Don’t do it.
Save your money.
Oh, how I wanted this movie to be good. I really, really wanted it to be. Just as much as I wanted Dark Shadows (don’t do that one either) to be good, I really wanted to see this movie succeed. Too bad for me it didn’t. It had such a great premise, too.
Straight from IMDb:
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Okay, I can go with that. Not to mention the trailers made it look awesome. SO much better than Mirror, Mirror (but who am I kidding, right?). And yet, like so much about Tinseltown, appearances can be deceiving.
Before I do, however, let it be known that there are spoilers in this review. It’s kind of hard NOT to have them. That being said…
It’s an unnamed kingdom in the middle ages. It’s snowing and there is a woman walking toward a red, red rose defiantly blooming against the whiteness and cold all around it.
“If I have a child,” she thinks, “I will name it after this rose.”
Low and behold, a daughter is born and is named Snow White. But, the queen is very sick and because every fairytale needs angst, she dies. The king is heartbroken, his daughter is heartbroken. But, while she has a companion to take the hurt away, the king does not and so, is very happy to have an excuse to take his mind off his sorrows. An attack by a strange shadow army proves just the distraction he needs. Enter Ravenna, masquerading as a prisoner of war.
Enraptured by her and her preternatural beauty, the king promptly forgets his broken heart and marries Ravenna the next day (after they get back to the castle having defeated the shadow army, because horses can travel great distances over very short periods of time, apparently). Poor sod that he is, and because Grimm tales can’t really be complete without a little more blood, Ravenna kills the king as he’s sleeping with her. Sort of. He’s kissing her neck. Shut up. Anyway. Snow White gets the subsequent end of the very short stick and is imprisoned in the massive castle’s north tower after failing to escape with her companion (William, whom we’ll get to later) for however many years until she’s pretty enough to get in bad with the already crazy queen. We’ll go with eighteen because it’ll make me feel a *little* bit better after seeing the scenes with her and Chris Hemsworth. So, fast forward oh maybe sixteen years and Snow White is a dirty, bedraggled teenager trying to light a fire in her jail cell. Through a series of events that are a bit too creepy for my taste and involve near-rape and a loose nail she pulls from stone, she gets free and flees the castle.
Meanwhile, the queen is consulting her mirror, demanding it tell her who is the fairest out of them all (narcissism is a bitch, ain’t it?). The mirror does, and naturally the queen doesn’t like it. After finding out that Snow’s escaped, Ravenna goes a little out of her way to make life very painful for her brother who let Snow do the escaping. Calming down, she demands someone who knows this “Dark Forest” where her powers are apparently useless. Enter Chris Hemsworth and the hunt for Snow White with the promise that if he brings the girl back, Ravenna will bring his dead wife back to life.
Hmm. Okay. I can go with that. Huntsman has a dead wife, he’s a drunkard and very depressed because he couldn’t save her or something. Neat.
We’re back to our forest where Snow White has apparently gotten high on some freaky dust thrown up by her constant running and dodging. Never mind that she looks somewhere between laughing and throwing up, she’s in big trouble because the Dark Forest feeds on fears. Everybody sees something different.
Meet up with the Huntsman. He finds out that the queen was going to betray him. Blah, blah, I don’t really care. Chris Hemsworth makes a joke about Kirsten Stewart getting her hopes up because, for some reason, she’s swooning over him already and they begin their epic quest. This quest leads them to a village of women who have scarred their faces to keep the queen from sucking their beauty away (she does that). The scars keep them safe while their men are at war. The Huntsman, irritated that he didn’t know who Snow was at first and terrified of her ending up like his wife, decides he’s going to beat feet, thus hastening fate.
Right. Okay. Cutting to another scene, we see all grown up William.
A skilled archer is he, picking off the queen’s men like they’re fish in a barrel on a raid mission he wasn’t supposed to be on. Finding out that Snow is alive, and still remorseful for abandoning her all those years ago, he sets off in a right hurry, joining up with Ravenna’s brother to make an easy find out of Snow. He sees her for a brief instant in the fiery death that is this woman civilisation and makes a hurry out of following her, finding her once again after the dwarves have tied both her and the huntsman up. Upside down. Because they’re dwarves. And it was really funny seeing them beat Thor up.
Too bad that was the only funny part in the movie. What follows is an attempt to merge fairy tale and a sweeping epic that falls well short of the mark it set for itself.
Not content with any of the events thusfar the queen decides to take matters into her own hands and transform herself into William, luring Snow White into the woods. Here he hands her an apple. She laughs, going down memory lane when they were younger and William refused to give her the apple he’d picked from the tree for her, instead taking a bite himself. Well, it’s Snow’s turn to take the bite. She does, it gets fuzzy, she falls to her knees, Ravenna monologues and is stopped right before she cuts Snow’s heart out by the real William and the Huntsman. Snow struggles to keep breathing, William falls to his knees and tucks her into his arms, sobbing, Snow is more or less dead.
All right, here’s the part where I’m thinking; Right. He’s going to kiss her and wake her up. That *has* to happen because he’s been in love with her pretty much since they were kids.
He kisses her. She’s still, for all intents and purposes, dead.
Go forward a couple of scenes (they put her on a stretcher and carry her to the Duke’s castle) and the Huntsman is drunk and talking about how Snow reminds him of his dead wife and how he couldn’t save either of them because he wasn’t around to do so or something. I’m not really sure. That bit was never fully explained until the Huntsman kills Ravenna’s brother on a tree stump and even then, not really. Anyway! He’s talking and getting more drunk aaaaaaannnnnd…he kisses her.
(Creepy part of the story #2).
Exit stage left.
She wakes up.
What follows is the subsequent revival of the former residents of the unnamed castle Ravenna took over, a small battle with tar, murder holes, archers, and some weird glass monstrosities, and Ravenna’s defeat by the hands of Snow White by the only knife trick the Huntsman bothered to show her in the entire movie.
Bad guy dies. Good guy wins minus the marriage to anybody, really. Everyone gets a happily ever after.
No. Dammit. Not yay.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie was visually stunning. It’s amazing what they can do with computers these days. However, Snow White and the Huntsman suffered from lack of emotional engagement due to a number of things. It tried too hard to insert fairy tale where there really didn’t need to be any, uneven pacing, and bad writing. As a character, Snow White lacked having a point to the story other than bearing the name “Snow White”. She did nothing to show herself as the heroine I wanted her to be or as a decent, three dimensional character. Situations happened to her without any real reaction. Only when she was awakened by the Huntsman’s (why?) kiss, did she even remotely try for believability. Even then, it came down to “what the hell is the point, other than Ravenna being a royal bitch?” for me to be remotely interested if Snow White would win or not. My other issue came from the Huntsman and William. If they were going to have William as a prince, why the hell didn’t they make him the love interest right from the get go? Yes, he abandoned her through no choice of his own when they were kids, obviously he still loved her enough to join up with the bad guys to go find her, so why the hell didn’t his kiss wake her up?! Moreover, why the hell didn’t she deck him in the jaw when he finally did find her? All he got out of the deal was a “We were children, William.” and a single kiss when he wasn’t even present for it! No reaction when he found her, no follow up after she was made queen. It was like he was there for continuity’s sake. Except he wasn’t.
Now the Huntsman. Chris Hemsworth was great, he’s a good actor but, ultimately, his part was wholly unnecessary. It just was. He didn’t serve any purpose other than to almost kill Snow White, have a change of heart and take her to the Duke’s castle. Somewhere in there I think he was supposed to “mentor” her. Outside of a single knife trick, nothing more was made of that little tidbit, except for right at the end when Snow White killed Ravenna using his little trick. I think that was supposed to serve as “closing the circle” in the story. Too bad that it didn’t. Even he didn’t get made king after Snow White was crowned, despite his kiss waking her up. Personally, I think William should have been the Huntsman. At least then the story would have made more sense and I would have cared about him. Try as I might I couldn’t have cared less for the drunkard Huntsman with the sob story background if I tried.
About the only character I *did* care about was Ravenna. Because Charlize Theron does crazy oh so well.
And the not getting married for a happy ending finale was something new, refreshing, and disappointing. I would have liked to see William and Snow White together. Not that I’m a die-hard “marriage is the only way” type person, but it’s SNOW WHITE, the story necessitates that kind of ending, at least in some way shape or form.
Bottom line, if you’re going to spend your money on a movie, spend it on this: