Sunday, June 17, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsmen review; a huge let down

I figured, better late than never.  So I trekked to the movie theater and watched Snow White and the Huntsmen (or SWATH for typing's sake).  SWATH is of course the totally re-imagined story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  This is the second time this year we've seen this story on the big screen, the first coming courtesy of the awful Mirror, Mirror.  While Mirror, Mirror was tapped as a light and campy version of the classic story, SWATH promised something very different.  A dark and eerie style that reminds us of the Lord of the Rings films.  The movie is directed by Rupert Sanders in his directorial debut.  The evil queen (and damn is she evil), is played by the gorgeous Charlize Theron.  The Huntsmen is played by the God of Thunder in a different franchise, Chris Hemsworth.  And then the titular character of Snow White, played by the Twilight queen, Kristen Stewart.  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
Production Design
The look of the movie was mesmerizing.  From the first scene, as an audience, we know we're in for a treat.  The dark and creepy style was a welcome change from the "other" Snow White movie.  The set pieces are gothic, and gorgeous at that.  The dark forest where a good amount of the movie takes place is very done in a very clever and creative way.  The entire forest is alive with movie tree branches and creatures everywhere.    Dominic Watkins, the production designer did an amazing job.

The Acting
In my opinion, Chris Hemsworth gives the best performance in this movie.  And it comes with no surprise, that a rumored sequel would follow his character.  Hemsworth has a lot better material to work with than he did in perhaps Thor or The Avengers.  The Huntsmen is an alcoholic trying to cope with the death of his wife.  He has given up on life, and meeting Snow White begins to change his perception of life.

Charlize Theron is great!  She is obviously beautiful to look at, but plays a very scary villain in the film.  Sure she is frightening, but my only problem is she's not given much else to do.  She's barely in the second and third acts.  And when on screen, she's simply reminding us how dangerous and powerful she is.  Kristen Stewart is slowing making me take her more serious.  She was great in the movie.  I worried that she wouldn't be believable in her role as a warrior, but she did it.  All the while having a compassionate side.

The Dwarfs
Mirror, Mirror decided to use real life little people to play the seven famous dwarfs.  SWATH went a different direction.  Casting famous actors and using special effects to create the famously small characters.  Amazing actors such as Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost and Toby Jones make up some of the seven dwarfs.  The dwarfs are the only comic relief in this otherwise serious film.  They added a little bit of heart that I really enjoyed.  And the special effects that helped the characters are top notch.

What I didn't like about the film:
The Script
The story is clever and different enough from the Disney version that this is a fresh and welcomed change.  However, the script is all over the place.  It was unorganized and a had no flow to it whatsoever.  And as I stated earlier, there was so much repetition, especially with the evil queen proving she's evil.  Same goes for one chase after another in the dark forest.  I often say, I wish writers/studios would take a little bit more time and think about how their words will play out on film.  Sometimes a good idea doesn't fit in with the rest of the script.

The Pacing
The movie has some seriously boring parts.  After an impressive fight sequence, the movie pumps the breaks.  It's for an extended period of time too.  Character development in a film is great, but cliche, fireside chats are not.  The pacing just took me right out of the film and could never get me back.

The Action
Other than impressive hand to hand combat, the movie's action is downright bad.  In thinking about it, there's not much action in the movie at all.  The trailer promised Braveheart style fights with hundred of extras... hardly.  There are just a bunch of people running around and people on horses racing all over the place.  There's no choreographed action that has us in awe.  It's one chase after another; or a group of the queen's men attacking a small village, or the castle, or, or, or.  So stupid.

The Verdict
Did. Not. Like. It.
In fact, I can say it with ease... it was a bad movie.  Despite delivering on its promise to be different from Mirror, Mirror and the Disney classic, the movie is just flat.  The movie felt like it was better suited as a t.v. series than a feature film.  I enjoyed the acting and production design; but that couldn't make up for a flat story that simply disappointed.  Like I said in my Mirror, Mirror review, Snow White's story holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first movie I ever saw in theaters.  I was a five year old gazing at the enormous screen that would forever change my life.

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