Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

As the second live-action adaptation of the beloved Grimm fairy tale to be released this year, Rupert Sanders’ directorial debut and personal go with said lore at least scores points for atmosphere. Opting for a gloom-and-doom aesthetic to combat Tarsem Singh’s singular, glaringly fantastical visual panache in Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Hunstman plays fast and loose with only the basest elements of the source material, trying its best to reinvent the tale via a scatterbrained sense of creativity whilst obviously targeting an older demographic. It has its flashes of whimsical brilliance here and there, however these instances are too few and far between to make the film commendable as a whole.

In getting off on the right foot, the powers-that-be did a fine enough job in easing us into the thick of the proceedings, even if beneath the slick veneer of this meticulously crafted world and heaps of PG-13 grade violence lies the simplest of straightforward narratives. This is to be expected of course, and there’s something inherently admirable about having the balls to tackle something like this from an entirely different angle, more specifically one as dark as this. Technically, the film’s got some pop. From stunning wide shots of vast, snow-covered forests and sun-drenched landscapes, Snow White and the Huntsman is an unabashed treat for the eyes if nothing too revolutionary.

Providing you take the film for what it is, the sense of creativity that oozes from its pores is enough to overshadow the agreeably uneven acting across the board, Theron’s titular evil queen excluded (thankfully). Hemsworth employs his characteristically imposing physical stature a la Thor at frequent intervals, ensuring that the action itself is engaging as it very well should be. Miss Stewart’s efforts are little more serviceable than that of her ghastly Bella Swan days, which isn’t saying much, but there’s enough to distract you from what’s considered less desirable, even if the film as a whole tends to fall flat in certain areas as a disjointed script bounces all over the fucking place.

Brief bits of characterization are thrown around here and there, and enough liberties were taken with the script that help provide for a bit of (somewhat) quality entertainment in between blander occurrences. Putting aside the death of an eighth dwarf peculiarly mimics that of Dobby’s from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the film trudges confidently along until its latter act devolves into a substandard battle royale between good and evil. Snow White and the Huntsman, for lack of better phrasing, certainly has its moments, however they mostly come in the form of some pretty impressive cinematography and an appealing, frequently glum aesthetic.


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