02 October 2012

Film: Snow White & The Huntsman

Thoughts: Snow White & The Huntsman seems to suffer from a serious identity crisis. On one hand, it's a blockbuster that expends too much energy trying to be an arthouse flick. And on the other hand, it's a quiet arthouse effort that dumbs itself up with sound, fury, and all the prerequisites demanded by bigger summer fare. Unfortunately though, these aren't the only problems plaguing the enterprise, with a lackluster script, convoluted story and acting that ranges from cup-and-string to batshit fucking insane dropping the score. It does have some saving graces peppered throughout though.

The story concerns the usual Snow White tale, but with enough weight added to pad a 130min runtime. Something like Snow White's dad is a king, but his wife dies so he's all sad, and fights a war with some ghost... things, and marries the evil chick who's pretending she's a hostage, who then kills the dad and captures Snow White and all the lands, but then a few years later Snow White escapes, and gets chased by the huntsman, but he saves her instead, and they meet some dwarves, and some fairies, and then start a war, but only after Snow White dies and is reborn and oh what do I care. It's all ridiculous and covered in holes anyway.

Well, my biggest problem comes in star Kristin Stewart. Seriously, what a poor choice to play Snow White. Look, the tale is based entirely on the fact that the evil queen is jealous of Snow White and her beauty, hence the evil results. So we cast Charlize Theron as the evil queen, good choice, fair enough. Now lets cast... Kristin Stewart as Snow White?! What the hell is going on here? Oh, you need proof? Fine! Here:

Charlize Theron    >    Kristin Stewart

Ridiculous! I even tried to find a picture that made Miss Stewart look presentable but hey, fuck me right? Even with the looks issue put aside, her performance is somewhere between irritatingly boring to non-existent. On the flip-side, Theron eats the scenery like it was made of chocolate, or dare I say, HAM. She yells and screams and goggles and everything. It all adds up to one very jarring experience indeed.

My opinion? The absolutely stunning Emily Browning would have made a magnificent Snow White. She has looks on par with Theron, she has the slight build and fair skin that suit, and she proved in Sucker Punch that she can hold her own when it comes down to the throw down.

...yuuuuuup. No contest.

The rest of the cast fare better, with Hemsworth looking and sounding the part, not that that's saying much. There really isn't that much to the whole endeavour, despite the runtime. The dwarves are fun, and played by a veritable who's who of British talent. They're a much needed breath of fresh air in a flick that is dangerously stale and unstable, even before the halfway mark.

The film perambulates between arthouse and blockbuster with an irritatingly high frequency. There are constant blocks of silence meshed with a mixture of handheld and skewed visions, and lens flare reveals itself on multiple occasions. The action is confusing and ill-handled, and when it all stops you sometimes wonder if the film is trying to tell you something in the silence.

It's not. It's all for show.

And the script. Ugh, the script. Or lack thereof. Exposition is prevalent right from the word go, and characters exist solely to state their intentions with no room for true growth. And our fun-loving heroine even delivers what I believe to be the most nonsensical, confusing and poorly-delivered "rousing speeches" I have ever seen. Seriously, does anyone understand what she said? "Iron will melt, but it will writhe inside of itself!"


OK, Ok, despite all this, I did say there were some draws. The visuals, for one. There are some seriously cool and well-conceived visual moments in the film, like when the evil queen crawls from the black tar of her dark designs, or her shift into ravens just before. Or when Snow White hits some magic mushrooms and takes a wicked cool trip in the dark forest, in what I believe was the film's best sequence. And the set designs and outfits were something else entirely, really quite stunning. But are these REALLY enough to subject yourself to the film? I say, no.

So take all this with a grain of salt, like I do with everything. But know this: your brain will not be tested, and your hunger for adventure, romance or action will not be sated. You have been warned.


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