It was announced around the same time that two movies based on the fictional character of Snow White would be released in 2012. First, there was Mirror Mirror, a lighthearted and quirky take on the Disney Princess. The other being Snow White and the Huntsman, Rupert Sanders' dark and Grimm-like interpretation of the iconic story. Headlined by Kristen Stewart, the star of the Twilight franchise, along with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Charlize Theron, Sanders has everything imaginable at his disposal. But even with an Academy Award winning actress and one of the most famous stories ever created, can the first-time director deliver?
Snow White and the Huntsman initially ventures back to the childhood of Snow White (played by Stewart). After the death of her mother, Snow White's father falls victim to the luring charisma of the Queen (played by Theron). When the villainous woman murders him on their wedding night, the Queen overtakes the throne and the kingdom succumbs to evil. Eventually able to escape imprisonment from the Queen, Snow White must survive the dark forest and conjure up an army to reclaim the throne. With the aid of the Huntsman (played by Hemsworth) and seven dwarfs, Snow White attempts to restore peace and serenity throughout the land.
Director Rupert Sanders is given a large task with his directorial debut. Serving up a never-before-seen interpretation of a much anticipated blockbuster, the bar was set astronomically high. To his praise, Sanders delivers an astonishingly visual and profound journey into the childhood story that we all know so well. The director does a fantastic job of effectively using colors to set the mood for each and every scene. Easily the highlight of Snow White and the Huntsman, it's no exaggeration to start talking about a possible Visual Effects nomination from the Academy. In addition to the film's stunning visuals, actress Charlize Theron must once again be applauded for her magnificent work on screen. The remarkably gifted, Academy Award winning actress takes control of the film and shoulders all of the attention on herself. In doing so, she proves to be a much more reliable central character than the heroine Snow White. Theron effortlessly commands the screen and shows the audience multiple dimensions to the character of the Queen. In a similar approach to 2008's superhero classic The Dark Knight, Snow White and the Huntsman is a daring rendition that ultimately succeeds because of its elaborate focus on the villain.
Although the dark fairy tale manages to work well on screen, it does so with a few blemishes. Snow White and the Huntsman starts out strong and hits a lull in the second act. The audience is forced to sit through a mid-section that is much longer than it needs to be. Surprisingly, the body of the film adds minutes to the runtime without ever offering much to the story. Flooded with uninteresting subplots and other various nonsense, the middle portion pushes the level of unbearable. However, just moments before you're ready to throw in the towel, Sanders introduces the dwarfs and the comical characters give a much needed boost of energy to the feature. From that moment on, the movie picks up and the audience has no need to ever look back. Furthermore, for all of the praise given to Theron, it becomes almost too easy to criticize the casting decision of Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Offering up about as much emotion as a paper clip, Stewart only makes sense as Snow White by her appearance alone. Luckily for Sanders, Theron dazzles and Hemsworth proves to be adequate enough in his role to help sustain the film.
For all the excitement I had prior to viewing the film, Snow White and the Huntsman came shy of meeting my expectations. That being said, I do respect the film and recognize it as a solid endeavor. Stunningly visual and original, Snow White and the Huntsman is a decent debut effort from director Rupert Sanders and his entire team.