From the moment I saw the trailer for this film, I couldn't wait to see Snow White and the Huntsman. I was immediately smitten because it presented the "fairy tale" in a way I had not yet seen before. Growing up in the Golden Age of Disney, I was accustomed to fairy tales with that particular flare that appeals to children and parents. But if one decides to look up these tales, one will find that what Disney provided us as children was a far, far cry away from the true nature of those stories, and there is nothing Disney-ish about Snow White and the Huntsman. Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark, faithful rendering of the original content, and that's what I couldn't wait to experience. It's the way fairy tales should be seen.
The original fairy tales, the Snow White story in particular, are quite dark, and in my opinion, on the edge of being just plain frightening (Coraline). This film provides elements that are menacing and horrific in nature, but at the same time, these same elements are set against those that are equally bizarre and fantastically beautiful, which gives the film a very nice balance and appeal. Though possessing such fantastical elements, it's not done in an over-the-top manner, which allows for this film to be taken seriously. Much of this movie is quite despondent, not having very many uplifting moments in the film, almost in a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo kind of way (it never reaches that level), though it never turns completely morbid. The despondency is evident even in the murky look of the film, accenting the desired tone visually. But all of this works to the film's advantage, because when uplifting moments do arrive, they are very much appreciated, by characters and viewers alike, though they are short-lived.
James Newton Howard, once again, does the heart justice with his music. And I'm not saying this just because he's currently my favorite film score composer. No, James Newton Howard has an uncanny ability to consistently write music that speaks to the heart and the core of a film, which is required of any good film composer. And he does it once again with Snow White and the Huntsman. It's not his most amazing score either, but when it comes down to the emotionality of this film, and the effectiveness of his music in portraying that, goose bumps all the way.
This movie benefitted from some very solid acting. Though I was hoping to be blown away into the heavens by Charlize Theron's performance, it didn't hit me like I thought it would. Despite a couple of over-the-top moments, her portrayal of Queen Ravenna was very appropriate for this film and genre. Chris Hemsworth gave a solid performance as well. I wasn't too impressed with him as Thor (what can I say, that's Marvel for ya), but he totally worked for the role of the Huntsman, as he did well with the emotional side of the character and had good chemistry with Ms. Stewart. I know that some people had a problem with the fact that Kristen Stewart was cast as Snow White, but in truth, she did a great job. Kristen Stewart's acting ability should not be confused or distorted with the tragic farce that is the Twilight film franchise. Those movies are just bad (especially the most recent one), and it's a perfect example of a film benefitting from star power, but failing to utilize the skills of quality actors, as was/is the case with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. And no, Taylor Lautner is just a bad actor. Don't believe me? Watch the Twilight series, and then watch Abduction.
And finally, Rupert Sanders, director of Snow White and the Huntsman, gets five stars for the direction of this film. This man is a true visionary. The work he did with Grieg Fraser, the cinematographer for this film, coupled with the CGI effects, overall production design and wardrobe design, was extraordinary, creating a unique visual style for the film. With the fantasy elements of the films, you get the sense that you're looking at art, or the stuff dreams are made of. That sounds a little cakey, I know, but there is no exaggeration in what I'm saying. You go away with the satisfaction of having seen a fairy tale come to life. There's enough to make any fairy tale lover happy. And yes, there are dwarves. And what I love most about it is that none of the actors were actually dwarves (Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, etc). Somehow, the filmmakers placed these actors heads on dwarf bodies in such a convincing way, you would think little people were actually cast for the roles. I feel that, if any of these departments were slack in their performance in any way, this film would not have worked. I'm personally predicting Oscar nod for cinematography, art direction, and costume design.
Snow White and the Huntsman is an example of how fairy tales should be done. At least, given my taste in films, it's what I would like to see more of. And one must remember, though this film is based on a fairy tale, there is nothing in this film that warrants any parent to bring their child to see it. But for lovers of fantasy, you're in for an experience.
RATING: 4.0/5.0 Stars