Thursday, 5 July 2012

Film Review: Snow White And The Huntsman

Fairest of them all? - Kristen Stewart
It all starts with once upon a time, weaves it's way through familiarities like an apple, an evil queen with a black heart and a heroic huntsman, but Snow White and The Huntsman gives fresh life to an old fairytale, albeit not completely convincingly. 

In what seems like a growing trend, Snow White and The Huntsman offers a darkened and twisted take on an age old fable that is full of angst and moodiness. It feels like Medieval Twilight what with a pale and pasty heroine, a testosterone fuelled love triangle (more on this later) and a grim forest setting. This parallel is mainly thanks to Kristen Stewart's insipid performance as the titular heroine; she retains the same tired and stoned expression throughout the film. Why Stewart would be cast to play the "fairest of them all" is baffling, considering that there isn't a shortage of young female talent on offer. I put her inclusion down to her appeal to the Twi-hards, but she doesn't elevate the film so much as hinder it.

On the flipside, Charlize Theron, following on from Prometheus, is again outstanding. She is a brilliant mixture of wickedly evil and vulnerable as the malicious Ravenna. She commands the screen with every scene she is in, striding in front of her mirror mirror on the wall and shrieking with mirth. The opening scenes that establish her rise to power are some the best in the film; I liked that the film focused more on her relationship with Snow White rather than focusing solely on Snow.

Chris Hemsworth's portrayal of The Huntsman was hit and miss. He brought the necessary bulk to the role and stepped effortlessly into the 'tough, rough, gruff' hero persona that he has honed so well as Thor.

The film's biggest selling point for me was the impressive visuals and gloomy aesthetics. Twisted forests, sloppy mud and bogs, creepy crawlies and even creepier trolls, this isn't the sweet and innocent "whistle while you work" Snow White remember. On that note however, the dwarves in this film are thankfully not as creepy or gloomy as the rest of the kingdom; they are welcome comic relief from actors like Nick Frost and Ray Winstone.

Kristen Stewart's selection as Snow aside, the most baffling addition was that of Sam Claflin as William. Constructed as a childhood friend of Snow's, William spends the majority of the film seeking out the princess he hasn't seen for over a decade and fears is dead. Why? Apparently because he had a schoolboy crush. His character is simply padding, and what I suspect is an attempt to construct a Twilight-esque Edward vs. Jacob love triangle for the teenage girls, I mean, the audience to faun over. His inclusion makes the film over complicated, messy and he is, on the whole, just plain pointless.

Another downside is the lack of resolution at the end; there is a horrible dawning realisation once the credits roll that this isn't simply "once upon a time".

The Verdict: 5.5/10

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