Now that Mirror, Mirror has come and gone from theaters, we can focus on the darker, more serious of the two Snow White movies being released this year: Snow White and the Huntsman. The trailer made the film look deliciously dark, and it definitely was; styled after the original Grimm’s fairy tales, which are far too sinister for children, the new film is a mix of Pan’s Labyrinth, Robin Hood, and Alice in Wonderland.
King Magnus lives in medieval England with his wife and daughter. He is heartbroken when the Queen–his wife–dies, until he meets Ravenna (Charlize Theron, Young Adult), who is a captive of an army that comes to the kingdom to challenge his army. He marries her the very next day, but on their wedding night he’s in for a surprise: Ravenna is an evil woman who marries kings and destroys their kingdoms, and she stabs King Magnus in the heart with a knife. His daughter, Snow White, finds the King dead and tries to escape the castle, but Ravenna catches her and banishes her to the tower, where she will live out the rest of her days.
Now Snow White (Kristen Stewart, the Twilight Saga films) has come of age, and the Queen’s magical mirror is no longer telling her that the Queen is the “fairest one of all.” To now be the fairest one, new Queen Ravenna must kill Snow White and take her heart. She sends her creepy brother Finn (Sam Spruell, The Hurt Locker) to retrieve Snow White, but Snow scrapes his face with a nail and flees the kingdom. The Queen hires the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers) to find and kill Snow White, with the promise of bringing his dead wife back to life, but once the Huntsman finds Snow and figures out he’s been tricked, he runs away with her, as they try to stay one step ahead of the Queen and her evil minions.
The star of this movie by far is Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen, Ravenna. She makes Julia Roberts’ queen in Mirror, Mirror look like a simpering fool, and she by far out-acts Hemsworth, Stewart, and the rest of the main characters. Hemsworth does a fine job as the Huntsman, but is unfortunately underused. The filmmakers were smart to avoid giving Stewart too many lines, as her English accent wavers; it’s clear she’s only in the film to serve as eye candy for Twilight fans.
Yes, see this film. Where the movie excels is in creating a magical kingdom, must like that in the recent Alice in Wonderland movie. In this kingdom, there are fairies, dwarves, and mushrooms with eyes that grow out of the ground, and when Snow White first finds herself there, she is in awe of it, as the audience was as well. There’s also a few awesome battle scenes, both at the end when Snow White finds herself fighting Ravenna during others sprinkled throughout the movie. The cinematography is gorgeous, as well, and the costuming too. You won’t find many comedic lines in this film, but there are a few; in one scene, the Huntsman rips Snow White’s dress in half (she’s wearing pants underneath) so that she can move through the marshes quicker, and quips “Don’t flatter yourself, Princess” to her. Fans of fairy tales that are a bit darker than your usual Disney fare will enjoy Snow White and the Huntsman, and it’s a great movie to kick off the summer “popcorn fare” season.
Snow White and the Huntsman is in theaters today, June 1st, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 127 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5