Well folks, the great Snow White debate is over. What would be the better movie Snow White movie, Mirror Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsmen? Well the verdict is in….and we all lose! Snow White and the Huntsmen, while looking great in the trailers, falters on a bad script and numerous plot holes. Oh, and Kristen Stewart. But it’s not 100% her fault.
Huntsman does a good thing by tweaking with the Snow White formula a little bit. Not huge changes, but enough that people who have seen other Snow White movies will be kept engaged. Instead of Snow White being a damsel in distress, she takes a more active role. Ok, so far so good. Many see her as a force of nature, one that is naturally good to Queen’s evilness. Again, so far so good. While this all great on paper, the plot can’t seem to deliver on any of this. It’s hinted at, and we see a few instances of her being this all powerful force of nature, but it’s never touched upon enough. It pops up whenever it helps move the plot along. And while the power doesn’t have to be explained, it needs to be used more than just when it’s convenient to move the plot along from a boring point in the movie. There is a love story between the Huntsmen and Snow White, and much like the force of nature plot, it only pops up whenever the audience’s interest in the movie wanes. None of it ever feels natural, with much of it being shoehorned into the plot. If Huntsmen had focused on one or the other, the plot might have worked more. It’s sad too, because this movie had the makings for an interesting take on Snow White. This could have been an entertaining movie.
The biggest fault from the plot though, is that we have no feelings for Snow White at all. Why should we like her? Why should we root for her at the end of the movie? The plot gives us zero reasons. By the end of the movie, the audience is either going to be rooting for her, just so the Huntsmen can win, or they will be rooting for the Evil Queen because they don’t like Snow White. And this isn’t Kristen Stewart’s fault either. Yeah, she didn’t help the situation, but Snow White had an uphill battle going in either way.
The script is a thing that is hard to pin down. It’s clear that the force of nature angle was being played up by Kristen Stewart not speaking much and having the supporting characters react to what she does. But she is the focal point in most of the movie, and just doesn’t speak. The dialogue is cliched as all hell, with the audience being able to predict every line. But cliches are cliches for a reason, and they can still be entertaining and feel fresh. Given the delivery by the actors and the scene the dialogue is written for. But those two don’t help the situation, so the script seems that much worse off. For character development, the only character that seems to fair well is the Evil Queen. The Huntsmen and Snow White get zilch, making the movie rely on the chemistry between Chris Hemmsworth and Kristen Stewart, which there isn’t.
One of the few redeeming things about Huntsmen is the production value. The sets look great, and so do the costumes. With so many of the big budget movies going for big green screens instead of sets, it’s nice to see a small town built (then subsequently destroyed). The battle scenes have the epic feel that the movie goes for. The special effects look great. While not on an “Avengers” level, they do look great for the budget. Seeing Charlize Theron turn into crows and back looks great, and really captivates the audience in the force of nature angle that the movie seems to be going for. The dwarves, although not played by dwarf actors, have their heads digitally imposed on well. Not once does their head seems fake, even when heads quickly turn towards the camera and back. It’s a small thing, but the second some digital errors pop up, however small, the effect is lost on the audience for the rest of the movie.
While there is a big cast in this movie, there are three actors we are going to focus on here. Charlize Theron is clearly having an absolute blast as the Evil Queen. Every scene she is in almost makes the audience forget the rest of the movie. Her British accent is fine, but it’s gone when she screams. Chris Hemmsworth does the best with what the script has given him. He tries his best at a Scottish accent, but he might have just wanted to stick with his natural Australian. It breaks in and out, and makes some of the things he says impossible to understand. The dwarves fill their comedic roles well enough. Nick Frost stands out as the funniest of the bunch, which includes Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, and Ray Winstone.
Then there is Kristen Stewart…….dear god. Yes, she can not act. In the Twilight movies, she fits the damsel in distress role well enough, but not the empowered girl here in Huntsmen. It’s clear she is trying her hardest, but this was not the right role for her. Every scene that requires a little bit of serious acting, she can’t. It left the audience in stitches laughing at her trying. She has the same couple of expressions that she uses for a bunch of emotions. But she ends up looking slightly confused in almost every scene. I have never liked her, but if she gives a great performance in a movie, I’ll give her the credit she is due. Like in Adventureland. She wasn’t half bad in that.
While I have been bashing this movie left and right, some people seemed to enjoy it. My girlfriend and her best friend enjoyed the movie. They liked the production value and special effects, and were able to look past Kristen Stewart and the plot holes. And these are two girls who hate Twilight and have great taste in movies.
Snow White and the Huntsmen gets 1.5/5.