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Snow White and The Huntsman - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Snow White and The Huntsman
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B
Special Effects: B+

If there's any reason to see Snow White and The Huntsman, it's Charlize Theron. Read just about any review of this movie, and that's what it'll tell you. She is, in effect, its saving grace. Except, actually, there's also Kristen Stewart -- the ever-chaste Bella Swan herself. True, her acting chops are no match for Theron, but let's be fair: the villain is always the showy, juicy part -- and Theron really sinks her teeth into it. And yet, I actually kind of liked Stewart as Snow White.

The character's use her is slightly heavy-handed, really making an effort to turn her into a hero rather than the damsel in distress that we've known for generations. Director Rupert Sanders is clearly trying to make this a feminist take on a classic fairy tale, and he's kind of reaching. He brings us to a point of one too many battle scenes, which seem to be just for the sake of . . . battle scenes. It feels a little like pandering to the men in the audience, which honestly kind of defeats the purpose of the feminist bent.

This all boils down to a cat fight, after all. Theron is the Evil Queen -- or rather, Ravenna (great name) -- who retains eternal youth by sucking it out of young people, especially but not limited to young women. She lures the king with her Dark Army in his moment of grief after the loss of his wife, then kills him for his youth and power. Why the hell does she lock young Snow White up in a tower instead of just killing her? She later actually says, "I should have killed her when I had the chance!" Well, why didn't you, you moron? I guess because then we wouldn't get this fun fantasy movie.

And yes, it is fun. It runs a little long, but it has engaging performances and some rather stunning images. A moss-covered turtle in the sanctuary land of the Ken Doll-naked fairies. A rather impressively rendered CGI troll that Snow White tames with her purity and bravery (or just a well-voiced scream; whatever). Charlize Theron taking a milk bath. Charlize Theron turning into a murder of crows. Charlize Theron turning into an old lady and then back to her youthful vigor again.

There's an interesting dynamic between Theron and Stewart, actually. Both are truly beautiful women, but in completely different ways -- and I don't just mean blonde vs. brunette here. Study their facial features, and how they express themselves. You can feel Snow White's struggle with her destiny (because, of course, she has to have one), and you can feel Ravenna's pain. I can't help but feel that these two actors are well cast against each other.

A few other things are piled on unnecessarily. Do we really need another Twilight-esque love triangle? Are you on Team William (Sam Claflin, meh), the guy who pines after Snow White after being forced to leave her behind in the castle as a child? -- or are you on Team Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), the guy hired by Ravenna to track down Snow White but switches allegiance practically the moment he lays eyes on her? Count me on the latter team, but only because Hemsworth is clearly hunkier and Claflin, while meant to be a good guy, still comes off as slightly weasely. Why not just have Hemsworth as a love interest and be done with it?

Oh, and did I mention the dwarves? This is somewhat of a sticking point, actually. In this movie, they are all played by non-dwarves, most of them famous (Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and more). They're digitally manipulated to look like little people. What, actual little people weren't available? Did the production of Mirror Mirror use up the year's quota?

That mystifying element notwithstanding, this Snow White makes an admirable attempt at modernizing an old fairy tale, and is moderately successful. It could have been better. But nearly every scene features one of the two female leads, and is better for it. Theron, as it happens, makes an excellent villain. She makes up for a lot of story elements that make no sense whatsoever, even in the context of a fairy tale. But, you come to a movie like this to be entertained, right? It doesn't knock it out of the park, but it gets the job done.

Kristen Stewart does a Bella Swine dive in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN.

Overall: B
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