Saturday, June 2, 2012
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN by Pamela Powell
Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Kristen Stewart opened this weekend with much anticipation. We've seen a year of super heroes and fairy tales reincarnated and the trend continued with this dark version of Snow White. I'll be honest, as this is Reel Honest Reviews, I was never into the fairy tales as a kid and I really didn't dress my daughter up in princess outfits too often. And continuing on my path of never being Mother Of the Year, I only took my daughter to Disney World once. One time was more than enough. Fairy tales, a charming prince to rescue you...concepts I didn't learn and didn't teach my daughter. But, hey, this looked like it had promise with a great cast and a darker not so smarmy Disney type theme. Even though I don't believe in a handsome prince saving me from "whatever," I might actually swoon if that handsome prince was Chris Hemsworth. But I digress...
I'm going to start with the positives of this movie. The special effects and make up (I'm not sure that the two can be separated) were spectacular. The aging and un-aging of the Wicked Step Mother, Ravenna, (Theron) was unbelievable, or maybe I should say totally believable! You watched the slow progression of a gorgeous woman transform into an older woman and then into an aged hag and back again. You saw her become ravens who melted who then became Ravenna again seamlessly. It was riveting. The landscape and cinematography was wonderful. Filmed primarily in the UK, the backdrop made you want to take a back to nature vacation. It made me think of Lord Of the Rings it was so lush. I didn't realize that England and Wales could look like that! My other positive is solely a personal one and that is the performance of Chris Hemsworth. I really don't think it was a tough role for him as he had to play the macho yet caring protector of Snow White (you do remember the story, don't you?), but ladies, let's face it, the screen is always better with Chris Hemsworth on it!
The movie followed the main aspects of the traditional Snow White fairy tale, but with some brutal and scary twists. Snow White's father was murdered by the evil step mother, Ravenna, who then locked up her step daughter for years. After Snow White escaped, a huntsman was hired to bring her back so that Ravenna could consume the heart of Snow White and Ravenna could be immortal and young. This had potential, but unfortunately it had no depth. Yes, Charlize Theron can play a damaged and angry person well as she did in Monster, Young Adult, and now in Snow White. But this was just a constant state of mind which got old after a while. I had really hoped that the Dwarves would add some levity and interest to the movie, but alas, Hi Ho Hi Ho Ho Hum! It didn't happen. The camera took WAY too much time in looking at their teeth and their make up and their endless stories that did nothing in my mind, but drone on and on. Yes, the make up was great and how they filmed Ian Mc Shane and others as dwarves still boggles my mind. As you are watching a movie, you should not be so entranced by the make up that that is your focus and not the story.
Snow White and the Huntsman moved too slowly for me and became dull. I was thankful for the special effects and for Chris Hemsworth's time on the screen. The movie, as all movies do, had potential, but to me, it was so focused on how creative it was that it forgot to tell the story. Just tell the story and tell it well. The rest will fall into place. I think that's a version of Robert Redford's mantra for Sundance. I think he's on to something!
This movie is very dark. I would not recommend taking young children to it. Actually, I would not recommend taking anyone to it unless you are in the field of special effects or a make up artist. Wait for the DVD if you really want to see this. Do not waste your money in the theater and for goodness sake, don't pay extra for 3D. Can we stop with the 3D now????