Director: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins
At a very young age, Snow White (Stewart) must deal with the death of her parents. Not long after her mother dies, her father King Magnus sets off to battle an army approaching their castle. He defeats the army and rescues a young blonde woman named Ravenna (Theron) chained up in a carriage. They end up marrying the very next day. Snow is still dealing with her mother’s death, and Ravenna ensures her that everything will be alright. We all know that is a bold lie as Ravenna kills King Magnus later that night. She reveals herself to be the Master of the Dark Army who Magnus fought against. Her goal was to take over his thrown and rule the kingdom. She seizes control of the kingdom and locks Snow up in a tower.
The once beautiful kingdom turns desolate and grim under Queen Ravenna’s rule. Every day the Queen asks her magic mirror who is the fairest of all, and every day she was told that she was the fairest. Now that Snow White has grown up, the Mirror has a different answer. The Queen is enraged when she hears that Snow is the fairest and could take over the control of the kingdom. She summons her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) to get Snow from the tower and bring her to her. As Finn enters Snow’s room, she uses a nail to attack him. She escapes the castle and heads out to the forbidden Dark Forest. The Queen forces Huntman Eric (Hemsworth) to go into the forest to find her and bring her back with a promise to bring him and his wife back together. Eric finds a beaten down Snow, and she informs him of the Queen’s true ways. They journey out through the Forest to escape the Queen’s henchman. They come across various creatures and realms that have been overtaken by the Queen’s magic. With the help of some dwarves and Snow’s childhood friend Will (Claflin), they gain the strength to head back to the castle and defeat the Queen once and for all.
Charlize Theron has come to play wicked characters very well. I always appreciate it whenever she takes on such flawed characters. For the most part, she takes a “less is more” approach with her demeanor and attitude being more sustained than your average crazy off-the-wall queen. She does scream and wail at times, which I didn’t always find necessary. Kristen Stewart is less successful at creating a fun strong character. She didn’t seem to stray too far from her Twilight character except by being a little less whiny and annoying. I was completely missing the emotional aspect she had with any of the other characters, especially with Eric. One of the final shots of the movie is on her and I couldn’t even begin to think of what he character was going through. Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, and the rest of the dwarves steal the scene once they stumble upon Snow and Eric.
Rupert Sanders shines high and mighty in his directorial debut. This is the second Snow White themed movie of 2012 following the dismal and boring Mirror Mirror. Snow White and the Huntsman takes a darker grittier look at this fairy tale than we are used to seeing. The production values are stunning across the board. Colleen Atwood consistently creates stunning costumes. Between the crown, chains, and talons, the costume design for The Evil Queen fits the sharp fierce look of the Queen while maintaining the period. Sanders offsets the dark mood by enriching the color palette when appropriate. The magical land that Snow, Eric, and the dwarves stumble upon is alive with color to contrast the Dark Forest. The special effects are top notch. The shattering glass element of the battle scenes and the CGI work on the Dwarves does not feel hokey and computerized like it does on so many other epic movies. Even though the movie does tend to drag in the middle while Snow and Eric are on their journey, there is always something to look at and discover in order to keep the audience engrossed in the story. Be warned that this version of Snow White is not meant for little kids. There is enough violence and dark elements involved that the little ones could deem too scary.
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)