"Snow White and the Huntsman" — review!

Posted on June 4, 2012

So, I’d been looking forward to this movie for months. Did it live up to my (largely self-created) hyped-up anticipation? Not quite … but I still liked it.

STUFF I LIKED:

1) Charlize Theron is like a huge flaming meteor of awesome that blazes across the night sky. She was over-the-top villainous when it was called for — but she also had moments of humanity that convinced you some horrible stuff must have happened to turn Ravenna into what she became.

2) Chris Hemsworth = so, so hot. I’m sorry, perfectly attractive guy who plays William, but I am Team Huntsman all the way. He invested his character with more personality than the script did, and to fine effect.

3) Kristin Stewart — would you believe I’ve never seen a “Twilight” movie? Or any of her other flicks? So this was my first exposure to her, at all. She draws a lot of flack for her acting skills, but honestly, I thought she did well. There were unconvincing moments, but IMHO they mostly arose from an underwritten script, not from her. And she got a lot out of scenes like her first-ever dance with one of the dwarves, or that first encounter with the Queen’s creepy brother.

4) The Queen’s Creepy Brother: No, I don’t remember his name, but he was One Creepy Mofo.

5) The visual effects were astonishing. Every single sequence involving the Queen’s magic was imaginative, beautiful and startling. I even loved the Sanctuary … and usually, you know, creative imagination falters more with goodness and beauty than it does with evil and terror, but here, I felt like Sanctuary was as well-thought-out as the queen’s spells. The mossy tortoise is going to stay with me for a while, I think.

6) The scene with the apple is so perfectly done that I have to pull it out for special awards of merit.

7) I may be Team Huntsman, but William was kind of bad-ass with that bow and arrow, wasn’t he? I also liked his trickiness in joining forces with the Queen’s men as a kind of double agent.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE

1) That script was really underwritten, particularly in the middle. I felt like we needed to get more depth in the relationship between Snow White and the Huntsman — if he’s able to awaken her with True Love’s Kiss, then I want to feel more basis for that love than mere admiration. Just another couple of conversations (or perhaps a dance by the fire) would have gone a long, long way.

2) I’d also liked to have seen a few more flashes of wit. This movie doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong; I LIKE that it plays it straight, that this is blessedly not “Mirror, Mirror.” But the characters could occasionally have a bit of fun with each other while still taking the core concepts seriously.

3) This is more of a “hrm” than a “nooo!”, but I would have liked to see the concept that “beauty = goodness” more explicitly contradicted. I mean, it’s there: Ravenna is simultaneously most beautiful and most evil for a very long time. We’re given to understand that it is Snow White’s purity of motive and deed, rather than her physical appearance, that gives her the power she possesses. And Ravenna’s link between beauty and power is not something inherent, but the result of a specific spell cast by her equally screwed-up mother. Still, though, I think the point could have been made more emphatically; there was room to deconstruct the story a little more.

4) Okay, every time we were away from the Queen or Sanctuary, it was like the director and art director on the movie would no longer acknowledge any color but “mud.” COME ON, PEOPLE. It’s hard enough following complicated action scenes when you can tell everyone apart.

So, while this movie may not have cashed the check of TOTAL AWESOME suggested by its promos and that wonderful Florence and the Machine song, it was still a good time.

Next up: “Prometheus”!

Also, you will notice that I am back to my blog! After my long travels came a time of working on proposals, and while that time has not ended, it has at least subsided to the point where I have free time again. Look for more nattering soon.

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