most colorful scene, it is explained that Snow White is the one destined to restore life to the world.  Unfortunately, as she doesn’t seem to have much life in her, it is a difficult premise to buy into.

Nevertheless, Snow White and the Huntsman succeeds as an entertainment and its 127 minute running time moves smoothly.  It’s worth checking out in between this summer’s tent-pole superhero blockbusters.

Snow White and the Huntsman is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.”  There are a couple of scary sequences and intense action, but the rating is appropriate.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of Snow White and the Huntsman.