Movie News

The fairest of them all, Capone, is decidedly mixed on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN!!!

Published at: June 1, 2012, 1:53 a.m. CST by Capone

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

It's a story we all know well. Hell, we just had it told to us in movie form mere weeks ago in a breezier version called MIRROR MIRROR. But I can honestly say, I've never seen the Snow White story told in which the heroine puts on a suit of armor, takes up arms, and starts hacking and stabbing away at people. I kind of like that idea, if only to radically alter to familiar story and make it fresh and unpredictable. In theory.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN gets a lot right in its bleak, surprisingly dark tale, beginning and ending with just how gorgeous the film looks—both the scenery and the special effects. The tale opens with Snow White as a child and her happy parents, the king and queen of this land. But after the mother dies, the inconsolable father meets Ravenna (Charlize Theron, played to the last row of the balcony), who tricks the king into marrying her and then turns around and kills the poor man and steals his youth. Much like the other recent version of the evil Queen, Ravenna is literally a soul-sucking witch who absorbs youth and beauty to stay young herself.

For reasons that are never made clear, Ravenna allows Snow White to live, albeit in a tower prison where she grows up to be Kristen Stewart. The Queen is assisted by her albino-looking brother Finn (Sam Spruell), and there are even hints that there may be a somewhat incestuous relationship afoot (I told you this shit got dark). In a moment of desperation when her supply of young beauties to drain grows short, Raveena calls for Snow White. Finn decides to molest Snow White a little (I told you!) before taking her to his sister, and she fights back and escapes in the Dark Forest, which provides Snow White (and us) with quite a few terrifying moments.

The Queen enlists the help of one of the few men in the kingdom who knows how to navigate the forest, a drunken, grieving huntsman played by Chris Hemsworth, whose wife has recently died. As you'd expect, once Hemsworth and Snow White meet, he decides he's on the wrong side of this fight and helps her escape the Queen's men, led by Finn.

Their odyssey provides some of the film's finest and most visually stunning moments, and I'm guessing that has something to do with first-time director (and visual stylist and commercial director) Rupert Sanders, who paints the frame with creatures I've never seen quite like this before that seems to be a combination of familiar animals melded with nature. This vision of a fairyland reminds us that this is not simply a sword-and-armor movie, but an actual fantasy adventure that has shots and ideas which seem lent from THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and other works with a sweeping scope.

Of course, the seven dwarves are here, and the biggest surprise there (at least for me) was the caliber of actor they got to play these characters, including the likes of Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Ian MacShane and Nick Frost. I had no idea these actors were in this movie, and the visual effects that convert these full-size men into dwarves is incredible and seamless.

But perhaps even more shocking is just how disturbing SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN was willing to go at times. The swordplay is largely bloodless, but moments like the king's death are still pretty shocking. More troubling (I don't mean that as a negative, by the way) is when Snow White and the Huntsman stumble upon a small village occupied only by women of various ages wearing scarves across their faces. At first you think it's for modestly, but it is revealed that the woman (and children) have actually self-mutilated their faces to remove their beauty and make them less of a target for the Queen. Holy shit.

Eventually, Snow White and her protector gather enough of a following (thanks in large part to discovering that she may have some degree of magic about her) that they are able to form an army and attack the Queen in her castle. Among those in Snow White's guard is her childhood friend William (Sam Claflin), who is the closest thing to a love interest she gets, although some may argue that the Huntsman is more in love with her.

In many ways, I admired SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN for its ambition. Add to that a great number of strong performances, and you have yourself a solid summer movie. The reason that isn't completely the case is Stewart, who seems to barely be keeping up with the proceedings, especially in the more action-oriented moments. I happen to be someone who thinks Stewart is a very good actress (if you ignore the TWILIGHT movies), but I think she's the wrong choice for a battle-ready Snow White.

In one scene, she gives what is meant to be a rousing speech to her followers before going into battle, and it just plain falls flat. Christ, she had Thor standing right next to her; she should have let him rally the troops. Stewart fares better in the film's quieter moments or pretty much anytime she isn't carrying a weapon. I get why they cast her; it just doesn't work. And her tepid performance was enough to knock my feelings on the film down a peg or two. But if you find Kristen Stewart too irresistible for words or can somehow overlook her lack of any type of leadership vibe, you may find yourself enjoying this somewhat worthy entry in the fantasy genre.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • June 1, 2012, 1:55 a.m. CST

    FIRST

    by Cdiesel77

  • June 1, 2012, 2:04 a.m. CST

    You're seeing this for Theron and the visuals...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Nothing is wrong with that. It's why I'm seeing it.

  • June 1, 2012, 2:12 a.m. CST

    Spoiler notice, perhaps?

    by justmyluck

  • June 1, 2012, 2:15 a.m. CST

    "I get why they cast her."

    by wackybantha

    I was wondering, do you think they cast her solely for ticket sales or because she's a cute, young, known actress? Or both? Or neither? I also think she's a good actress outside of the Twilight films. But it is hard to think of her as a sword wielding warrior. Maybe a few more of these types of roles will help combat this.

  • June 1, 2012, 2:26 a.m. CST

    You had me at...

    by Jonathan

    "...Finn decides to molest Snow White a little." >_<

  • or at least not with anywhere near the budget

  • June 1, 2012, 2:40 a.m. CST

    village of women

    by Bass Ackwards

    Wow that is a really fantastic (and fucked up) idea that totally makes sense in this world, the kind that makes you wonder how no one ever thought it up before (unless someone had).

  • June 1, 2012, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Aim it at her tits, Eddie...

    by Fa Fa Fooey

    Loves me some Charlize...

  • June 1, 2012, 3:25 a.m. CST

    buckethead50

    by DidntPullOutInTimeCop

    Guess you won't be seeing The Hobbit then?

  • June 1, 2012, 3:27 a.m. CST

    I watched the movie (spoilers) my mini review

    by Supermans

    I have to say I had very low expectations when going into this film. As most of you will agree with me, Kristin Stewart has about two facial expressions she uses throughout any given time in the entire movie. The way she expresses joy, love, happiness, and even shedding a tear in one scene all are just about the same look. Now there was one scene in the film which I enjoyed where Thor was fighting a big ugly Troll underneath a Troll-bridge. This scene looked very much like anything out of Lord of the Rings in terms of quality. CGI has become so commonplace now that it is to be expected to look great. However I think the Director should have used some of his CGI budget and enhanced Kristin Stewarts facial expressions like what was done to Jim Carrey in The Grinch. Now as I said above Thor fights a Troll and gets his but whooped. The Troll gets defeated because Kristin Stewart walks up to it and gives it her famous expressionless stare. I know I would run away in the same manner if I was being stared at by her. So in that sense the movie had some realism thrown in. I do have to say I was pretty tired after a long day of work when I went to go see this movie, so I had trouble at certain points staying awake as it gets pretty slow and drawn out between action scenes. I give it a 7 out of 10.

  • June 1, 2012, 4:34 a.m. CST

    In what world...

    by Schadenfreude

    ...is Kristen Stewart fairer than Charlize Theron?

  • I'd still like to see this in a theater for the visuals = matinee fare.

  • June 1, 2012, 5:48 a.m. CST

    Fairest?

    by Tony

    Kristen The One Note Basilisk Stewert fairer than Charlize Theron!?! My Irish arse is she!!!!

  • June 1, 2012, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Too bad Peter Dinklage as good taste in scripts

    by textual

    He could probably play all 7 as wholly unique characters.

  • June 1, 2012, 5:59 a.m. CST

    How anyone can find Kristin Stewart pretty or hawt is beyond me!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    I ound it laughable that 2 guys(from Twilight) was fighting over her and willing to die for her. She aint ugly but there no way is she gorgeous, hot, pretty, or whatever. And to make her Snow White?! Get the fuck outta here. Guess this is the first time I'm rooting for the evil queen!

  • June 1, 2012, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Nail on the head, phlegmzubal.

    by Darkman

    There's 'suspension of disbelief', and then there's 'give me a fucking break!'.

  • June 1, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    I had a "FIRST" once. Jealous? :^)

    by StatelyWayneManor

    Oh, yeah..saw this last night. Skip any scene without Charlize in it. Trust me.

  • Stewart should only play stoners.

  • June 1, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    I'm assuming fairest meant nicest...

    by StatelyWayneManor

    ...because Charlize makes K. Stew look like a little boy.

  • June 1, 2012, 11 a.m. CST

    Macho heroines don't belong in a fairy tale

    by Crobran

    I'm tired of having characters like Elizabeth Swann, who, in spite of having no training that we know of suddenly know how to fight with swords and captain a ship full of brigands. If the Wizard of Oz was filmed today, I guarantee you Dorothy would wind up in a fight against the Wicked Witch's guards, dispatching several at a time with a spectacularly choreographed sweep of her lance. She'd slay at least one of them as he ran at her from behind, without having to even look at him. She would in fact look pointedly away from him just to prove her badassness. The poster with Snow White holding a daggar and wearing pants makes me think "Where's Snow White? Is that the 'huntsman'?" Not that I'm a chauvinist, mind you. I just want the classical fairy tale formula. I want a female lead like Lily in Legend.

  • June 1, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I totally agree crisp_one

    by jawaburger

    I thought the same thing about Keira Knightly in that. King Arthur movie.

  • June 1, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Harry's Idiotic Definition of "Fair"

    by Admiral Nelson

    Posting this again, because I simply can't get over how jaw-droppingly ignorant his review was. "Fair" means "fair complexion, not "equitable" (why the hell would an evil queen give a rat's ass about "equity?") Changing the definition of words just to fit Harry's own lack of education is just ignorant -- a dog doesn't magically become a cat just because I call it one. At the time this story was written, "light-skinned" was synonymous with "beautiful" and "pleasing to look at." Even today, people in India or China often equate light-colored skin with being more beautiful -- the darker your skin, the lower your status, because it means you have to work in the sun. It's both class and race mixed in one ugly, bigoted package.

  • June 1, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Jawaburger

    by Crobran

    Perfect example. I'd forgotten about that movie - haven't even seen it. Should I spend my time on it?

  • June 1, 2012, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Where was Rachel McAdams when K-Stew was cast as Snow White?

    by Cheif Brody

    Christ...Rule 1 of ANY Snow White film...Snow has to be as hot, if not HOTTER than the goddamned Queen! <p> I can think of 20 actresses hotter & more talented (with more facial expressions) than this girl who is only getting hired because she lucked out and landed that Twilight gig. <p> Studios will soon learn...the only reason the Twilight movies are so popular AIN'T because of Kristin...It's the emo vampire and the were wolf gym rat that are putting millions of 14 year old girls in those theater seats. <p> Stewart's just their (wooden, vapid) stand in for their 2 hour fantasy wish fullfillment experience.

  • June 1, 2012, 1:48 p.m. CST

    @Chief Brody - Dead On, Sir

    by Admiral Nelson

    You nailed it completely. Stewart is simply a blank slate which the tween girls can draw themselves on. Perfect summation.

  • June 1, 2012, 2:18 p.m. CST

    kstew sucks

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    and Im not even gonna mention twilight. but she fucking sucked in adventureland. many people here said she did good... so playing a cunt makes you a good character? maybe it was the way her character was written, but she sucked. insufferable cunt. plus, all the "acting" she did was basically a joey potter/katie holmes ripoff from dawsons creek. seriously, she did the hair behind the ear thing more than mrs cruise movie sucked purely because kstews character/acting... ps: lisap!

  • June 1, 2012, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Fair might have another interpretation

    by Ash Talon

    I think too many of you may be missing an aspect to the whole "fairest" aspect to the story. <p> Did you ever think that the evil queen is just wrong with the belief that "fairest" means beautiful in a physical (ie vain) way? She's incapable of understanding that "fairest" might be the most beautiful in virtue and moral value. <p> Hence, Snow White doesn't need to be better looking than the evil queen. She shouldn't be. The tale, if it's to have moral relevance to our times, should be about inner worth. Not superficiality. How you guys don't get this speaks volumes to problems in our society. <p> That said, I haven't seen the movie (yet). Not do I like Stewart as an actress.

  • June 1, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST

    "Fairest" Vs "Most Beautiful" argument...

    by Cheif Brody

    Yes...there's two definitions of "fairest"...the vain one...and the moral compass/inner worth one... And any good adaptation of Snow White's story should include both definitions...and it appears this adaptation has a healthy dose of both meanings.<p> The Queen makes the mistake of asking The Mirror the wrong question. She is obsessed with the "vanity" definition...or "most beautiful in all the land" question...thus, her need for "soul botoxing" throughout the movie...to preserve her gorgeous appearance. Meanwhile her "inner worth" is sorely lacking. <p> Whereas, Snow White represents the other definition of "fairest"... Untouched by evil thoughts & ways even though her life began with tragedy.... but she also happens to be drop dead gorgeous...which makes her the ideal prize for the Queen. <p> The "most beautiful" definition always gets the the top billing in most cases...afterall...one of the main characters in the story is a fucking MIRROR! The most vainity inducing item in the universe....But it's the "inner beauty" within Snow White that always triumphs in the end. <p> That's exactly why that particular Grimm tale is genius...and a classic story for all time. <p> Just saying...Casting Stewart was NOT a genius decision...and will probably keep this adaptation from being the fairest live-action Snow White..."of them all".

  • June 1, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    I kind of loved it

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    The visuals are STUNNING throughout, like a mixutre of Ridley Scott and Hayao Miyazaki, and Charlize Theron is HOT as FUCK and terrifying at the same time. The story is no great shakes (one imagines a lot of character-building footage hit the cutting room floor, particularly for the Dwarves), but it's worth seeing for the visuals alone, Theron and Chris Hemsworth kicking ass. K-Stew is mediocre, but name ONE Snow White actress who has been given anything of worth to the character...she's INTENDED to be a gorgeous blank. Loved the Dwarf special effects.

  • June 1, 2012, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Largely Agree with Review

    by tallsy

    But I have to say that I found no chemistry between Stewart and Hemsworth. And ten gets you twenty that the film's ending originally had them more explicitly together, but test audiences didn't like the change from the traditional story. Because that ending looked reshot.

  • June 1, 2012, 11:35 p.m. CST

    I think Snow White's sweet naivete was what inspired the troops.

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Not so much the content or vigor of her speech. They rally behind her because of her purity and courage, rather than her rousing confidence. They will fight to restore the innocence that Snow Whaite embodies and she will lead them not as a warrior but as their spiritual muse.

  • June 2, 2012, 4:09 a.m. CST

    KS sn't the gorgeous-est in the land, but she has a cute

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

    boy/girl-ish face with a pixie slightly upturned nose and sexy legs which she is aware of and always shows--oh, and the awkward/apprehensive lip-bite-y grin she is usually attempting is a bit of a turn on. Would do, most definitely.

  • June 2, 2012, 10:25 a.m. CST

    I'm disappointed in your review, Capone

    by D.Vader

    You say that you are decidedly mixed on the movie, but most of your review is filled with praises for the film. The only detractor you really focus on comes at the end, and its Kristen Stewart? That's it? There's no real mention of how well Thor acts, or if this is really Charlize Theron's movie (as the ads imply) and how well she carries the movie. There's no real discussion of script or plotting or pacing. I guess I expected more from you on why this is mixed, more than just Kristen Stewart didn't deliver in a speech scene that was supposed to be "rousing" but fell flat instead. Did you rush on this one?

  • June 2, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    The Queen's Brother is Rocky Horror

    by Bald Evil

    Once you see it, you can't un-see it.