Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Movie Spotlight: Snow White and the Huntsman

Good Day Beardies,

Last night Jeremiah and I decided to go to the movies... BUT it wasn't just any movie theatre, it was a Movie Tavern.  The seats were SO comfortable, with small, moveable tables attached to each arm, and the experience alone--movie aside--was quite memorable. And that's not the blue margarita talking :)

On a more serious note, however, we went to the theatre to catch the latest blockbuster film, Snow White and the Huntsman.  After seeing the preview for the film, I felt its inclusion of Charlize Theron made it a must see for me.  Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, I was not too thrilled about, but I decided to suck it up and give her a chance.  As a first for The Bearded Scribe (and, I admit, for me), I've decided to do a Movie Spotlight on the film.

WARNING: Review contains some spoilers.
Plot Summary.
The movie's first scene sets the mood for the entire film: its colors not too vivid, save the stark white snow, the blood-red rose, and the rich black of the marcescent stem upon which it lingered.  We are introduced to the Queen, who sends out a spoken hope to whatever forces there may be, wishing for a daughter with the same fairness and strength as that solitary rose.

The movie is, unfortunately, paced rather quickly after this. It rushes through Snow White's birth, her adolescence wherein her mother dies, her father's second marriage to Ravenna (about whom we, if we weren't already familiar with the story, would know very little), and her father's betrayal and murder.  Ravenna (Charlize Theron) is now Queen, and Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is locked in a lofty prison within a tower of the castle.  Ravenna is old, and in order to maintain her youthful appearance, she must consume the youth of others (a less-than-impressive scene reveals this).  The only one who is capable of Ravenna's destruction is one who is fairer than she (hence her incessant need to ask this very question of her beloved mirror); if she were to consume said person's heart, she would live and stay beautiful forever, no longer needing to drain the youth from others.

Cue Snow White, whom the mirror reveals as being fairer than Ravenna now that she has come of age. Learning this, Ravenna requests her brother to fetch Snow White from her tower prison so that she may eat her heart. Snow White manages to escape, of course. When she is pursued by Ravenna's men, she manages to elude them once more by fleeing into the Dark Forest.

The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is introduced to us a drunkard who is grieving the loss of his wife--one who cannot even win a tavern brawl, yet the Queen has sought him to fetch Snow White from the Dark Forest. He locates Snow White rather quickly (too quick, if you ask me!), and after Snow White pleads with him to help her escape the clutches of Ravenna, he agrees, but not before the rest of the Queen's men catch up to the two of them.  They must then outrun the Queen's men through the Dark Forest.

It is in the Dark Forest that Snow White meets the Seven Dwarves--thankfully named something other than the Disney knockoff.  The Dwarves lead Snow White and the Huntsman into a place called Sanctuary, where the faeries live, but it turns out to be anything but when they are tracked down by the Queen's men.  They manage to escape yet again, this time due to the excellent bowmanship of William (Sam Claflin), the Duke's son and a childhood companion of Snow White.  He has purposefully disguised himself as one of the Queen's men.  (Can we say love triangle? Surely not with Kristen Stewart in the film!)

After they share a kiss, Snow White is poisoned by an apple given to her by William (or at least that is what she thinks).  The real William appears, grief-stricken, and kisses Snow White's cold, dead lips. Her body is then brought to the Duke's castle where a funeral is held; she is brought back to life by a confession of true love and a kiss from the Huntsman. (I guess William was lacking in this department?) Once revived, she convinces the Duke and his army to wage a battle against the evil Queen.

The Good.
I first have to say that the cinematography and the special effects were exceptional. I especially liked the mirror sequences, the scenes in the Sanctuary, as well as the last Dark Forest scene.  And how they managed to shrink Bob Hoskins and the other Dwarves to fit their pint-sized characters is beyond me.  Great Job.  Kristen Stewart did a great job acting the part she was given, but even though she was the title character, her acting was still over-powered by Charlize Theron's.  But that's to be expected, I suppose.

The Bad.
The pacing of the film was too quick in some areas that needed further explanation or development, like the love story between Snow White and the Huntsman... though it was an obvious and expected plot device, given the title, the "love" seemed to come from nowhere.  The end, as well, seemed to fall short.  I am not sure if the writers left it open for a sequel, or if they just ran out of steam.

In other areas that were self-explanatory, it seemed to linger (how many times was it necessary for the audience to revisit the Dark Forest... one that wasn't so dark, in my opinion.

And on that note, the Darkness foreshadowed in the film's cinematography plateaued before ever reaching its expected (my expectations, that is) level.  On this, the Evil Queen lacked conviction, though I wonder if it was Charlize Theron's interpretation or that of the director's?

The Ugly.
The actor selection, in my opinion, was sadly lacking, and it made the film incredulous.  Despite this section's title, I am not saying that Kristen Stewart is ugly.  She's not.  In fact, she has a unique beauty that few ever possess.  BUT, to cast her as the role of Snow White makes no sense at all to me, especially not when she is supposed to be "the fairest one of all."

Compared to Charlize Theron?  Really?

Also, her skin was always dirty in the film, her hair always matted and greasy, and her lips were rarely blood-red.

The actress who played young Snow White shouldn't have been chosen, either.  Her acting was amazing for someone her age, but her appearance did not coincide with the fabled character.  I am pretty sure that Snow White's snow-white skin, blood-red lips, and hair as black as a raven's wing was a constant throughout her life.  The young Snow White in this film had reddish-brown hair and freckles!

The film was enjoyable to watch, but I know if some elements were changed or added, then the film could have been a lot better.  I didn't hate it but I didn't love it, and for this reason I give the film:
3 out of 5 Beards
All-in-all, however, I would say to go watch the film.  It has its moments, and there are enough of them to remedy where it lacks.

Happy Scribing,

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