Thursday, 7 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman - Review

Today, by lucky chance, I managed to see the latest addition to the Snow White canon in the form of Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman. Here are some thoughts....

This iteration of the Snow White fairytale is, interestingly, the second of the year after the much maligned Mirror Mirror (presumably someone, somewhere, has made a big mistake). Yet SWH is decidedly different from the above Julia Robert's vehicle, this ones an all-together darker beast. Its also an all-together good one.

The Huntsmen (Chris Hemsworth - Bizarrely Scottish in this?), after having been ordered to execute Snow White (Kristen Stewart), has a change of heart and suddenly becomes her protector against the forces of darkness marshalled by the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). This twist of the legend means that the film turns into a Star-Wars style, must fight against the evil emperor, fantasy romp. And that's just fine.

Rupert Sanders is on direction duties and, no doubt due to his advertising background, his prowess at creating stark imagery elevates the whole show. Early on our villain bathes in some sort of milky substance in order to enhance her skin? Her powers? We are never sure, but the image is striking. As is the darkness of the script, the relationship between Ravenna and her brother (Sam Spruell) has incestuous undercurrents that will sail over youngsters heads but, for the adults, makes their relationship   beyond creepy.

It doesn't all work, Stewart leaves a lot to be desired - she can't play Bella forever. And the dwarfs (played by an amalgam of top British actors, Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone among them) are just plain jarring and unnecessary. Also, let's be honest, it has a middle act that's saggier than the evil Queen's face. But its still enjoyable because you totally believe in the world that Sanders and his team have created and, in terms of fairy tale movies, that's the fairest factor of them all.   

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