I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman still unsure of what to expect. The trailers had failed to win me over, though Charlize Theron looked to be giving the best performance and I’m generally a big fan of alternate “histories” for fairy tales. However, the military element looked too heavy for what I’d want from this film and the casting of Kristen Stewart in the title role left me a little cold.
I decided to give it a go after hearing positive feedback from both critics are friends. So here are my thoughts, both pro and con.
The costuming was generally well done. I liked how they managed to maintain the impression of Disney’s Snow White, just a darker, grittier version. More effective, however, was Ravenna’s costuming. Most of her outfits appeared to be made from or resemble dead things – the bone effect on her wedding dress, the raven dress – a seemingly ‘done’ idea but utilized to great effect in the film.
The visual design of the film continues to be a strong point in the portrayal of the Dark Forest. The forest is given life through its drug like pollen; causing hallucinations which make the trees appear to move and the forest appear more deadly.
The most blatant con is inevitably Kristen Stewart’s performance. To be fair, there are moments when I believed in her character and got caught up in the environment in the film. However, this was then ruined when Stewart began to talk. Her attempt at an English accent did become bearable but it did not disguise the ball of awkward Stewart continues to embody.
The oddest part of the film is how familiar it felt. Not because I’m familiar with the story of Snow White but the actual filming or the details in the film I’ve seen in different films in previous years: from the horse chase scene which bore a strange similarity to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and the Spirit of the Forest creature that bore a resemblance to Princess Mononoke (this is passable since it’s also legend/fairy tale but still jarred) and then there were smaller details like the way the life was sucked out of Ravenna’s victims. I spent the majority of the film trying to remember what that reminded me of, and then I realised: Hocus Pocus.
For the most part, these details were executed well but it’s hard to connect to a film when you’re so distracted by its influences.
I have to state that Snow White isn’t a bad film. It’s very pretty and has good ideas. It just didn’t hold up the standard other reviews seem to suggest. If you can see past Kristen Stewart, and go in without the weight of good reviews, I think it could be enjoyable. Unfortunately, I’ll be sticking to the Disney version.