By Bob Garver
“Snow White and the Huntsman” would actually serve itself well by distancing itself from the familiar story of Snow White. It’s so cheesy these days to do a “dark” version of a beloved children’s tale. It would be more interesting to just market an action movie with an evil queen and lots of swordplay and the audience slowly figures out that it’s supposed to be Snow White. We can start piecing things together with the references to snow, apples, and a vain villainess who asks her magic mirror if she’s the fairest of them all. If you only had those clues to go on, imagine how much of a delicious surprise it would be when our heroes get ambushed by mysterious figures and it turns out that the attackers are the Seven Dwarfs. Since the movie makes it clear that our heroine is indeed Snow White, she and The Huntsman get ambushed and I’m thinking, “It has to be the dwarfs. It’s about time they showed up”.
Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth is The Huntsman, and Charlize Theron is the evil Queen Ravenna. Theron is such an awesome scenery chewer that it’s easy to forget that the movie even has good guys. After the death of Snow White’s kind mother, Ravenna abruptly marries her father the king. She murders him on their wedding night and immediately assumes tyrannical control of the kingdom and has Snow White locked up in a tower for the next decade.
Ravenna stays young and beautiful by sucking the youth out of imprisoned girls from conquered kingdoms, but the magic mirror tells her that Snow White’s beauty will eventually surpass her own. She orders her creepy brother (Sam Spruell) to bring her Snow White so she can kill her, but Snow White escapes the pervert and flees into the creature-laden Dark Forest. All the queen’s men are scared of the forest, so she has to rely on help from an outside source: the miserable, back-talking, washed up Huntsman. It takes the Huntsman about a second to realize that the queen has nefarious purposes for wanting him to go after Snow White and decides to save her instead. For Snow White it’s not enough to be saved, she wants to meet up with some old allies and take Ravenna down for good. And it should go without saying that the dwarfs get involved.
With the exception of the iconic dwarfs (who for the record are portrayed by taller actors shrunken by special effects), everything memorable about the film involves Theron as the villain. Among the things she breaks are hearts, souls, her castle, and her kingdom. She can conjure up weapons made of broken glass at which point her enemies have to be really fearful of gravity. She’s terribly beautiful (especially when she takes a PG-13 nude bath in some youth-giving goo) and one wonders why the magic mirror thinks that Stewart as Snow White can ever overtake her as fairest in the land. The simple answer is that she gets all oldy-moldy when there aren’t any youthful souls around for her to suck out.
“Snow White and the Huntsman” is a generic action movie with a wonderful villain. Neither Stewart nor Hemsworth really bring anything to their characters, though it occurs to me that Stewart’s future is probably in action movies as opposed to more drippy “Twilight”-style romances. A month from now when people think of Snow White, they’re still going to think of the Disney animated princess and not this movie’s take on her. Though I have no problem with Charlize Theron now being the permanent face of the evil queen.
Two and a Half Stars out of Five
“Snow White and the Huntsman” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality. Its running time is 127 minutes.