Snow White and the Huntsman came out about the same time as Mirror Mirror, and the trailers made it look spectacular. A darker version of the Snow White tale, and with Charlize Theron as the wicked stepmother/evil Queen–how could you go wrong? Well, let me count the ways.
The script and story in the film are not even close to the best I’ve ever seen. Now, the story could have been made interesting in more capable hands, but the final version seen in this film felt like a glorified fan production written by some angsty teenager somewhere. I’m sure there are a few teenagers who have the skills to write something better than this, but none of them worked on this particular film.
The film is plagued by less-than-stellar acting. Snow White is not all that interesting as depicted by Kristen Stewart (though she does smile occasionally). Theron has a tendency to overact and switch accents at the drop of a crown. The Queen’s brother is as interesting as watching wallpaper dry, which may be your thing, but it’s certainly not mine.
Chris Hemsworth is the only top-billed star who acts reasonably well in the film, and I could tell he was truly struggling with the direction and script (neither were worth the money poured into this film). The dwarves were a little drop of sunshine in an otherwise mostly dark world. They were the only characters about whom I cared, because they seemed more genuine than pretty much everyone else.
The cinematography was just weird and jarring, as if they were going for the feel of the camera work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but they never quite got it right. Snow White and the Huntsman tried to be epic, but failed miserably at it, with pacing which was just confusing most of the time.
In far too many scenes, it seemed as if everyone was slogging through the mud and rain, which reminded me a little of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Arthur and his knights meet the peasants mucking about in the mud and slop. Only that film was much more interesting.
Now, not everything about the film was bad. Many of the special effects were very well done. I loved the fairy forest, especially the part with the White Hart. The troll was very well done, too, and that was the only scene where Stewart did a good job. Even with that, most of the special effects seemed done more for eye candy than to help the story along.
The costuming was excellent, and the costumes were very well made, but there was such a crazy mix of costumes from all sorts of periods that it was hard to figure out exactly when they were setting the film. I can understand the Queen’s costumes being different because she’s a magical menace and has weird powers only partially explained. Everyone else had costumes which often just didn’t fit well with other costumes in the scenes, but (again) the costume designer should be commended for making some really nice costumes.
As I watched the end credits roll, the name of the Post Production Assistant helped me to crystallize my final thoughts about Snow White and the Huntsman: “Hello. My name is Iñigo Oleaga. You killed my movie. Prepare to die!” I really wanted to like this film, but it thwarted my every attempt to do so. This movie isn’t worth seeing again. If you haven’t yet seen it, don’t bother.
Release Date: June 1, 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking, drunkeness)
Language: 1 (minor expletives)
Nudity: 1 (the director kept showing Theron from the back)
Sexuality: 1 (the King and Queen in bed, the Queen shown covered in thick white liquid and also naked from the back)
Violence: 3 (battle scenes, attempted sexual assault, graphic depiction of bird heart being eaten, soul-sucking queen)