Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

The second movie I decided to watch soon after I concluded Mirror Mirror was – surprise surprise – Snow White and the Huntsman. I mean how could I not? They were both available and it would be a shame to watch one and not the other… So I decided to give it a go.

Snow White and the Huntsman actually keeps the key points of the original fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves more so than that of Mirror Mirror… Obviously with some twists and changes along the way. The major deviation is turning the overall tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves into more of an action / adventure type of film and in some ways this works out decently in the grand scheme of things.

The Evil Queen is brought to Snow White’s father’s attention via a battle wherein she was the prisoner of the opposing army. Enamored by her beauty the king married her soon after only to be killed on their wedding night. The Evil Queen then takes over the kingdom with few escapees and makes Snow White prisoner with no one that escaped knowing if Sow White had survived or not.

And this is my first issue with the changes… Why keep Sow White prisoner? What purpose does it serve? The Evil Queen has proven time and time again that she will do what it takes to keep her youth by sucking the life out of other women. And she has no qualms of killing anyone around her for self-preservation even going so far as to sacrifice the life of her own brother… So why keep Snow White alive?

Alas, we may never know the answer to this wee little loophole in the story and as thus we, the audience, are expected to take this conundrum at face value… Ah well.

Charlize Theron is positively goosebumps worthy as the Evil Queen, totally menacing and without remorse… Except she has a slight feeling of humanity where one cannot help but sympathize with her desire of conquest particularly after what had happened to her in her childhood. In fact showing that quick clip of insight into the Evil Queen’s past was enough for me to want to learn more about the Evil Queen specifically and how she went from being no more than an innocent child to the women she become.

But as we all know absolute power corrupts absolutely and she is not completely innocent as over time she has killed thousands of civilians in her quest of staying in power and hundreds of young women in her desire of staying young and immortal. Still I found myself sympathizing with why she did what she did and how in her own way she fought to hold on to what she worked for so long.

Everyone knows what happened to the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) that was commissioned with the death of Snow White and retrieving her heart so that the Evil Queen would have proof of the death of Snow White. Except in this tale Snow White escaped the castle and ventured into the Dark Forest on her own with the Huntsmen brought onboard to track her and deliver her to the Evil Queen. Well the Huntsman found Snow White, but instead of returning her to the Evil Queen he chose to aid in her escape and at first decided to have nothing to do with her again.

Except – and rather predictably – he returns to her aid time and time again… But over time we realize it was because she reminded him of his late wife and he would be damned if he couldn’t help Snow White like he was unable to help his wife (which later we find out that the Evil Queen had sucked dry many years prior).

As thus, the Huntsman’s apparent attraction to that of Snow White is what sets up he seeds for a – again predictable – love triangle with the Huntsman and the duke’s son striving for the affections of one Snow White.

Since this movie is quite obviously about Snow White and the Huntsman, it would seem rather strange to talk about the least known piece of this love triangle in the form of the duke’s son, William as played by Sam Claflin. In fact there isn’t much to say. The most we know about young William is that he is rather proficient with a bow and arrow (following a trend of sorts in film) and he appears to carry a bit of guilt in the abandonment of Snow White all those years ago. In fact one might go so far as to say that young William was carrying a torch for Snow White for all those years so when news of her survival and apparent escape from the Evil Queen’s abode came to pass he ran off like a bolt of lightning in search for his childhood friend intent on never abandoning her again. Romantic to be sure but rather emotional of a response for one of the nobility.

Not much else is known of the duke’s son and as thus it is,rather difficult for someone like myself to want to see Snow White and William to end up together except only for the fact that they were once friends. The one moment of sincerity between the two unfortunately happens when the Evil Queen comes to Snow White in the guise of William and tricks Snow White into taking a bite of the infamous poisoned apple. So even that slight moment could not be taken into consideration. Ah well. Here is hoping that if there is indeed a sequel of sorts it would then include the evolution of the childhood friendship between the two into something worthwhile… But alas, who knows when that would come to pass.

As for the final piece of the puzzle: Kristin Stewart as Snow White… I will say that I had often found myself fast forwarding moments that included her only to have to rewind and watch because I was curious of the other characters’ storylines / arcs. And that is something that should not have happened in a movie that is essentially revolving around Snow White. Despite some deviations and a well-concocted story arc for Snow White that should have the average movie watch want to know more… I found myself getting bored with the actress’ interpretation of the character.

Snow White knew who she was, but she didn’t know exactly to what extent. She knew that by being the surviving daughter of a beloved monarch she is therefore the hope of the kingdom she carries the burden of defeating the Evil Queen… All the while maintaining her innocence and purity… For some reason I could not find the colors of fabric of the character in the acting of Kristin Stewart, and it is a shame really.

The movie suffers most with the unevenness of the acting as well as a somewhat convoluted plot. Though the plot is for the most part understandable (after much thought and perhaps a second watch through) it is rather easy for one to be confused if not annoyed with the desire of weaving a fairy tale into a much larger piece of fiction.

Is it worth seeing a second time? It is hard to say, though I enjoyed the,performances of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth immensely, I cannot say the same about Kristin Stewart and am indifferent with Sam Claflin. It is largely dependent on how the writers and producers decide to pursue a plausible sequel. There are threads and moments where a sequel could be possible, but again how this is woven remains to be seen.

As a standalone I would not recommend seeing Snow White and the Huntsman in any capacity except for mere curiosity and if you are a fan of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. I do not believe it is even warranted a second viewing by any stretch of the imagination. Then again this is my take and as thus my opinion.