SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (M)
Where: On general release
When: From June 21
Review: Alana Schetzer
THIS must be the year of Snow White. The Julia Roberts vehicle Mirror Mirror has already been released and hit television series Once Upon a Time mixes old world fairy tales with contemporary settings.
Snow White and the Huntsman is the latest attempt to rework the classic tale, and is arguably the best. Dark in tone, rich in quality special effects and well-rounded characters, and with Kristen Stewart in the lead role, it packs a visual punch and ticks all the boxes required of a blockbuster.
After her father, the king, dies, Snow White’s stepmother, the evil Queen Ravenna (a scene-stealing Charlize Theron), locks her away. When Ravenna is told she must kill and eat Snow White’s heart to guarantee her youth and immortality, Snow White escapes into the feared Dark Forest, where the hunter (Chris ‘‘Thor’’ Hemsworth) is sent to find her. Instead he helps her to fight for her rightful crown and free her people from the queen’s tyranny.
Where the film falls short is its pace, which lags in areas – especially at the beginning when it tells the well-known backstory. There’s probably one action scene too many, which comes at the expense of the story. More time spent fleshing out some characters would have added the extra depth to elevate this beyond its fantasy/action expectations.
There are also a few inconsistencies but they can be overlooked, considering the scale of the project and the fact that it’s director Rupert Sanders’ first film. He is to be commended for the use of handheld cameras for several scenes, which adds to the thrills.
The first battle scene, featuring soldiers of black glass, is spectacular. Oscar-winning Theron pulls off a controlled, psychological portrayal of the evil queen, who is obsessed with the power her beauty brings. Her Ravenna will re-set the standard of female movie villains.
Twilight star Stewart brings a spirited determination to her role as the protagonist, who although she is the ‘‘fairest of them all’’, is much more of a warrior-in-training than a beauty queen. This Snow White is a young woman consumed with justice and a dawning sense of responsibility to end the evil queen’s reign.
A special mention must be made about Ravenna’s costumes; the gothic style makes heavy use of black feathers and dark metals, which contrast beautifully with the queen’s virginal-like blonde beauty.
It’s an ambitious film but, like most fairy tales, it gets to live happily ever after.