Fairy tales, we all grew up on them and then quickly replaced them with late-stage capitalism dreams and nightmares. They’re an artifact from the past designed not only to entertain children but also to teach them something. This is why they had all these nasty and quite frankly fucked up elements. And some of the twists are just plain old morbid. Like our prince seeing a corpse and deciding to fiddle with it. I mean, if he isn’t a necrophiliac, I don’t know who is. All of this leads us to the movie we’re going to be talking about today.
Snow White and the Huntsman is a dark fairy tale offering stunning visuals, a dreamy atmosphere, and wobbly performances. However, that dreamy atmosphere can quickly turn into nightmarish, especially for our younger viewers. And right off the bat, we have to talk about Kristen Stewart. I know she’s young and still learning the ropes but her performance here was quite bad. I feel like she’s incapable of playing anyone other than a confused and frightened teenager. However, all of this could be stemming from my attitude towards anyone involved in Twilight. I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Luckily, the rest of the cast, excluding Sam Claflin who plays William, son of Duke Hammond, was excellent. We’ve got Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth giving expectedly good performances with Ian McShane of his Deadwood fame stealing the show. First-time director Rupert Sanders made quite a bold decision not to use actual little people but tall actors who were later CGI-d the fuck out. Although this decision was quite controversial it turned out to be the right one. Mostly because the actors were some of the British best led by Ray Winstone and Bob Hoskins.
Their wrinkled faces and experienced acting added to the gloomy mood of the movie, while the magnificent sets and stunning CGI completed it. The movie looks and feels very good, and it is one of the rare conversions that took the story in a different direction and got away with it. The thing that surprised me the most was the scale of things. I mean, we open with a battle involving hundreds of soldiers that looks like it’s straight out of Lord of the Rings. There are huge castles, vast forests, and bustling villages full of people going about their lives. Exactly because of these memorable and quite compelling scenes the movie runs into a pacing issue.
The storytelling keeps going back and forth between these big and small events without proper transitions. Still, that’s just a minor complaint in an otherwise excellent fantasy movie. I mean, with a budget of over $170 million it simply had to be. Once you start watching the movie, you’ll see where all that money went. Sanders wanted everything to be actually built and used CGI only when he had to. For example, the castle in the dark forest took almost six months to be built. And the same goes for those giant trebuchets that weighed over six tonnes.
On top of all of this, we have all the scary, cute, and weird creatures. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Snow White and The Huntsman, check out The Brothers Grimm and Red Riding Hood. If, however, you’re interested in a more straightforward fairy tale adaptation Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins also came out this year. And if it is medieval carnage led by a fearless female warrior you want, look no further than Luc Besson’s (pervert) The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost
Fun Facts: At this time I must complain again that without Kristen this would be a classic, I mean just look at the list of considered actresses for her role: Dakota Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Riley Keough, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote, Emily Browning, Lily Collins and Felicity Jones.