Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in their roles as The Huntsman and Snow White
Hi, I’m Oliver Mannion and today I’m going to review Snow White and the Huntsman. I figured it would be a good movie to review for this blog as I’m sure many of you who read this blog didn’t have plans to go see it. Unless you have a tween or teenage daughter, as that’s what the theater seemed to be filled with. So anyway on with the review.
The plot is decent for what the premise is, Snow White crossed with Lord of the Rings. It was also surprisingly decently paced and directed. Overall pretty good for what it is. It opens with the most stilted and hilarious narration I have ever heard, delivered by Chris Hemsworth, who seems to realize how bad it is and is trying to get it over with as fast as possible. It had me laughing out loud in the theater. So we are introduced to this fantasy world…or not. The Catholic Church clearly exists and at one point we Snow White saying The Lord’s Prayer. Anyway after destroying an evil army, the king of the land finds a fair maiden who had been captured and marries her. This is of course the father of Snow White and he’s killed by his new wife who it turns out was evil. She kills the king by stabbing him then storms the castle with her real army and takes the kingdom by force. This is one of the worst kingdom take over plans I have ever seen. Hate to break it to you queeny, but this is feudal times, the barons and dukes hold the true power. The nobles will fight back and not recognize your claim to the throne. You might be saying, “But Oliver, this is a fairy tale.” To that I say, so? It’s no excuse, especially since this comes back to bite her later. She should know this by now, because, according to her, she has taken over many kingdoms. Also she is shown to be a master of magic and poisons, even using poison to paralyze the king before stabbing him. So why doesn’t she just use a poison that makes it look like he had a heart attack? No one is going to question the fact that the middle-aged king died of a heart attack on his wedding night. If she did that, she would appear to have a legitimate claim to the throne. There might be rumors, but this is the middle ages, they can’t exactly do an autopsy now can they?
Cut to years later and Snow White has grown into a teenager and is kept locked in a tower by the queen who doesn’t kill her because…um…the movie couldn’t happen if she did? She’s not given a real reason. Anyway Snow White escapes and flees into the Dark Forest. The queen hires the Huntsman to track her down. But he doesn’t kill her and instead agrees to help her get to the duke’s castle to raise a rebellion and stop the queen.
Now for the characters. The main one being of course Snow White played by Kristen Stewart, best known for playing Bella Swan from the Twilight movies. She doesn’t deliver the best of performances, though this may not be entirely her fault as she isn’t given much to work with. Snow White is barely a character. You’d think they could upgrade her character from the fairy tale in two hours, but they fail to. She has no personality beyond being “good and fair.” She just is nice to everyone and…that’s it. Most of her dialogue is exposition or purely plot related with no character bits. She’s just the messiah and kind of a Mary-sue. You almost forget she’s there at times.
Her co-star is The Huntsman played by Chris Hemsworth. He is given a bit more to work with and he pulls off a good performance. Hemsworth is at his best in this movie when the script allows him to act like a classic swashbuckler. He can also pull off a good drunkard. The Huntsman (no, he doesn’t have a real name) is more interesting character than Snow White, although most characters in this movie are. His motivation, while it’s been done before, is pulled off well. What’s kind of jolting though is he becomes Han Solo in some scenes. When Snow White is trying to tempt him with money, he asks how much, and she may as well say”Well, more wealth than you can imagine”. Later he tells a practically tells a rebel”Look, I ain't in this for you revolution and I'm not in it for you, princess”. And in one brief borderline insane moment, basically tells the dwarfs who want the money they owe him, “Tell Jaba I’ve got the money.”
The evil queen Ravenna (how is it the queen gets a name and not the huntsman?) is played by Charlize Theron. And she is hilarious. I was in hysterics almost every time she was onscreen. Charlize Theron is decent actress from what little I’ve seen of her (I liked her in Hancock), but oh man, she must have taken one look at the script and decided that, since no one would take it seriously anyway, to just ham it up as much as she can. And it is glorious. She is either YELLING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS…or whispering…slowly…. She is the main reason to see this movie.
“Mirror mirror, on the wall, who is the hammiest of them all?
The dwarves all deliver good performances but one them, the head dwarf, gives the worst delivered line, which is ironic since he’s played Bob Hoskins, who other than that one line, gives what is probably the best performance of the movie. The queen has a creepy brother played by Sam Spruell who is mostly there to have someone for the Huntsman to fight since Snow White is the one who has to fight the queen. He also has this creepy brother-sister incest subtext thing going on with the queen…it’s as disgusting as it sounds. There is also a prince charming named William played by Sam Claflin, who is mostly there to show you that Clafin may one day be able to play Robin Hood.
Dwarves don’t like huntsmen who drop their cargo at the first sign of the queen’s men.
The visual aspect of this movie has some good points. The CGI doesn’t look too bad. Some the visuals of strange creatures are creative particularly how the mirror on the wall manifests. Many of the sets lack this creativity though and the only really standout one is the queen’s castle. The costume design is very nice. The clothing on the nobles is over the top as it was at the time and the clothing on normal people is simple and realistic, but manages not to be bland. The shots are well-done, but that’s because many of them are ripped from Lord of the Rings, from walking up a snow mountain to Snow White trying to outride the Nazgul…err…the queen’s men.
The action in this movie is decent. Nothing spectacular but the stunts are competent enough. However there is a butchering of military tactics that I can’t ignore. I don’t expect Hollywood to have a good grasp on real military tactics, but this is inexcusable. Snow White and her army attack the queen’s castle…on horse back. That…is dumb. Sure the dwarves have infiltrated the castle and are trying to open the gate (in one of the few intentionally funny scenes in the movie) but it takes time. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that when the Rohirrim charged Minas Tirith they didn’t literally charge Minas Tirith. And sure enough the horses get trapped at the gates and slaughtered. This is why anybody who tried this in history failed (unless of course…you’re the Mongols). Also when she goes to fight the queen, Snow White drops her shield. Why? It didn’t seem to be slowing her down and apparently people can move just fine in mail armor according to this movie so why get rid of it? Also a wound on Snow White’s lip magically heals in between shots. Huh.
“Come on men! I don’t see this going horribly wrong at all!”
Overall I enjoyed this movie. It’s not good. In fact it’s kind of bad. But it’s a good kind of bad. One where you have fun. This movie has found a nice spot on my guilty pleasures list. If you have the time and want to see and enjoyably bad movie I suggest you check out Snow White and the Huntsman. If you’re looking for a genuinely good movie though, skip it. I’m Oliver Mannion and hopefully I’ll be able to review more movies for you in the future. Have a good day!