Posted on June 17, 2012 AT 01:30pm
Mirror, mirror on the wall, is this movie worth watching at all?
Snow White and the Huntsman is an attempt at telling the fairy tale with the original Grimm morbidity. It aims to have a lot of death, some curses, and a bite or two of an apple (or heart.) That’s its attempt, mind you.
Snow White, who is portrayed by Kristen Stewart, has been locked in a tower by her evil stepmother (and witch,) Ravenna, more commonly known as Charlize Theron. Snow White manages to escape into what is known as the Dark Forest, which is nigh impossible to survive, let alone navigate. So the witch hires the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down, as he’s had experience with the forest. The witch needs Snow White so she can gobble up her heart and become immortal and presumably have the most bland looking kingdom for eternity. It’s all rather complicated.
If there’s one thing the movie does right, it is the special effects. The mirror, for one, has this awesome metallic form that melts from a circular bronze dish. There are also trolls and dragons and fairies – standard fantasy creatures – that look amazing and would fit in any other fantasy setting. The environments are also pretty well done, specifically the oasis where all the fairies like to chill. The best of all, though, are the soldiers who appear to be made of glass or coal or something. They shatter when hit and reform from the tiniest fragments. The downside to all of these really great effects is that, when they pool all of their screen time together, it might be ten minutes. Maybe.
If there’s on thing the movie does wrong, it’s the atrocious acting. And from people you’d not expect… which is basically Theron. Kristen Stewart does a formidable job at remaining emotionless through yet another film (and I’ll be honest, I actually like her in a few movies.) It’s hard to have a protagonist to root for when she has the personality of the bricks that trapped her for her entire childhood. The Huntsman is likable, if only because he comes off as a drunk Thor. He also brandishes a pretty big axe for most of the film, and is one of only two sources of action. The dwarves were well done, and interestingly made. They were not just hired little people, but well known actors with heads digitally added onto tiny bodies. This provided well known actors like Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins and Nick Frost to fill in roles as the dwarves, though their presence almost completely usurped everyone elses’.
Theron was a monster unto herself, however. Where the star of the movie should have been was a shrieking lunatic fueled by camp. At first it’s, yeah, she’s playing off being a mad, power hungry witch pretty well. But by the end of the movie, I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was treating the role as a total joke. She unnecessarily screamed so much that I feared, for a moment, we might witness the first Super Saiyan transformation in history. This developed into probably what I would consider the saving grace of the movie: it became funny. Very funny. The kind of hilarity that you can joke about with your friends for a good while. Recalling poorly delivered lines or obscenely bad writhing on the floor (that one’s kind of specific…but you’ll know what I mean if you catch the film,) proves to be a good time. It becomes a goofy movie that will have you giggling for the majority of it. Whether this helps or hurts the film, I am not certain.
I wanted action, a macabre plot and some gruesome details. What I got was a little bit of all of that, with unintended hilarity and surprisingly poor acting. Do I regret going to see it? Not really. It kept me entertained for the entire time, but as I said, for reasons not intended by the director.
- THE GOOD: Effects! Specifically the mirror and “glass” soldiers.
- THE BAD: Plot doesn’t take advantage of grittiness from original fairy tale.
- THE UGLY: Pretty terrible acting.
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