Sunday, June 10, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

After a day of packing away my treasures in preparation for moving home. I chose to give myself a break this afternoon and catch a movie.  My last movie experience, The Avengers, had been a huge disappointment, and I was in hopes that Snow White and the Huntsman would renew my faith in Hollywood.   It did.

One of the first insights that claimed me during this movie was that we may well be witnessing the birth of a new movie genre, one I would classify as realistic fairy tales.  Snow White and the Huntsman, with Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth in the title roles, follows in the footsteps of The Brothers Grimm (2005) that starred Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the medieval chroniclers of scary tales, and Red Riding Hood (2009) with Amanda Seyfried wearing the red cloak and dealing with a werewolf.  Each of those movies retold classic children's stories with layers of darkness and realism that redefined their intended audiences.

These are not your grandmother's fairy tales.

This was the first film directed by Rupert Sanders, and it was very, very good.  We will be hearing more from this young director in short order.  The settings were either dark and miserable or light and fantastical,  but always integral in pulling the story forward.  And the battle scenes were epic.  Mr. Sanders obviously had a healthy budget from which to create his film, and he had a fierce eye for detail.  He created a beautiful movie..

Kristen Stewart was the right choice for Snow White.  She transitioned easily from the wretch imprisoned in the tower, to a muddy maiden on the run, to a Disney princess, and finally to someone resembling Joan of Arc.  It was her film throughout.  Charlize Theron was Ravenna, the queen (and evil stepmother) who stayed young by feeding on the youth and beauty of others.  Theron was the perfect foil to Stewart, projecting evil onto oozing purity of the princess.

There were two male characters who could have either one morphed into a love interest for Snow White.  Chris Hemsworth was the huntsman who became her guide and protector - and Sam Clafin was Will, her childhood friend who helped return her to the throne.  Each of the two men was obviously falling in love with the princess-on-the-run.  It felt a little like a Bella, Edward, and Jacob thing.

I liked Snow White and the Huntsman, a lot!  In fact I give it six-and-a half dwarf's out of seven!

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