Cast: Snow White (Kristen Stewart), The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), Prince William (Sam Claflin), Finn (Sam Spruell), Beith (Ian McShane), Muir (Bob Hoskins), Gort (Ray Winstone), Nion (Nick Frost), Duir (Eddie Marsan), Coll (Toby Jones), Quert (Johnny Harris).
Director: Rupert Sanders
Theatrical release: 06/01/2012 DVD Date: 09/11/2012
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality. Running Time: 127 minutes.
Note(s): Screenplay by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini from a story by Evan Daugherty.
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Review: Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, the storyline of which is loosely based on the Grimm fairy tale Schneewittchen. The titular huntsman is played by Chris Hemsworth.
Most of us are probably familiar with the source material, but there are some significant variations here. Snow White is the stepdaughter of Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who murdered the young girl's father on their wedding night. Ravenna imprisons Snow White in the castle, where she is all but forgotten. Ravenna possesses a magic mirror, to which she asks the familiar question, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all?" The mirror inevitably answers that Ravenna is, but whenever there is the slightest hesitation in a response, she seeks out a young woman and proceeds to absorb the youthful essence from them, thus restoring her status as the fairest, indeed, of them all.
Years pass, and the mirror advises Ravenna that she can gain immortal youth by consuming the essence of Snow White. Ravenna summons the now teenager to her room, but Snow White escapes into the forest. Ravenna sends a skilled huntsman to the forest to find and return her to the castle. He does find her, but before he bring her back, they are captured themselves by dwarves. The lead dwarf recognizes Snow White as their potential salvation against the tyranny of the Queen, and enlists the help of the huntsman, and later the son of a royal family in exile (Prince William, played by Sam Claflin), to overthrow the Queen.
The screenplay here is fine, and works well within the context of the overall story arc. It does take an incredibly long time to get started, though. The action — and my interest — really doesn't pick up until after Snow White has escaped, some 30 minutes or so into the film. (I might have the time wrong, but if it wasn't quite 30 minutes, it sure felt like it.)
I liked the overall look to the film. I didn't think I'd like the inevitable sidetrips into fantasy, but these scenes are relatively infrequent, well done, and most importantly, don't wear out their welcome. (One might argue the whole film is fantasy, but I tended to think of it as fairly straight-forward action/adventure.)
Of all the performances, Charlize Theron's is the most notable. She's really quite good as the evil Queen Ravenna. I was less taken with Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. He's supposed to be a sullen character, and Hemsworth certainly plays him as such. But I would have liked a little more animation or enthusiasm from him. By far the least memorable character is Kristen Stewart, who seems completely wrong for the part. I suspect she was cast for name recognition alone. She never seems to get into character, as it were, and most of the time seems to be simply reciting her lines.
On balance, I rather liked Snow White and the Huntsman. Some editing could have improved its pacing, but otherwise I didn't expect much of it and consequently enjoyed it for what it was. (Memo to self: Apply the same standard to more of the films you watch …)