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Review: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN


SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN


SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN , USA , 2012 , MPAA Rating : PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality

It was certainly an intriguing enough idea, even a bold one, turning the Evil Queen in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN in the tragic hero of the piece. It smacks of Milton’s re-interpretation of Lucifer in Paradise Lost. Alas, a smack is as far as it goes here. Director Rupert Sanders is no Milton, and for all the excellent work Charlize Theron brings to the role, it is far from enough to save this lumbering mess from devolving into a bog even more insidious than the one that claims the title character’s dashing white horse early on.

Not that there isn’t a commendable amount of imaginative CGI work to be found, what with a Dark Forest full of spindly trees with prehensile branches and of fungi spitting clouds of spores, and the Sanctuary Forest full of mushrooms with a googly eye each rolling around with wild abandon as butterflies congregate themselves into creative shapes. The problem here is a script that drones on and on with dialogue as clunky as rusty armor, and direction that, despite camera work that swoops, pans, and indulges itself in endless artsy hand-held shots, is curiously lifeless. In an attempt to create a new mythos out of several folk traditions, it conjures up none and with such a ringing sense of ennui that not even Theron, arresting though she is subsuming her character’s rage into a cold and lethal rage against the injustices she‘s endured, can breathe any life into it.

It doesn’t help that Snow White is Kristen Stewart, an actress who seems to have just the one expression at her command and it is one of pained peevishness. Even when she’s smiling, she’s peeved. Hers is an aura of self-absorption that transcends the sumptuous sets and finds its truest expression in the inertia of the action sequences. The rousing speech to her troops as they set out to win back her kingdom has less to do with Henry V and his St. Swithin’s Day speech than with a yappy little Chihuahua fending off a rival for its supper dish. That Chris Hemsworth, as the titular Hunstman sent to capture her when she escapes her evil stepmother's clutches, has as his first instinct to abandon her in the ci-mentioned bog is perfectly easy to understand. That it’s the blind dwarf (Bob Hoskins CGI-ed down to size along with the other dwarves) that most ardently defends her is also easy to understand.

Attempts to catapult this rambling and ramshackle work into the realm of the mythic and archetypal fail miserably, as the tedium and pretension take hold within the first hour and never leave. By the time Theron is flailing about on a flagstone floor like a gilded and beached carp, the point of no return has been decisively reached and there’s nothing left to hope for except a quick end to it all. Alas, that is yet another disappointment.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is an unrepentantly grimy version of the fairy tale that had within it a glimmer of promise. When Theron raises a dripping bird’s heart that she’s newly liberated from the bird itself to her lips with a supreme indifference, as though she were sipping tea, reveals a worthy villainess of tangible evil. That it’s wasted in this film is also a tangible evil.




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Moviegoer Review
 
movieaddict (evareymen@hotmail.com)
Well, It wasn't so bad, just bad-ish. I could actually see the whole movie without getting bored. (turned of Mirror Mirror) just barely though. And that had more to do with Charlize Theron's character. The movie had potential, they just didnt use any of it. (agree completely with orginal review overal) Kirsten Stewart can't act to save her life. That's my opinion. Does she ever smile at all without looking like she's passing a kidney stone hoping no-one would notice? I completely agree with the initial review as she only has one expression. When I read this review I was grinning as I was having the exact same conversation with my husband about the one expression a couple of days back. Kirsten Stewart is wrong for this movie. She has absolutely no range, and I doubt she has the abilities to gain them over the years as she lacks people skills/empathy in general. Or she doesn't know how the show them, same outcome. That doesn't mean she isn't a nice person, people. I just don't believe that she will be able to play any character given to her. ER
 
Gal Shadeck (gshadeck@yahoo.com)
Thank you so much for this review. I was going crazy reading positive and semi-positive reviews (including the one by Ebert, with 3.5 stars!) and trying to reconcile them with what I've just seen - possibly the boringest movie of the year. There's no action whatsoever, dialog is lame and cliched, Stewart is terrible, seven fine actors are completely wasted as dwarfs, who barely get to say or do anything, most of the special effects are there just for their own sake, having nothing to do with the plot. In short, a complete waste of time and money.
 
Cyndie (cajungenes@yahoo.com)
You have a narrow view, obviously. You are also very biased against Kristen Stewart. Has she slighted you at some Hollywood social? You come across as rather bitter and bitchy. I think I will go and see the movie after reading your review.
 
keekee (findingthegray@gmail.com)
Crappy storytelling that is appallingly anti-feminist. We're expected to view Snow White as a 'warrior princess' but all she is a nice pretty girl that men project their fantasies onto. She doesn't get anywhere without the extended aid of others - men in particular. That she inspires such devotion from those around her is presented as obvious but no evidence is given as to why anyone should die for her. Sure, they want to defeat the Queen but Snow White is presented as a messiah figure that will heal the land. No one bothers to explain how she will do this. Also, we are told she is especially innocent and pure but the only evidence we are given of this is her taking a wounded bird home as a child - something that millions of children have done since time began. In other words, Snow White is nothing special.
 
Chris (ajdiyenna@verizon.net)
Kristen Stewart is no Meryl Streep, but she has more than one expression. You are bias against her and probably the Twilight franchise. Don't forget she had hardly any lines in the damn script.
 

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