If you’d like to save some time, please consult my Sein Langauge review of this film.
- Generally favorable reviews and buzz very quickly forced me to have expectations for this film to at least be enjoyable. I did not find that to be the case. It was awfully dull and for being presented as some sort of new, cooler, revisionist take on this classic tale, it was painfully predictable and flat.
- While it’s arguably a fault of the marketing department more than the creative process, I specifically expected a lot more from the Snow White character. The posters and trailers create a mood of darker, gritty action featuring an active Snow White, clad in armor, bucking the traditional “damsel” role and actually getting things done. Well, guess what! She’s remarkably traditional and very much an inactive “damsel” for most of the film — that was a real bummer. She was also exceedingly boring. Although, that may have been a product of a certain someone’s performance…
- Look, I know for a fact that Kristen Stewart’s face works; I’ve seen her in interviews and in a few films that I actually liked (Adventureland and Runaways) and I know she can produce the normal human range of facial expressions. She just doesn’t seem to ever want to call on any of this ability when acting — it’s confounding. Does she not care or… what? She has the same look on her face for the entirety of this film. Whether she is imprisoned in a tower, hallucinating in the dark forest, dancing with a dwarf, getting romantic in the snow, getting poisoned moments later in that snow… same look everytime. How am I supposed to be engaged when the person upon whom the entire story rests doesn’t seem to be engaged, at all? Can you just be a human being?
- Speaking of the “Dark Forest”: can we cut this scene-setting gimmick out of all contemporary stories? Even when it’s supposed to be a fairy tale, that sort of “oh, that’s the dark [outdoor geographical location] — nobody can make it out of there” idea is so stupid, it completely takes me out of the movie. It’s not a labyrinth! It’s a forest. There’s a sun in this universe, right? Of course there is. And it seems to rise and set at the exact same times as those associated with Earth. And yet nobody seems to consider this basic method of navigation when trying to exit this forest. “Oh, don’t go into the forest! Well… I mean, sure, we can look up at the sun and gauge direction but we really should just wander in this dangerous place until we stumble upon a way by which to depart. No! Nobody look at the sky! We don’t want to know directions!”
- Charlize Theron is a very good actress but apparently her character’s witchcraft in this film will only work if she hams it up maniacally (particularly in the first hour). Every one of her interactions with another human may as well have been punctuated with her shouting “ACTIIIIIIIING EVILLLLLL!” and looking right into the camera. Hello, evil Queen Ravenna? Yeah, Master Thespian’s on the line — says something about wanting to take some classes from you? Yes, I’ll hold.
- I couldn’t take Sam Spruell’s character seriously (he plays the evil Queen’s brother). Why? His haircut. Everyone else in this movie has a more palatable/contemporary interpretation of fairy tale costumes and style. Except this guy. And he’s like, the primary villain in a number of scenes! We’re supposed to fear him. But we can’t. Because he looks like albino Prince Valiant.
- Did anyone see Mirror, Mirror? Is it good? It looked dreadful, despite Tarsem Singh directing it (some of the shots in Huntsman looked very much like they belonged in a Singh film, which was pleasant). Having two new Snow White movies inside of a few months and having both of them be lame (I just now decided: I’m going to assume Mirror is lame) is eerily reminiscent of when Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles came out within a few months of each other and both of them were completely stupid. Two at-bats on the exact same subject and we can’t get ONE serviceable effort? Come onnnn.
- Not that I was way wrapped up in it by that point anyway but… this movie totally lost me when fairies and mushrooms with single eyeballs showed up in that hideously computer generated “enchanted” meadow forest sequence (which also led into the absurd exposition about Snow White being “the one” who can save everything). In addition to the dark forest gimmick, can we also retire all these tales involving prophecies and some unsuspecting character being “the one” who can save the universe? I understand its the cornerstone of human myth and everything but… really, we can try something else. Also: why would you shove this Matrix-style angle into a fairy tale?! Who wants that? It was also redundant and meaningless to stick that idea in this film, at that point in the story. By the time they reveal this ridiculous bit about Snow White in Huntsman, we already know (in no uncertain terms) that she is the only person who can kill the Queen. That’s “destiny” enough. We don’t need some brief sequence about how like, all of this mystical fairy wildlife “believes” in Snow White and revere her like a God.
- Chris Hemsworth is fun. He can be in movies forever.
- I suppose it’s my own fault but I can’t ever truly wrap my head around any movie featuring a character who holds some indiscriminate grasp of magic or witchcraft. Like, what are the limits of the Queen’s powers? She can summon an army of rock-shard soldiers and turn herself into a bunch of ravens and fly like hundreds of miles and shapeshift into a guy with completely convincing accuracy, produce a poisoned apple to put Snow White into a coma, then linger over her body while monologuing about taking her heart (seriously, “when you have to shoot, shoot — don’t talk”)… but she can’t just go do this bird-teleporting-assassination-attempt thing when Snow White was asleep or alone or prone at any point prior? This is literally the only objective she has in order to unlock immortality. Of course, she employs absolutely no basic logic in accomplishing it. She sends her brother to bring Snow White back like three times. JUST FLY THERE AND GET IT OVER WITH. WHAT IS THE HOLD UP? YOU’RE MAGIC. TO AN ASTONISHING DEGREE. I WOULD’VE DONE THIS WEEKS AGO.
- I love the actors cast as the dwarves (I would watch Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Ian McShane, and Eddie Marsan sit and talk in a bar for 2 hours) and I enjoyed a lot of their little moments together. And I don’t mind the idea of having them “shortened” with visual effects… but those effects looked pretty shoddy at times. And naturally, with them being so enjoyable (and relatable), they don’t show up for 70 minutes.
- I thought the conceptualization of the magic mirror was pretty cool.
- Although… what does “the fairest of them all” even mean? I refuse to believe, even when she’s aged up a little, Charlize Theron is not more attractive than Kristen Stewart. She totally is. Also: can we get some backstory on who made this mirror? How is it so decidedly objective when it seems to have belonged to Charlize forever?
- This was far from the first film to utilize this idea but: at what point do we all decide that it’s ridiculous for a story to posit that any sort of force (without overwhelming numbers) could invade a castle/fortress on foot in this medieval era and somehow succeed? Like, you send 100 guys through the main gate on horses. The castle’s army (at least 150 strong) starts fighting all of your troops on the ground. Meaning… the invaders are all almost completely standing still, out in the open. Are the castle’s archers (all at elevated positions all over the place, as we saw when they fired arrows while the invaders were approaching) not paying attention, once the main entrance is breached? They have higher ground with ample time to shoot and plenty of cover… how do they not just pick every single one of the invading guys off, with arrows? If my castle was about to be attacked, I think I would open the main gate for them, let them come in, close the main gate behind them, and then just have everyone with two arms pick up a bow and arrow and fire at them from on high. You would win the battle in 19 seconds.
- On that tip: the way in which Snow White and her army are able to breach the castle at the end is via the “sewer” run-off tunnel on the side of the cliff. They send the seven dwarves through there to open the main gate. Logically, this is fine. Except that when Snow White escapes the castle a few days prior, that sewer run-off tunnel is about 30 feet up the side of a sheer cliff overlooking the ocean with no steps, ladders, or any sort of rock formations that allow it to be scaled (to wit: when she escapes, she is forced to just leap from this tunnel into the ocean below). We’re not privy to how seven little people could:
A. swim across this body of water so quickly (the rest of the army is all on horseback, riding directly towards the castle out in the open — standing still while waiting for them to open the gate is not a luxury they can afford),
B. get up the side of a 30-foot cliff overlooking a raging sea so quickly.
Regardless, it defied logic.