Snow White & The Huntsman is the years second big screen live-action adaptation of the popular childrens fairy tale, however unlike the amusing Mirror, Mirror this one doesnt know where it stands or wants to. Lush, beautiful visuals are backed up by a rousing score, but otherwise talented actors are laid waste by a cheesy, pedestrian script.
Snow White (Kirsten Stewart) ever since she was a little girl has been the prisoner of Ravenna (Charlize Theron), her step-mother who usurped the throne after killing Snows father. Ravenna tries to kill Snow since she wants to be the fairest in all the land and also because a prophecy fortold how Snow will e responsible for Ravennas death; however Snow escapes into the dark forest. To track Snow down, since all her guards wouldnt dare venture into the dark forest, Ravenna hires the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) promising to bring back his wife from the dead. The Huntsman wastes no time in locating Snow but refuses to hand her over to the Queens soldiers, choosing instead to help her trek across to safety to a rebel fort. Along the way, they meet the seven dwarves, thwart and fall prey to Ravennas nefarious attacks, are joined by a childhood sweetheart of Snows and even bite an apple or two leading ultimately to a second rate castle siege that would make Ridley Scott squirm.
The main problem of the film is that it takes itself far too seriously for a fairy-tale. The wanton need to psycho-analyse things might be better suited to a different structure all together rather than trying to shoe-horn it into the classical template of the tale. The queens hatred of the male species, her envy of Snows youth and beauty, the relationship between the queen and her brother, even the trite and forced love triangle between Snow, the huntsman and her childhood sweetheart are setup with aplomb but fleshed out very poorly. This simply leads to a lot of barking without any bite as the payoff, thus rendering much of the movie quite a bore filled with line after line of cheesy dialogue. Its conceivable that a talented writing team including Hossein Amini (Drive) & John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) proved the proverb right that too many cooks spoil the broth.
The positives however are the visuals, set-design and the background score. While Mirror, Mirror had a more stagey feel to the sets, this one has a grand operatic feel to it causing for some amazing sights and sounds. The visual effects too are top-notch and James Newton Howards background score keeps things lively even when occurrences onscreen are far from it. The visual effects used to create the dwarves are quite impressive and feels utterly realistic.
Charlize Theron looks the part and would have be considered commendable too if I hadnt seen Julia Roberts tackle the same role with such fervour in Mirror, Mirror. After Roberts performance, Theron just seems like shes trying too hard. Kirsten Stewart looks pale and act stilted as any Twilight movie shes ever done. Hemsworth is wasted in a role that if replete with so many cheesy lines of dialogue that it is painfully funny later on during a scene when Snow needs to be awoken from a slumber induced by black magic. The rest of the impressive star cast with the likes of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones & more are poorly used.
Snow White and the Hunstman cant be blamed for the lack of ambition but its desperate need to be an epic fairy-tale action flick, it forgets the essence of the fairy-tale, the very need to be entertained, thrilled and genuinely care about the characters like any good story.