Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman released 6/1/12

The theater was full.  The time was counting down to midnight and the crowd was in good spirits. Jokes and animated conversation were the order of the day with the odd person playing video games on their smart phones sprinkled through the rows.

When the lights dimmed and the previews started there were cheers for the Dark Knight Rises, boos and mocking comments for Twilight, and anticipation for Prometheus. When the opening credits of Snow White and the Huntsman rolled the crowd was relaxed and ready to be entertained.

Personally, I was looking forward to this movie as only an avid fairytale fan can. The trailers and teasers that have been making the rounds since last year painted a picture much closer to the original tales intent than many of than any of the previous offerings without delving into the horror genre. The tale was fast paced and full of great imagery. The costumes were fantastic, especially for Queen Revena (Charlize Theron’s character) and she pulled off a complex and deeply damaged character extremely well. The Queen is evil and spreads like a plague across the world destroying any kingdom in her path, but Ms. Theron captured the young girl who was forced to survive the brutal ravaging of her childhood and was trapped by the protective magic of her mother.  Ms. Theron even managed to give a passionate and empowered last battle scene against Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, despite Ms. Stewart’s serious problems with emoting.

It truly was a shame to see the impassioned performance of Ms. Theron being thrown against the rocks of Kristen Stewart’s halfhearted portrayal of the title character.  Considering the drama of the script and the fantastic ambiance of the location and sets you would think she would be able to muster up more than vaguely staring at everything. Even being locked in a tower for ten years is no excuse to stare at Chris Hemsworth like he’s an alien species that has dropped down and asked her to make him a sandwich.

I am willing to concede that not staring at Chris Hemsworth might be hard, as he is just as handsome in plain leathers and a sporting a Scottish brogue as he is as the mighty Thor. His portrayal of a drunken ex-soldier grieving for his murdered wife was passable and when compared to Ms. Stewarts performance was practically Oscar worthy. And hey- he looked good.

There's just something about a guy hefting an ax...

As for the story what I can say is that it had potential. Some of that was realized, but a lot of it was rushed and forced. There were definitely the bones of a complex and satisfying story in there, but they were picked clean in pursuit of cinema graphic tableaus. Where the plot could have been developed more sweeping visuals were given the priority.  To a true lover of a well-crafted tale this was very like going to a gourmet restaurant, being served a gorgeous plate of food and having to search under the lettuce for a miniscule piece of steak.