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Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Published: Friday, June 1, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 15:06

Snow White and the Huntsman

Universal

Snow White and the Huntsman

Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

Directed by Rupert Sanders

Opens Friday

Rated PG-13

Grade: C

 

Fairy tales are malleable little things. They’re, arguably, the figurative playground that gets our young imaginations all sweaty and ready for the real world. Unfortunately for Generation Y, Disney gave you a little powdered sugar with your fairy tale princesses and that’s gonna lead to some friction in the viewing of “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Undoubtedly, you already know the Grimm brothers’ “Schneewittchen” has darker themes at play. Just as Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” didn’t really have a “happy” ending.

First-time director Rupert Sanders makes it clear in the opening scene that his take on the fairest of them all ain’t Disney-fied. Anywhere Disney would have put a song, Sanders plops a fight scene. Snow White (Kristen Stewart) still talks to birds, kind of. The dwarves are sweet fellas who try earnestly to brighten up the movie. Oh, and the whole apple shenanigans are honored.

Overall, “Snow White and the Huntsman” ends up bouncing between what I remember as a tot plunked in front of the maternal, singing Disney princess, the original Grimm story and an ambivalently feminist Snow White who oscillates between a fierce Joan of Arc and a whimpering damsel in distress.

Writer Evan Daugherty took a few liberties in plot (which we’re cool with, by the way), but, no matter how amazing the CGI were, the main characters were as two-dimensional as the words in the script.

Like most fairy tales, you have to suspend your beliefs. So: I’ll give Sanders and Co. all the magic and the “Snow can ride a horse after being locked up for a decade” thing. But I’m not budging on true love’s kiss. There’s no way I’m buying it. And, because that’s the crux of the movie, I’d say that’s a huge disappointing fail precluded by a good hour and a half of pretty scenery.

What the script did really was develop a back story to the deranged Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the beauty and youth crazed queen who’s got it in for Snow. She’s evil because her mother messed her up. She hates men (with the exception of her invertebrate brother Finn) for objectifying her. And she hates other women for stealing her thunder. She’s got reasons, and I kind of feel sorry for her.

So is it bad that I was rooting for the selfish bird-heart and human-soul sucking villain because instead of the confusing mess of armor and doe eyes called Snow White?

Probably – because it doesn’t seem intentional.

Like the recent adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” is worth seeing once. Visually, the film is astounding.

However, it won’t be what you’re expecting: good and evil achieve an anticlimactic switcheroo in this tale.

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