Snow White has seen a major resurgence over the last year or so. She is a main character on ABC’s hit show, Once Upon a Time. She was the focus of director Tarsem Singh’s latest endeavor, Mirror Mirror. And now she comes to audiences in Snow White and the Huntsman. This version of Snow White is a revisionist tale, set in a dark fantasy land, where Snow White must fight harder than ever to overcome the queen.
Kristen Stewart (Twilight) stars as the titular character and any fear that she would not be up for the challenge of playing the iconic beauty are mostly dashed. Aside from a few moments of poor dialogue delivery, including a cringe worthy motivational speech, she demonstrates that she is more than capable of the role. In fact nearly everyone on the cast does a fine job in their roles but it is Charlize Theron that steals the show, as Ravenna the evil queen.
This version of Snow White deals with darker, more mature subject matter than one would expect from a fairytale. There is an underlying theme of female empowerment that runs through the whole film. Ravenna finds power in her majestic beauty and she uses it to get everything she wants. On the flip side though, Snow White must find her strength elsewhere and she ultimately does so in her heart. It is easy enough to see where this is all going and thematically it does not fall too far from the original source material but the more in depth exploration of the themes grants it a fresh twist.
Also adding a significant twist to the story is the huntsman. Played by Chris Hemsworth (Cabin in the Woods, the Avengers) the huntsman takes on the role of Snow White’s protector/love interest. Hemsworth is no Prince Charming in his role here. Instead he plays a mourning widower that has turned to drinking as his primary pastime. His flaws though allow Snow White to find her inner strength, helping to shape her into the one that can overthrow the queen.
As great as the characterizations are in the film though, the film suffers from terrible pacing and this ultimately brings it down. Rookie director, Rupert Sanders must have been highly impressed with his beautiful shots because the film feels like he did not want to cut any of them out. There are long cuts of scenery where nothing happens, other scenes drag on and on, and then there are character developing scenes that are not even needed because the characters in question have already been developed to their apex.
Snow White and the Huntsman could have benefited from about 20 minutes of the film being trimmed, instead it feels bloated. This ultimately brings down what could have been a very good film to something that is only passable. In the crowded summer lineup of films, where something new is coming out every five to seven days, passable just does not cut it.
3 / 5