SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN has a lot going against it. A rehash of a great Disney cartoon couldn’t possibly be any good right? Kristen Stewart is in it, and it’ll just be Bella waiting to be kissed by her prince, blah, blah, blah. Put those concerns to rest. Kristen Stewart, when she’s not in Twilight films, is capable of turning in really good performances. Chris Hemsworth has proven in the last two years that he can handle any role thrown at him, and the resurgence of Charlize Theron’s character back into mainstream films after Hancock in 2008 continues wonderfully in Huntsman and even next week with Prometheus.
Snow White opens up with a bit of backstory for the tale we’re all familiar with. We learn of her mother, the queen of the kingdom. She desired a daughter to possess beauty that could be unmatched with qualities like hair as black as a raven’s wings and lips as red as blood. Eventually, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) was born, but unfortunately her mother died soon after. Heartbroken, her father one day comes upon an army who has imprisoned a beautiful woman named Ravenna (Charlize Theron) who would immediately become the new bride to the despondent king. Ravenna wastes no time killing the king, imprisoning Snow White and overtaking the kingdom, bringing an aura of black and darkness to the kingdom.
From there it’s pretty much the story that most of us are familiar with. Director Rupert Sanders does an incredible job creating the world that we see in the film. It’s really hard to believe that this is his first feature film because it is shot beautifully. In a world that is supposed to blend dark with immaculate white, the contrast is done very well and colors are absolutely vivid when they need to be. Beyond the look of the film, which is no doubt great, the cast manages to deliver some great performances. Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is an empowering character with an obvious sense of awareness to her importance to the kingdom yet it never comes off as superficial. Charlize Theron and her scenery chewing do a perfect job of portraying a character who is the polar opposite of Snow White. While she is no doubt beautiful, her insecurity is plainly obvious to all those around her, yet she exudes power convincingly.
There is so much to really enjoy in Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s not without it’s problems though. The battle scenes are very paint by numbers, and occasionally the CG is bad enough to serve as a distraction. When the film works though, it works in spades. The visuals are stunningly beautiful and some of Ravenna’s transformation sequences are some of the coolest things you’ll see all year. Not to mention the dwarves, which are too amazing to spoil so nothing else will be said of them.
Whatever reservations you have of Snow White and the Huntsman, put those to rest. When a film can have problems like bland battle scenes but still make you say to yourself “Damn, this movie is cool”, it’s gotta be a good film. With everything this film has going against it, it manages to turn all of that around and just deliver a plain old good summer film.