Snow White and the Huntsman

I love a fairy tale. Fairy tales are the new zombies, I guess, with “Grimm” and “Once Upon A Time” and Mirror, Mirror and now Snow White and the Huntsman, the previously untold story of the man sent by the evil queen to cut out Snow White’s heart.

Well, sorta.

But before we get into that, we have to address The Elephant in the Room. The anemic, wan, extremely skinny elephant that is Kristen Stewart. What’s up with this chick? Why are people hiring her to do all these big budget extravaganzas? I mean, sure, she was great as the boy in Panic Room (stole that from Red Eye’s Bill Shulz) and she was appropriately cast in Adventureland, but it does seem like the young lass is playing the same character over and over again.

Is it because she’s very girl next door? (If the girl next door is a brooding goth chick?)

I thought she was a pretty good actress—and maybe she is, but she seems to be doing the same thing over and over and over again. Brood. Sulk. Pout. (And, you know, at some angles, she’s very off-putting to look at, even.)

I can’t say she was bad in this but I can say I don’t get it. Though the movie twists the “fairest of them all” idea into a literal use of magic, Stewart in no wise is a threat to the 15-years-older Charlize Theron, who (appropriately) chews the scenery as the wicked witch-cum-stepmother whose evil plans are far more overt than a poison apple.

Even so, her character seems somewhat muted and generic, as does everyone’s in this movie. The hot—explicably hot, in my opinion—Chris Hemsworth (Thor) plays the hunstman, a drunken broken-hearted fellow who becomes Snow White’s reluctant (of course) protector after Prince Charming (well, he’s called William here) is separated from her during the Queen’s insurrection.

Muted is probably the best way to describe the entire proceedings. I felt like, when watching this, everyone was acutely conscious of the potential for campiness and steered away so hard from it that the whole thing seems kind of matter-of-fact. Banal. Drab, even.

It’s a little “Game of Throne”-y, in the sense that it substitutes a more “realistic” tale of conquest for fairy tale treachery, but it can’t really create GOT’s atmosphere of enlightened disbelief (which is what makes the occasions of magic or monster sort of shocking) and the sudden appearance of (e.g.) a troll is less thrilling than the appearance of Rodents Of Unusual Size in The Princess Bride.

Also, there are dwarves. ‘cause, sure, why not. And while we’re at it, let’s put the very best (or at least most interesting) actors on tiny bodies, like Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Brian Gleeson, Nick Frost and Bob Hoskins. (Eddie Marsan and Johnny Harris round out the seven, in case you’re counting.)

There are some faeries, too, though they don’t amount to anything. And just as the regular (and even plus) sized actors were put on tiny bodies, the roles could’ve been played just as well by regular sized people.

They pissed off some little people doing that. These guys were probably the most interesting part of the movie, but I’d have liked to see Warwick Davis, Ed Gale and Jordan Prentice (who did end up in Mirror, Mirror) and all those other hard-working guys. Hell, they could’ve gotten Tony Cox and had a persistent black character in the movie.

In one of the movies weirdest parts, they have a black guy who’s a badass who is dispatched so quickly you almost laugh.

Yeah, tonally it’s a bit weird. It’s not just derivative of the Snow White story, as you’d expect, it’s derivative of a lot of things. Legend, Lord of the Rings, of course, and two scenes are just directly lifted from Hayao Miyazake’s Princess Mononoke, and they don’t serve any purpose here. Well, I guess they show how gosh-darn special Snow White is.

Also in that category is a throwaway battle shot where she dispatches a fully armored solder with a casual side-swipe with her little knife. Gratuitous, and suggestive to me that the filmmakers had that same sinking feeling that their main character didn’t seem to actually demonstrate any of her inborn specialness.

The whole “chosen one” thing is dubious to begin with, and it’s pretty damn tired at this point but it does at least tie into the plot and climax of the film. It makes a kind of sense. I give the movie some props for that. There’s a lot of fluff and filler and by-the-numbers fantasy crap but it does hang together.

On top of all that, they ran the whole thing through the color processor to turn the whole thing gray and dull brown.

The Boy gave it a “meh” but The Flower liked it, because she felt it hewed pretty closely to the spirit of the original. She preferred Kristen Stewart to Lily Collins of Mirror, Mirror (at least in looks). She didn’t care for the evil queen being blonde instead of having long, evil-looking black hair.

I didn’t hate it. It just seemed mired in a mediocrity. Maybe the inevitable sequel will be better.

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