Friday, 1 June 2012


Snow White and the Huntsman [Review]

Opinion: C+

Despite scoring high in fantasy imagination and art direction, what prevents the film from scaling heights as a contemporary take on the classic fairytale is the lack of credible story depth. Banking upon lengthened scenes of visual self-indulgence, the end results summarises Rupert Sanders' film as an empty promising eye-candy that serves no more than a showcase of otherwise great visual art design. Charlise Theron gave a good performance that interestingly overwhelmed the significance of the film's female lead heroine.

In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar(r) winner Charlize Theron) out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White's beauty and power. The breathtaking new vision of the legendary tale is from Joe Roth, the producer of Alice in Wonderland, producer Sam Mercer (The Sixth Sense) and acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist Rupert Sanders.

Perhaps attempting to play faithfully to where his credential reigns, Director Rupert Sanders ventured upon a cinematic experiment where he infuses music video art direction into the film. This undoubtedly enables the classic tale to be rejuvenated with a high degree of contemporary update (which, by the way, is already predominant in the music video industry) to impress those with an eye for fresh change. But at the end of the day, what makes favourite fairytale so memorable for us is the story (though classically "old-school") and not what Snow White wore.

This film, is trying to make us notice the tale with our eyes only.

Let's start with the advantages. Black Forest - the nightmare of every living man, and the Sanctuary where the fairies dwell. These two scenes made a great impression with its art directed imagination of what these two set locations could and should look like. With one-eyed mushrooms and a ferocious troll, great fantasy is made a certainty in this film.

And no doubt they are some of the most enjoyable scenes in this film.

However, with the above established, it seems that Sanders prefers to allow his characters to indulge themselves in the beautiful realm that his team has created and leave us to be visually mesmerised. The way music videos produce their deliverables. Imagine if some of the draggy scenes, where characters take up excessive running time, could be scripted instead to further develop the back story of say - Ravenna (played by the remarkable Charlize Theron). There was a brief flashback sequence of Ravenna referencing to her source of dark powers, I personally thought that should be developed further. I'm very keen in that possibility, especially since Theron rendered such a wonderful impression with her menace and tyranny.

Instead, we get more of the characters navigating time through the various well-constructed sceneries until the reel shouts to the team that it's running out. This is when the team decides to breath an abrupt inspiration of life and vigour (that feels like it came from nowhere) into the "Twilight"-ish (woody) Snow White (Kristen Stewart) where she tries to inspire her people to stage a final assault and ride against Ravenna. The dialogue written by Evan Daugherty and his screenwriters for her inspirational verbal battle cry is nevertheless well-written, with the likes of inspirational analagy of using the fire within her people's heart to forge Snow White into their weapon against Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman scores tremendously in the art direction and visual effects, but unfortunately isn't capable of delluding my eye that is yearning for substantial story depth to impress my senses instead.


  1. Mhm. I see. Yeah, from the trailer, the visuals looks pretty good. :) Is it better than Alice in Wonderland?

  2. Good review. The style is a lot darker and grittier than we usually get from these fairy tale stories, but that's not so bad and makes the story more imaginative, even if it runs out of steam by the last act. Theron was a perfect choice as Queen Ravenna and does everything perfect. Or at least that's what I was thinking.

  3. I'm seeing this movie this afternoon. Shame the story isn't more, but I'll just go and enjoy the visuals.

  4. @JEMSEN I can't exactly compare objectively but I think both had different style of visual design. You ought to give this film a try though, it's pretty imaginative!

  5. @Dan Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views on this film. Much agreed with your opinion on how the style made the story more imaginative. It could well just be me expecting more from this.

    And yes, Theron was great, and you're definitely not alone on this. Exact sentiments as well.

    Once again, thanks for dropping by and sharing! :)

  6. @Alex I'm sure you'll enjoy the visuals, and can't wait to hear your thoughts on it after catching it.

    Objectively, I think this film should be merited for its visuals.


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