Reviews

Snow White And The Huntsman

3

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to kick ass we go

Naturally, it begins with “once upon a time”. And yes, along the way there’s romance, a poisoned apple, a stimulating smooch and a queen with a heart as black as coal.

But despite Kristen Stewart’s pasty-faced princess catching the covetous moongazes of at least two would-be suitors, this fantasy epic’s more about kicking arses than kissing them.

This isn’t the same gilded fairy-land Tarsem Singh upchucked with his yawny Mirror Mirror. Within minutes we’re neck-deep in a bloody battlefield, where King Magnus (Noah Huntley) discovers the bedazzling Ravenna (Charlize Theron), takes her as his new queen, then finds himself at the wrong end of a very sharp blade.

Seizing the throne for herself, Ravenna banishes her step-daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to a dank cell and plunges her kingdom into a rotting fug. When Snow comes of age, she flees the castle, only to have Ravenna send the strapping, booze-glugging Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into the Dark Forest after her. Will it all end happily ever after?

It’s never really a question. Though first-time feature director Rupert Sanders is keen to subvert the original Grimm tale for goth-action thrills, he shies away from all-out revisionism.

A former ad man (he directed an impressive Halo 3 commercial), Sanders got the gig on the strength of a promo reel he stitched together to show off his idiosyncratic vision for the film.

That vision is SWATH’S main strength. Haunted woods, Theron bathing in a vat of creamy milk, then smashing apart into dozens of flapping ravens... The images are stark and effective, and SWATH heaves with tangibly craggy landscapes that are part Dagobah, part Winterfell, entirely believable.

Sadly, the story never matches the exhilarating optics. While Theron’s mental, soul-sucking queen offers theatrical menace, and the numerous action clashes easily get pulses pumping, the plot’s limited to a series of encounters between Snow and often unremarkable B characters.

Of those, Sam Claflin’s useless Prince William (no really) comes off the worst, while poor old Lily Cole puts in a blank, blink-miss performance. Even Hemsworth’s loveable lug is lumbered with an off-kilter Scottish burr.

Leave it to Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone’s octet of mushroom-loving dwarves to lighten the often funereal mood. Singing, dancing, adorably savage, they brighten up SWATH’s second act with warmth and humour.

In a film more in love with its eye-catching terrains than its characters, that’s no shortcoming.

Verdict:

A visually inventive, deliciously dark fairytale reheat. The story’s far from the stuff of legend, but Theron makes for a ferocious meanie, helping to flush away Mirror Mirror’s sugary aftertaste.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • Mattsimus

      May 28th 2012, 17:48

      What a load of bolloks, ya know as soon as this movie had a release date, i automatically thought of TF and knew regardless of how good it was, will automatically end up with an on the fense 3 star review.......grow some balls guys n gals!

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    • MikeyRix

      May 28th 2012, 18:00

      Whatta cop-out. My trust in TF reviews is beginning to wane. You guys gave "Thor" 3* on initial release (though to be fair, 4* were given on the DVD). The 3* rating seems to have become more of a safety net than a way of expressing opinion!. Haha.

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    • RachaelNelson

      May 28th 2012, 21:34

      4

      I was able to watch Snow White And The Huntsman at filmswoop.com. It's in good quality and free. Check it out!

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    • elmarinero77

      May 29th 2012, 2:54

      MikeyRix is bang on. You know if Thor hadn't made any money it probably would have dropped to a 2 on DVD.

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    • gquinn81

      May 29th 2012, 12:01

      err to be fair, 3 stars is the average rating, so if a film is average, which this looks like it probably is, then it's going to get 3 stars. If the reviewer thinks it's average he should give it 3 stars, that's not copping out. Having said that however, I did notice that TF gave Blazing Saddles 3 stars the other day, the same as they gave The Goon, so maybe I'm talking bollocks and they actually don't know what they're talking about.

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    • Murphy0806

      May 29th 2012, 14:19

      We all know the star rating system is flawed in general. Countless amounts of films released each year and only 5 possible ratings. I really don't know why people get so annoyed by it. Take in what the reviewer has said and not the arbitrary rating at the end. But, saying that, there seem to be enough pluses and minuses here to warrant a 3 star rating.

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    • Mattsimus

      May 29th 2012, 19:33

      Its easy we want to see films we're interested in doing well! and theres always a chance of dissapointment.....however although this is the real world and I get it! they cant all be 4 n 5 stars but lets get real ya dont have to be a psychic to know what rating nearly EVERY SINGLE FILM is gonna get! not to mention the fact the half the reviews read like 4 stars anyway! If the ratings were irrelevant then they wouldnt exist, 3 stars dosnt mean average it means COPPING OUT. we are talking nearly every film seems to get 3 stars, with the exception of Avengers! Ive been on this site for years and its always the same.................

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    • gquinn81

      May 30th 2012, 17:04

      It's not every single film. It's the majority of films. As 3 stars is the average rating, and the majority of films ARE average, you'd expect most films to get 3 stars....because it's the average rating. the review of SWATH's reads like a 3 star review, great visuals, no story, some good performances, some bad...3 stars sounds about right to me. As Murphy0806 said though, it's a flawed system. There needs to be more range of marks (out of 10 perhaps?) or, like suggested, ignore the rating altogether and concentrate on the reviewers comments on the film.

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    • FBYJoseph

      May 30th 2012, 22:17

      2

      Just been to see this film tonight and it's such a mish mash! I should have known that the director of Alice in Wonderland couldn't keep from dramatising everything. There are bits that I'd have to say were quite good and others that were a complete flop! Kirsten's acting was ok but again there were parts that she didn't pull through, the only female actress that managed to convince me was Charlize Theron portrayal of the wicked queen. I also wish they'd stop trying to explain everything. This is suppose to be a gritty film in Brother Grimm style, it didn't quite live up to it.

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    • Mattsimus

      May 30th 2012, 22:48

      I didnt say every single film, i said NEARLY every single film!............meaning majority! and to be honest films nowadays are below parr not average, so just rate it lower dont just stick 3 stars for the sake of it! they mirror empires reviews like a bad reflection and your trying to tell me there reviews are both accurate and original? err no!

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    • debeebambino

      May 30th 2012, 23:45

      I literally cannot believe a scriptwriter got paid 3.2million for that!! the characters were all under developed, there was no real story line, it was rubbish….where to start? the love triangle was non existent it lacked any romantic emotion or sexual tension, i didnt believe any of them cared about each other let alone there be any love, the dwarves were barely on screen so when one of them has a “problem” (shall we say so as not to ruin it for anyone) you don’t really give a hoot, the queen altho she was evil did not have enough presence or screen time for the story to really have a worthy villian, a villian needs to be more prominent through out, the second act was too long and boring, and overall there was barely any dialogue of substance through the entire thing!!…infact…barely any dialogue, that script must of any hit 90 pages if that…yet somehow became 2hrs…poor, poor, poor!! more money in hollywood than sense!! i give it 2 stars for visuals and thats it!!…which is only a nod to the CGI guys really!! The trailer is the only good thing about this film!!!!

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    • gquinn81

      May 31st 2012, 11:46

      This is a pointless argument and we're just going round in circles. Their reviews are original, becuase they are an original piece of writing, they're not copying Empire (although they did also give this film 3 stars), they're giving their own opinion. It's impossible to call them accurate though, the accuracy of a review is subjective, you're either going to agree or disagree. All I was saying is that, because of the flawed star rating system, if a reviewer thinks a film is average (which the reviewer of SWATH seemed to) then they have no choice but to give it 3 stars. Maybe the best thing for both of us is to ignore the reviews altogether, go and see the film, and then make up our own mind!!

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    • 3459ERICS

      Jun 5th 2012, 14:13

      4

      realy enjoyed it, theron was amazing and i was amazed i didnt hate stewart.

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    • skylaird

      Jun 12th 2012, 15:50

      4

      Lovely production design, striking effects, Irish locations fab (I think it was Ireland), last seen looking this good in Excalibur. Some beautiful, poetic imagery in the magic forest (apart from the fairies) and pretty striking cinematography in glorious 2D!

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