Can The Dark Tone Of Snow White and the Huntsman Deliver The Grim Tale It's Promised?
Taking on Disney's classic Snow White film, Rupert Sanders' adaptation centers on the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) who's plan is to conquer every kingdom on the continent. But, before long, Ravenna discovers that her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is destined to surpass her beauty and challenge her claim to the throne.
Snow White escapes the tower she has been locked away in, and sets off through the Dark Forest, causing Ravenna to hire a gritty huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth), to recapture the princess.
And, that's about it. The story is a pretty straightforward affair, but instead causes you to focus on the stunning backdrops, settings and eye-catching action sequences to hold your attention. Acting, on the most part is done well, with Theron excelling as the evil Queen, whilst Hemsworth brings the role of the gritty Huntsman a little charm (even though through-out the film, I expected to him to shout "I am the son of, Odin!"). Kristen Stewart, made famous as her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga, does a good job as Snow White, and it's nice to see her in another mainstream role that's not filled with vampires and werewolves.
However, the characters' motivations seem generally lacking, which is probably a turn of the writing being somewhat contrived. It's only really the Queen who shows any significant ambition, showing Ravenna's backstory is probably one of the only novel contributions. Sure, they're are some references to mystical prophecies, such as the Troll living under the bridge, but there isn't enough of these moments.
The production design is excellent, showing Sanders has an eye for good shot composition, making the muted aesthetic stand out and adding to the darker tone the film is geared at. Some of the CGI elements aren't quite as stunning as others, a few of the woodland creatures and the fairies could've been better, and in turn become distracting and pull you out of the moement, but the Troll, Magpies and the magical White Harp look impressive in their own merits.
Then there are the dwarves. You know, of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves fame. These legendary characters don't actually make their appearance until well over half way through the film.
When they do finally appear, Muir (Bob Hoskins), Beith (Ian McShane), Quert (Johnny Harris), Coll (Toby Jones), Duir (Eddie Marsan), Gort (Ray Winstone), Nion (Nick Frost), and Gus (Brian Gleeson) all do a great job as the ex-gold mining dwarves turned drunk, looting renegade fighters. But the sad edition of them not gaining enough screen time is somewhat bizarre.
Whilst SWATH isn't the all-in-all dark take on the classic tale we hoped for, it's an enjoyable fare. Considering the simple writing, the cast do an excellent job, with stunning effects to keep you focused. It's a shame then, that the film does take a while to get going, with some slow set paces, and somewhat unanswered questions. The film could do with shaving off some of the less important and, sadly, boring scenes, and focus on building the characters a little more.
But, on saying that, all things considered, Sanders' Snow White is possibly the most compelling take we've seen on the story so far.
May 30, 2012 (United Kingdom)
May 31, 2012 (Germany)
June 1, 2012 (United States)