In previous years, there have been summers where it was volcano movie vs. volcano movie, “Armageddon” taking on “Deep Impact”, and even two cartoon ant movies in one year. Now it's 2012, and we have two movies based around the character of Snow White. Those two movies are “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman”… and I already know which one is my clear favorite.
This updated telling of a Grimm tale takes the fairest princess in the land and puts her in a world that must not be that far off from Middle Earth, where everything seems grounded in a reality and magic exists, but isn't overdone. The kingdom starts out in the prologue as a wonderful place for a young Snow White to play in and be friends with a young royal named William, but as in all fairy tales, a dark shadow falls upon the land. Snow White's mother passes away and her father is left grief-stricken until war comes upon his land. He and his army take on a strange set of knights who, when enough force is struck on them they, burst into shards of black glass. He defeats the army of glass soldiers and finds a carriage with a prisoner inside, a woman by the name of Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Her beauty wins over the king, unfreezes his heart, and he marries her. This ends up being a large mistake because Ravenna has the agenda of gaining power and stealing the beauty of young girls. She becomes the Queen, locks up Snow White (in the tallest tower, of course), and she puts the land into an age of darkness. At some point, Snow White escapes into the dark forest and the Queen hires a drunken Huntsman to track her down.
(Adult Snow White and the Huntsman Costume)
(also available in Tween sizes)
Does he find her? Does he fall in love? Do the dwarves have adjective names?
Well, the since two of those questions would be classified as "spoilers" I will answer the last one, there is no one in this movie named Grumpy, Happy or Sneezey. Going into the movie, I was a little nervous considering there hasn't been a well-done fantasy movie since “Lord of the Rings”. There have been a few tries here and there, but they have been either far too silly or just didn't pack enough punch. “Snow White and the Huntsman” delivered a movie that treats its world with severity and populates with characters that fit in that world—the best by far being Charlize Theron as the Queen. She pulls off something that most people would have a hard time doing, being over the top but completely believable doing it. It does help that she is playing an evil Queen who uses magic so when she screams and becomes unhinged you feel her intensity instead of laughing. As for the main title leads, they give performances that serve the movie well.
(Deluxe Queen Ravenna Skull Dress)
Kristen Stewart plays Snow White in a quiet way, as someone who is just seeing the world with new eyes (it helps that her character was locked away for most of her life), and you believe that through her journey she learns what she needs to lead people to battle.
(Tween Princess Warrior Costume)
As for Thor… I mean Chris Hemsworth… he does a fantastic job at being the rough and tough wild man who has a heart of gold. My only worry with this and his “Avengers” character was that he may get typecast, which would unfortunate since he has considerable range (i.e. “Cabin in the Woods”). Finally, there are the dwarves. I worried that they would be too slapstick and bring down the movie, but that apprehension was soon dismissed. Casting Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, and Bob Hoskins as the dwarves was a stroke of genius. Each of them gets their funny moment, but also there is a hint of sadness when they talk about the past.
Finally, the visuals. These were just stunning. As I said before, this film looked like a place that Frodo and company would feel at home in due to the acute attention to detail. The special effects were all presented in a way that the fantasy doesn't take you out of the film. There are some things that happen in the film that allows your mind to play tricks on you. For example, the dark woods are more sinister than your average fairy tale and the Queen's magic will blow you away. At all times, you feel like you are grounded in a world that is real. With as much as I loved the look and feel of this film, I was shocked that the director, Rupert Sanders, had only done a few commercials before this. He is a name I am going to keep my eye on.
People who like “Lord of the Rings”, “Willow” and “Legend” will have a wonderful time at "Snow White and the Huntsman". The casual moviegoer should have fun watching a fairy tale that is not sugared up for younger viewers. See this for the awesome visuals and performances. No matter what, this is something that all future fairy tale movies should aspire to (i.e. “Maleficent”).
Click here to watch the Snow White and the Huntsman Official Trailer and click here to view our Snow White Resource Guide.
This article was written by Tom Lokhorst, who is a serious film critic who has had a long-lasting obsession with Charlize Theron ever since her role in "That Thing You Do!".