Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Director:  Rupert Sanders
Cast:  Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
Plot:  In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Awards:  Nom. for 2 Oscars - Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects
Runtime:  127min
Rating:  PG13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.

“Lips red as blood.  Hair black as night.  Bring me your heart my dear, dear Snow White.” 

The second 'Snow White' movie to hit our screens after Mirror Mirror (2012), Snow White and the Huntsman comes with much higher expectations than the light-hearted and offbeat Tarsem Singh picture that starred Julia Roberts and Lily Collins, which by the way was aimed at fidgeting kids with impatient parents in tow.

Unfortunately, the higher expectations come at a price as Snow White and the Huntsman shows that even with every other aspect seemingly perfected to an art, the lack of a good story will eventually ruin the movie-going experience.

Billed as a rethink of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and the Huntsman is shockingly poor in its storytelling department.  Most Hollywood blockbusters are predictable, and are sometimes enjoyed for their predictability because it provides a safe and reliable way to satisfy audiences looking for two hours of escapism.

But Snow White and the Huntsman takes the cake... with one of the flattest and uninspired screenplays of the year.  The entire narrative structure is so straightforward that it leaves no room for revelations of key plot points that would have made the movie a more interesting watch.

Starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight, 2008) as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth (Thor, 2011) as The Huntsman, and Charlize Theron as the despicably evil Queen Ravenna, Snow White and the Huntsman boasts a pair of establishing stars with money-spinning franchises on their backs, but their performances leave much to be desired.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Theron, who is a menace throughout with her screen presence, though she could be accused of overacting in several scenes.  But it must be said that without Theron, the film would have been a borefest.

First-time feature director Rupert Sanders is unlucky to work on a weak script.  But credit to him, he makes the most out of it with competent direction of the film's visual style.  Kudos to everyone who was part of the cinematography, art direction-set decoration, costume design, and visual effects teams, as the visuals are consistently striking.

Snow White and the Huntsman tries too hard to be an epic action-adventure fantasy in the vein of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003).  As a result, it may be beautiful to watch, but is unable to shake off its cliched storytelling, a cringe-worthy battle speech, and arguably the most implausibly convenient 'resurrection' scene ever committed to celluloid.  Disappointing.

Verdict: Beautiful cinematography and art direction cannot mask the film's weak and predictable storytelling.


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