When the Queen dies, the King falls into a deep depression. As an unknown army crosses the borders of his kingdom, he meets them in battle – defeating them, and finding a beautiful woman, Ravenna (Charlize Theron), imprisoned in one of their carriages. Falling madly in love with her, he makes her his queen the very next day; only to have her kill him in his sleep, and take control of his kingdom. As she assumes her evil reign, she imprisons the princess, Snow White. Years later, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) comes of age and, after learning that the Evil Queen Ravenna plans to consume her heart to maintain her immortality, escapes her imprisonment and flees into the black forest. Ravenna, having been told that she will die without Snow White’s heart, has her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) hire a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to find her. The Huntsman ends up joining Snow White, and together they must outrun Ravenna, Finn and their combined forces in an effort to join up with the leader of the rebellion, Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan) and his son (and Snow White’s old flame), William (Sam Claflin).
Snow White and the Huntsman is, visually, spectacular and features a magnificent performance from Charlize Theron. Unfortunately, these are pretty much the only compliments that can be levelled at it. Charlize Theron is incredibly convincing in her role, and plays all the undertones with aplomb. Visually, it’s very similar to Lord of the Rings – gritty and fantastical all at the same time. The CGI is great – especially the troll, and the ‘Mirror’ (on the wall). The Dwarves are another highlight, being played by some of the greatest actors of today; Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Ian McShane and Toby Jones all feature.
However, there are many problems. The film runs for about 2 hours, which isn’t a particularly long running time. Nevertheless, the slow, plodding tone makes it feel much, much longer. The build up to the final battle seems to take up most of the film, and the director (Rupert Sanders) rushes the final battle and conclusion. The slow parts are broken up with the occasional flurry of action, which is probably where this film excels. Despite the dragging pace, there is content enough here to expand the film into a two, or three, part series – very much in a Lord of the Rings vein. As it is, Snow White and the Huntsman is both too rushed and too slow at the same time.
Script-wise, Snow White and the Huntsman features some truly terrible dialogue. Some of Stewart’s lines will make you wince; especially her “inspirational” speech when rousing the rebel troops. The dialogue in the ending battle between Snow White and Ravenna is also painfully bad. Also, the Dwarves are underused and simply too numerous to be effective characters. As Snow White, Kristen Stewart is wooden; breathing little life into a character that’s supposed to be the fairest in the land.
Overall, Snow White and the Huntsman is a bit of an escape from reality, but can’t quite suspend disbelief enough to be an effective fantasy film. It’s not terrible, but the combination of some sub-par performances, bad dialogue and a slow pace stop it from becoming what the amazing trailer promised.
by Jacob Richardson