Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Fails to live up to the Fairy Tale Expectations

Snow White and the Huntsman (2 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Rupert Sanders 
Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), Hossein Amini (Drive)
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Hemsworth

The beauty of fairy tales is there are numerous versions, and even though there can be an origin story, fairy tales have been adapted through time to teach lessons or to of course continue the legend.  Snow White started as German tale, and was adapted throughout the years by a variety of people ranging from the Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney.  Although these two versions are not the only ones they are the most famous.  The Grimm Brothers created the magic mirror, and the poisoned apple.  While Walt Disney created a much less darker family friendly version where he was he was the person to name the dwarfs.  Who is surprised that Walt Disney love German fairy tales? I am not.

This year has provided a lot of obsession over the Snow White myth.  Lost creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, put Snow and the Evil Queen at center stage for the battle over fairy tale land and Storybrook in the ABC series Once Upon a Time.  Ginnifer is a great Snow White/Mary Margaret, but the show does not have as much magic in my opinion.  In March of 2012 Tarsem Singh brought Mirror Mirror which centered around a lighter version of Snow White, with Julia Roberts as the Wicked Queen.  I skipped Mirror Mirror looking at the preview made me want to laugh and not in a good way.Then came what appeared to be the darkest most action packed story to date from Rupert Sanders in his directorial debut.  Each version has taken liberty with the story and showed the beauty of adapting a story, but have each of these versions tried to hard, or complicated the myth? Possibly.

Snow White and the Huntsman opens with a narration from Chris Hemsworth with Snow's mother pricking her finger on a red rose that lived within the fallen snow.  As in the fairy tale Snow's mother dies and her father is consumed with grief.  In this version an army takes advantage of his grief, and attacks, in that attackhe finds a beautiful female prisoner, and makes her his bride.  On the weeding night this beautiful bride named Ravena (Theron) kills the king and takes the kingdom for her own; she then holds Snow White (Stewart) captive in the tower until she escapes and the Huntsman (Hemsworth) is sent to track her down.

Sanders took a on a lot in his directorial debut, one of the most grandiose in art direction and production design, not to mention some incredible visual effects, including some intense battle scenes.  While the art direction was superb it could not save the poor writing.  This film went big, but left the heart of the story behind.  With three screenwriters pulling the string the film felt overlong and burdened with far too much adaptation of the original myth. Why did we meet Snow White's boy hood friend the "prince" if he would serve no real purpose? Why did they make this queen like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty?  While Theron was easily the most entertaining part of this film, the writers took the character a few steps too far. They explored all of the magical lands/area, but where were they and what was their connection to the kingdom?  These unanswered questions proved to bog down the film immensely. 

The film ended up being number one at the box office because of the intense action packed trailer, which probably brought in more guys.  The only problem was that Ravena tricked you enough into believing the film was more than it was.  The film slows down in the middle, almost too much, and focuses on a less than convincing Stewart as Snow White.  Stewart is one of the weakest actresses working today; she is an unconvincing female lead who has never grown up, she should be in Peter Pan.  I love watching Hollywood become creative with fairy tale myth, but they have to remember quality over quantity, and this film fails to live up to the fairy tale expectations.

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