Plot When the king is murdered by his new bride Ravenna (Theron), his daughter Snow White is locked up for seven years. After her escape, the teenage Snow (Stewart) is pursued by Ravenna, who hires a grieving, sozzled Huntsman (Hemsworth) to bring her back. Dwarves, animals, a troll, an apple and a battle follow.
Once upon a time isn’t enough. Once, it would seem, restricts your potential audience far, far too much. Teen girls weaned on Twilight are valuable, but if you only tell Snow’s (Kristen Stewart) story, how will you draw in their boyfriends and brothers? Make sure ‘Prince Charming’ (actually Sam Claflin’s mini-duke William) is handy with a bow, and get Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to trade his hammer for a whopping great chopper. But what about the older female audience? Throw some weight (and a little sympathy) into the story of the wrinkle-dreading Evil Queen (Charlize Theron). And their husbands? Recast the dwarves as pugnacious inebriates you’d more expect to find slumped in Paddy Power than cheerfully toiling down a diamond mine. While eye-catching, and impressively (Middle-)earthy, this latest take on the Grimm fairy tale, closely following Tarsem Singh’s daffy, candy-caned Mirror Mirror, doesn’t so much aim high as aim broad, and it is at the cost of good, old-fashioned storytelling.
Snow White & The Huntsman lacks strength of perspective and suffers an excess of superfluous characters. There’s a clue in the fact that this is the take with eight dwarves. The juggling of too many characters is a blockbuster weakness typically indulged in sequels, but this gets straight to it. Few earn their right to be here, as they did, say, in Avengers Assemble. The dwarves are so underwritten, it’s hard to make a case for even their presence in this version of Grimms’ tale, given Hemsworth’s moody, grimy and needlessly Scottish-accented Huntsman already has their job, with added rugged sexiness, too.
Although that doesn’t mean you won’t wish for more dwarf action. Smart casting compensates, and it is a pleasure to see the likes of Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Toby Jones and Ray Winstone playing Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits playing the ‘seven’ dwarves. Unsurprisingly, they supply the majority of lighter moments. “We’re promised gold and what do we get? Poo!” whines Frost’s big-lugged Nion as the crew wade through a sewer. “Wurgh! That looks like one of mine!” grunts Winstone’s Gort from under his bleached Mr. T hairdo. You get the idea.
Another casting coup is Theron as Ravenna. Like an icy Hitchcock blonde seeking widespread payback for all the indignities once inflicted upon her, Theron makes the Queen a force of coiled, cold fury with an enforced, almost reptilian economy of movement. This is convincing body language for a woman who knows she is long past her best-before date. Even her vocal register feels a little too old, a little too low, a little too slowed. It’s absorbingly creepy, right down to the insinuation that all this ‘Man In The Mirror’ business, with its showy, flowy VFX, is just a fabrication of her own parchment-fragile mind.
It’s a shame we can’t lavish such praise on her pure-hearted nemesis. Not that Kristen Stewart is inherently bad as Snow. Just that she needs to be directed away from all those little tics which five-or-six bouts of Bella have ingrained in her. Stewart won’t stop doing that thing where she looks like she’s just tasted something unpleasant then smiles like it hurts a little bit. It’s as if Snow White spends the whole movie having just taken a bite of that poisoned apple.
It’s perhaps one symptom of the fact that this ambitious picture is carried in on the shoulders of a first-timer, Rupert Sanders. Yet his commercials background revealed a budding visual style which blooms impressively in this vast landscape. Gilliam, Guillermo Del Toro and, especially, that other one-time ad wunderkind, Ridley Scott, are evident inspirations. (Sanders even stages his climactic beach battle just an hour’s drive north of the extremely similar one in Scott’s Robin Hood.)
There are deft touches, though. Snow White’s flight into the hate-blackened Dark Forest stands out, with the fugitive princess inhaling fungal spores and suffering the bad trip of a lifetime. The forest floor becomes a carpet of dead songbirds, shadowy forms lurch from the gloam, a bat-winged demon screeches down from the malformed canopy. Later, in one virtuoso flourish, we see a depleted Ravenna flailing on the ground having just metamorphosed back into human form from that of a flock of crows, her black-feathered mantle and cloak now a glistening oil slick, her avian offcuts flailing desperately like seabirds in an Exxon death-bath.
So, for all its flaws, this remains a promising debut. We would like to see what Sanders can do next. Although, judging by all that dangling sequel bait, it will likely be Snow White & The Huntsman II. Because, clearly, Once Upon A Time is never enough.
Verdict A strong visual style tussles with flaccid storytelling in this ambitious retelling of Grimm. It won’t exactly have Walt Disney spinning in his secret ice chamber, but you may wish they spent more time worrying about what exactly the film is than who it’s for.
Average user rating for Snow White And The Huntsman
Queen Ravenna and the Special Effects
The classic fairy tale reimagined as a grungy Lord of the Rings Lite adventure has some good points. It looks amazing, the CGI work is remarkably seamless, Colleen Atwood’s costumes are truly something to behold and Theron is fantastic as the evil queen. But there are big failings too, such as the dwarfs and Claflin’s Prince William who are all largely superfluous. While Stewart is just wrong as Snow White, her indie sensibilities and apparent boredom with the role creating a black h... More
Not a big snow white fan but went to see this anyway and came away surprisingly happy. It wasn't soppy and all happy ever after and had a good cast, I even liked Kirsten Stewart although agree it wasn't a difficult lead role. The story was never going to be the greatest of all time but stands up well. Worth a watch ... More
Definately the worst film I saw last year. All of the characters are so boring and unlikeable that it's impossible to care about anything that happens. The hero has the most cliched backstory ever written and looks like hes playing the whole thing for laughs. The badguy chick seems to think that shouting every line is what equates for being a villain and snow white just looks bored and emotionless all the time and delivers every line as though she's taking a massive shit. She also looks ridiculo... More
While the clunky fantasy world won't win anybody over the animated classic, there's no denying that this dark, epic tale is immersive and ambitious with it's gorgeous settings, skilled visual effects, and audacious acting. An excellent adult fairytale. ... More
Well where do I start? The visuals of this film are amazing, as stated the scene in the forest where Stewart has a bad trip is spookily great. Theron is superb as the Evil Queen and the ageing effects are top-notch (although nothing tops Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).
And that is where the positives end I'm afraid. Stewart is just so awful, why are people still casting her? The love-triangle (yawns) was pathetic and due to her acting I could not tell what Snow White was feeling. ... More
Snow White and the Huntsman
Going off on a different route with this classic tale, the Brothers Grimm might be spinning in their graves. I use the term 'might be' as perhaps they would of liked this epic offering, myself I can't quite decide.
The plot is completely upside down and inside out, this isn't your Disney story nor is it even close to the Grimm tale, apart from a few legendary sequences of course. Not that this is a big problem though as the story is constructed well and ... More
....as always with these SFX driven filmic behemoths. I admit - the trailer was kickass and so I had to see it. Snow White and the Huntsman turns out to be a well mounted, half hearted fairy tale that doesn't make the most of it's great cast. Lord of the Rings it ain't - and a clunky script means it loses a star. Empire are just about right in this case. THREE STARS ... More
With the intention of going to go see snow white it was a lot lot better! It kept me stuck to the end of my chair the whole way through. Reccomend it to all people. The only let down for me was at the end it all happened too fast but apart from that it was brill. ... More
After getting dragged to see this by the missus who is a huge Twilight fan I thought it was surprisingly entertaining. Visually it was fantastic and I rather liked how the director realised the different uses of magic. The bit where it was suggested the Magic Mirror was all in her head was a quite a nice touch. That said, a lot of stuff was set-up and never got its pay off. Looking back this is obviously intended to be the start of a franchise but even so, I think some characters received short... More
As fairy tales are making a large return to cinema and television, possibly because of the 2006 masterpiece that is Pan's Labyrinth, not only do we have the current aired TV series Once Upon a Time on Channel 5, but we recently had the Julia Roberts-starred Mirror Mirror and now the action-packed Snow White and the Huntsman. As the aforementioned three feature the eponymous princess who differentiate from each of the medias, the latest depiction features Kristen 'Bella Swan' Stewart from fairy-... More
Oh! Who will Bella Snow White choose? Her childhood sweetheart, now played by James Blunt, or McThor, with an accent that could be the most offensive thing to Scotland since Mel Gibson's Braveheart?
Leaving aside (as I must) the story structure of a literal Fairy Tale™, complete with its Happy Ending™, there are a number of internal stumbling blocks that I couldn't ignore.
Ultimately, I can't hate Snow White and the Huntsman. It just wasn't made for me. Oh, and the Dwarfs. I should probably... More
My wife wanted to see it. We saw "John Carter" because I was curious and neither of us really liked that movie. It was my turn. I had wriggled my way out of seeing the other Snow White movie but now I was going to have to bite the bullet. I was pleasantly surprised. The story and special effects, which are very good, are really all just one level of this movie. It's really about different aspects of feminine beauty.
The Evil Queen (played perfectly by Charlize Theron) is very appr... More
Disappointed but still enjoyed parts of it. Was expecting a cross between game of thrones and lotr, but got neither tbh. Some scenes were beautiful especially sanctuary, and beach with castle in the background, i actually thought kirsten stewart speech was one of the best motivational ones ive seen in a movie, although she was quite wooden in other parts. I enjoyed the the dwarves aswell and theron really played her part well. The bridge troll had the potential to be awesome but concluded ridic... More
I wasnt really interested in this but the trailer and Chris Hemsworth convinced me to give it a go..
This film is a disappointment. It aims for something approaching the fantasy and grandure of Narnia or Lord of the Rings but ends up being more like Willow with a bit of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves thrown in.
For a two hour film it feels much longer due to uneven pacing and a middle act that really drags, the characters visiting locations and meeting other characters that add very li... More
I have to admit that after the trailers I expected SWATH to be a better movie than it actually turned out to be but I really don't understand why everyone's so harsh about it. The three stars are justifiable as the CGI looks great, the dwarfs are the best ones ever and the actors (plus their accents) are totally acceptable. It had its great moments, some nice laughs and passed the time in a really enjoyable way! ... More
A story you've probably read or heard countless times and no doubt watched several films on. This is a reasonable version with impressive visuals and a distinctly Scottish feel about the landscapes. One of the best bits is the enchanted forest which feels like a jolly trip on acid countering the somewhat gloomy air of the film's other landscapes. For a two hour film though the character development is shocking. The dwarves are given the most short schrift and even the main characters feel underd... More
I understand Kirsten stewart is comings from a wealthy producers family -and having seen her in many movies I understand this is the only reason she is been cast in movies- But can't hollywood hide this fact a bit? She can't act. Why do they cast her in leading roles? Besides the fact that this was only an okay movie from a good idea, Kirsten spoke American while the rest of the cast spoke English. Couldn't they bother to "teach" her english? Like empire wrote. I couldn't feel anything... More
I almost never post reviews as they too often descend into bickering, and at the end of the day if you have already seen this movie and enjoyed it, who am I to tell you otherwise? If on the other hand you haven't seen it, for some reason I feel quite strongly that I would like to tell you NOT TO!!!
This is visually arresting, there is no doubt about that. I would not however go as far as to say it is either groundbreaking or particularly original. The battle scenes are barely adequate in the ... More
After the elaborate pantomime that was Mirror Mirror, the story of Snow White seems to be going more in the Thronessword-battling direction here - and all the better for it. The well-known story is still very much here, all being with a grimier, sweatier exterior. And despite achieving OTT moments in the shouting department, Theron does very well in the villainous role of the queen & for the second time this year, successfully portrays a character with few sympathetic tendencies in reasonably ... More
Sorry, this is hopeless and Empire is a disgrace for scoring this equally with Prometheus. Are you having a laugh!?! No characterization (the dwarfs, the lost friend), no chemistry between the lead characters (so did they fall in love or not other than one pseudo necrophilic moment there was nothing between them), the cringeworthy speech...... I'll stop, i just wish that awful film would have stopped too. ... More
Extremely disapointed by this expecting an epic fantasy movie but was given some expensively charmless, unimaginitive predictable waste of time. To be positive the Queen is the best thing here but what does that matter when the rest is such dross. Stewart is rushed along with such pace we are not allowed to even understand or invest in her character at all...her performance doesn't help either. Whilst Hemsworth, think Thor without the charisma, or anything else likeable. As for the visuals, yes ... More