Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini. Directed by Rupert Sanders.
There are two very important things to keep in mind when viewing Snow White and the Huntsman. First of all – and everyone knows that you're very well-versed in classic literature, so please don't be offended, my brilliant readership – you would have to be a corn-fed mule to not realize, based on the previews alone, that this film is a far cry from the sugar-coated Disney animated adaptation. It's dark, it's eerie, but it's also a fantastic tale – and the Brothers Grimm would be proud, to a certain degree.
Secondly, the brilliance in this particular adaptation of Snow White is in its moderation. Please realize that it is literally impossible to make this movie without some level of cheesiness. Don't get me wrong; there aren't the corny one-liners that every other serious movie of this vein tosses in there. It's just that the story is – bottom line – consistently well-delivered. It's just that, well, there are dwarves. And a medieval love story. Snow White (Stewart) is beloved by all of nature. There's a poisoned apple. And the Evil Queen (Theron) is...well, evil. All the typical, expected stuff is in there – but the film wouldn't quite work without it. And to be honest, it's just enough, stopping just short of being completely ludicrous yet again. And to top it off, Stewart actually pulls off Snow White with an admirable level of grace. (And let's face it, she must have been chosen as "the fairest of them all" simply because she is, without peer, the most "fair" and pale actress in Hollywood – typecasting at its finest.)
Casting is yet another point that must be touched on – this ensemble consistently turns in solid scene after solid scene. It should be mentioned that Theron does a fine job in her particular role. Is she mind-blowingly convincing as the queen? Well, perhaps. But unfortunately, while her performance is applaudable, it almost wears on you by the end of the film. Again, moderation at its finest – stopping just short of being over-the-top. Not Theron, mind you – the role itself. There's no way to deliver this particular character without being just a little too much by the time it's all said and done. (C'mon, it's an evil queen – there aren't too many ways you can go with that.) But that said, she still gets a nod for a job well done. The only thing that might have been a good idea would be to change Chris Hemsworth out of his Thor costume for the role of the Huntsman. Literally – it's the same haircut, facial hair and pretty damned close to the same battle armor.
For all the accuracy that the Huntsman is able to achieve in comparison to the Grimm version of the tale, however, you can't help but notice that – at times – it regresses into a Lord of the Rings film. The dwarves? They're a hybrid between hobbits and Tolkien's version of dwarves – but it works in this context. (Something tells me that Grumpy and Happy wouldn't quite cut it in this film.) Trolls? Yeah, they're in there also. A dark army? Got that too. It all works; it just probably could have been cut down to under two hours simply by pulling a couple of unnecessary moments out of the film.
I won't bother providing a plot synopsis of the film because, well, if you don't know the story of Snow White, you really have no business seeing the film in the first place. Or reading this review. Or using the Internet. Or operating a motor vehicle. You should just stay firmly lodged under your rock.