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Review: Snow White and the Huntsman
Judging by the trailers I thought this film could very much be a hit or a complete miss. Thankfully it was the former of the two. After all, it is a big project with some pretty iconic characters under the direction of a rookie director in Rupert Sanders and the main role being portrayed by Kristen Stewart, who many have mixed opinions over. All of it comes together quite nicely to create a very good and dark film. The film is filled with great imagery and symbolism accompanied with some very good performances that really helps bring it all together. A big fear I had with the film was the possibility of it becoming rather cheesy in certain moments, and thankfully it never did. Rupert Sanders did a terrific job in his directorial debut in keeping the film set to a dark tone and never wavering from it. Considering how the film is based on the fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm tale, it should have a darker tone then what most expect to see from your average Snow White movie.
The plot doesn't change much from what you would expect. It shows the land's King and Queen giving birth to a child with pale white skin, rose red lips and long black hair that leads to her being named Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Shortly after birth, the Queen begins to deteriorate in health and ends up dying. The rest of the land takes this chance to capitalize on the King's broken heart and Ravenna (Charlize Theron) sends a fake army of hers to distract him. Upon her armies defeat, she is found by the King as she seems to be one of their prisoners. Due to her great beauty the King immediately falls in love with her and marries her the next day. In my opinion, that's a bit premature, but boys and girls are advancing in their relationships much faster these days anyways. After the wedding, Ravenna's true intentions are shown as she kills the King and allows her real army safe entrance inside the castle walls. All of the old guard is killed or held captive, including Snow White as she is thrown in the highest point of the tallest tower in the castle. Her childhood friend, William (Sam Claflin), is able to escape with his father. Ravenna talks to an entity that lives inside of a golden mirror on her wall that only she can see, and it tells her that she is the fairest of them all until Snow White comes of age. When Snow White comes of age, Ravenna orders her brother Finn to bring her to the throne room. Finn however is unable to as Snow is able to escape into the Dark Forest where Ravenna's magical powers have no juice. Ravenna orders her brother to find a man that can travel through those treacherous woods and bring her Snow White.
Finn finds Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) in the village, who is a drunk and a man struck with sorrow for his wife died at a young age. The Huntsman has previous experience surviving in the forest, which is why Finn sought him out. Ravenna uses this against him as she falsely promises him that she can resurrect his love in return for the safe return of Snow White. When the Huntsman travels inside the forest and finds Snow, he is stunned by her beauty and it makes him question why the Queen would even want her. Finn admits that Ravenna cannot revive his fallen wife and berates him for believing that she could. This of course sets the Huntsman on a quest to protect the rightful heir to the throne, however he does not realize who she is for quite some time. Snow and the Huntsman begin to try to put more distance between themselves and Ravenna's hunters while coming across more allies. In the process of this, Ravenna begins to grow more and more impatient as she needs Snow's heart to survive and maintain her beauty.
A good deal of praise is in order for Rupert Sanders first off considering how the only thing he has worked on before this film was commercials. It is impressive that an unknown director would be given the keys to such a big film like this one, but he does a terrific job with the material. Chris Hemsworth, off the heels of playing Thor in the Avengers, also does a terrific job in the role of the Huntsman. In many ways he manages to steal the show when many would assume that Charlize Theron would be the main attraction as the Evil Queen. Hemsworth expertly plays his part as he is a broken man over the grief he feels for his deceased man, but when he meets Snow, a glimmer of hope is present in his eyes. Kristen Stewart is one that many will berate as it can be a somewhat questionable casting choice for the iconic role of Snow White, but she pulls it off rather well. I never truly doubted her acting ability as she did a terrific job in "Adventureland" and "Into the Wild" which came before her Twilight films. Hemsworth also had a terrific amount of chemistry with Stewart, and the two of them played off of each other very well. I was thankful for the limited amount of angsty looks between them (yes, that was a shot at Twilight) A few times throughout the movie, I stopped picturing her as Kristen Stewart and saw her solely as Snow White. Charlize Theron, as evident by the trailers, is special in the role of Ravenna. Her delivery of lines and overall chilling presence on screen is felt from her very first scene and carries throughout the rest of the film. The one gripe I had in terms of acting, would be Sam Cliflin as Prince William. It just didn't fit and honestly he was not charming, as the role demands him to be. He also had no chemistry with Kristen Stewart as most know that the two are destined to be together, and yet whenever they are together, it seems forced. In a certain regard I almost feel as if the film didn't need William. The film also had it's fair share of symbolism, most of it is fairly blatant as well. Snow White symbolizes everything that is good in the world and life, while Ravenna is the complete opposite. Her name Raven-na, a raven represents death and her wardrobe often makes her have the look of a raven.