[Review] Snow White and the Huntsman

Every now and again, a film comes along where you wish that you could be transported into that world. For some, it’ll be highly stylised like Sin City while for others it’ll be more along the lines of an all-singing, all-dancing Moulin Rouge! where people simply burst into song. For me, it’s normally anything with a fantasy element to it, something like The Lord of the Rings or Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. After seeing Snow White and the Huntsman I have now found another one that I would quite happily be transported into.

In his directorial debut Rupert Sanders firmly treads the epic adventure, fantasy route, packing in plenty of action to a world that is both beautiful and terrifying. Populate it with a cast featuring an Oscar winner and two of Hollywood’s brightest young stars plus the promise that it will return to the darker roots of the Grimm fairytale and you have the makings of a captivating film.

It my opinion, it didn’t disappoint. Well, in some areas it did but on the whole it didn’t. Saying that, though, this is entirely my kind-of film: anything with a healthy dose of fantasy and adventure floats my boat. Though the accents do falter at points, Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth put in solid performances, particularly the former. Stewart is slowly but surely stepping out from Twilight‘s shadow while Hemsworth proved that he is just as handy with an axe as he is with a hammer. Theron, on the other hand, brought added depth and complexity that elevated her villainess Ravenna from the role of wicked stepmother.

Visually, from costume design to the locations and everything in between, Snow White and the Huntsman delivers. There is a suitably strong contrast between the dark, brooding atmosphere of Ravenna’s dilapidated castle and the joyful, colourful sanctuary that Snow White finds after her escape. A special mention must go to the supremely talented and the three-time Oscar-winning Colleen Atwood for her superb costume design. One of Ravenna’s dresses was reportedly crafted from the shells of dung beetles purchased from a flea market in Thailand!

Snow White and the Huntsman is, unfortunately, let down by its plot, which is the reason why it doesn’t scoop the full five stars. When it finished I felt like I’d been sitting in my seat for hours – not something that you or the studio bosses want to pop into your head. It is a beautiful world that Sanders has created but some trimming and tightening on the script would certainly have helped. For one, I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to Snow White. Ravenna is graced with a backstory that explains why she’s how she is. Snow White, on the other hand, is simply the daughter of a popular king who, for reasons unknown, has an affinity with nature. Why this is could have been embellished on, in my opinion.

While not in the same league as say Tim Burton, Snow White and the Huntsman does add enjoyably add a dark, gritty feel to the beloved fairytale. It attempts to be epic and, in many ways, succeeds and is a worthy addition to the fantasy genre.


13 thoughts on “[Review] Snow White and the Huntsman

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  1. Glad you enjoyed this more than I did. Stewart’s acting or lack thereof is quite irritating, but the visuals and Ravenna’s amazing costume design are excellent indeed. So there are parts of the movie that are enjoyable but overall it was dragged down by the poor casting choice of the lead role.

    1. The costume design was brilliant. I’d love to have a peek at Colleen Atwood’s studio!

      With the strength of Theron and Hemsworth’s rising popularity perhaps they could have cast an unknown as Snow White.

  2. Good to hear this one really is a visual feast — it certainly looks like it. I’m in need of some eye candy, but I’m still going back and forth over whether or not to wait for it to hit the nearest Redbox, lol. Excellent write-up!

    1. Thanks, Nikki. It reminds me of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in that it looks gorgeous: the scenery, the costumes, the CGI. Because of this I think it would look a lot better on the big screen than at home. There’s so much to look at!

  3. Good review. I liked this one for its dark, gloomy style and the performance from Theron as Queen Ravenna, but everything else sort of just felt lackluster, like the story. Could have been so much more epic but it just didn’t feature anything exciting about it at all.

    1. In many ways it as an epic, but in the fantasy genre there is this overwhelming presence of LOTR, so achieving epic status will always be difficult.

      In many respects there was too much going on. Too many characters, too many nods to other fairy stories. As I said, I would have enjoyed it more if Snow White had been given more of a backstory. Every one else had so why not her?

    1. That’s a shame. It’s completely my kinda film so I’m glad it didn’t let me down.

      Worst of the year for me is definitely Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows…

  4. Not unsurprisingly it appears to be big over here in Japan – ads everywhere in Tokyo and Osaka but wonder how well it has been dubbed? Should go down well with the “cosplay” enthusiasts 🙂

  5. Haven’t seen this yet Claire but I might check it out. Nice to read a review that doesn’t chastise Kristen Stewart for lacking any discernible acting talent.

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