Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

I feel I'm doing a public service with this review. I really only want to spare you as much disappointment and distress as possible. If you haven't already forked over $10 to see Snow White and the Huntsman, spare yourself. Please don't.

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS

Then again, there wasn't much to spoil.

I have always been of the opinion that Snow White should have married the huntsman instead of a prince named Charming. I am a big fan of the scraggly-woodsman-who-turns-out-to-have-hidden-depths-of-nobility-and-intelligence cliche/archetype. I am happy whenever it appears. I heard the title of this movie and thought Oh goodie. Snow White marries the huntsman. That means the huntsman features prominently and displays hidden depths of nobility and intelligence. I may have to see this movie.

Then I saw the casting.

I am not a fan of Thor nor fan of Twilight. I think really I am mostly not a fan of Kristen Stewart or Chris Hemsworth. I don't really mind the book and I prefer my fictional men with short, dark hair, thank you very much.

But I saw the title and thought about how nice it would be for Snow White to marry the huntsman and thought, Okay, I'm pretty sure the writers of Thor were drunk while they wrote it, and not the good famous, writerly, inspired kind of drunk. Just the "Wow, this script I'm writing sucks so bad I think I'll have another drink" sort of drunk. So maybe hunky Chris just got a bad script. Maybe he has hidden depths of acting ability yet unrevealed. And then I thought, Well, Bella Swan is a pretty lame character. She's never happy and she's not good at anything. So maybe the fact that I don't think Kristen Stewart smiled once during the Twilight movies that I saw had to do with the character and not her acting skills. Snow White is a pretty happy character. Hmmm . . .

So as soon as I got back from Paris I asked my mother to go see it with me.

It was nice going out with my mom, but I have to say I haven't seen a movie this disappointing since the new Jane Eyre where they suddenly decided resolutions were no longer necessary for storytelling.

Never mind. I take that back. I saw How Do You Know just the other day and that was pretty fabulously disappointing. More disappointing than Jane Eyre? Not sure.

Anyway, for my conclusions about the film.

This movie was a complete wreck of plotting, writing and acting. It should have hit the slush pile in its infancy and never made it to the big screen. There were so many leads that made me sit up and go Well, that might be cool that they went absolutely no where with. For example, the little silver fairies in the magical land called the Sanctuary (that turned out not to be a sanctuary after all, because the bad guys found it) appeared for just long enough for me to think I know! An adorable fairy army! then vanished never to be seen again. They threw in the White Hart, which is an old, old legend. The White Hart appears, has a weird moment with Snow White, gets shot (shot!) by the bad guys (who some how found the unfindable sanctuary) and then turns into butterflies. WWHAAAATTT?

Cute, but pointless fairies.
With Snow White
petting someone's snout in the background.

There were an amazing number of shots of Snow White (unsmiling, I might add) extending a quivering hand to touch someone's (a troll, the white hart, the huntsman, a child, a troll, a fairy, a dwarf . . .) snout with lots of close ups of her dirty fingernails. I'm not sure what the director was trying to point out by showing us over and over and over again that Snow White has dirty fingernails.

Then, during all the sword fights and running they were setting up what seemed to be shaping up to be a pretty solid love triangle. William, an earl's son and a childhood friend of Snow White, Snow White, and the hunky, bad ass, pleasingly dark-haired huntsman. The thing is called Snow White and the Huntsman so I went in thinking she was going to marry/get together with the huntsman. It's the huntsman's kiss that wakes her from her sleep alright, but is that explained? No. Does Snow White ever know it was the huntsman's kiss that woke her up? No. Does Snow White know it was someone's kiss at all? No. Does Snow White figure it out anyway and marry the huntsman after she has gone all Jean D'Arc and saved her country? No! Does Snow White marry anyone? NO! NO! NO!


How could she not marry this guy?
Especially after she armored up.

Or this guy.
I would have been nearly as happy
if she had married this guy.

How could they set the world up for a fairy tale and have it not end in a wedding? Fairy tales always end in weddings! At least Snow White always ends in a wedding!

She gets crowned queen then stands up and it looks like the huntsman is going to leave, but he stops and smiles at her and she frowns slightly less at him for a moment, then . . . credits! Nothing! No resolution. No love story. No happy ending. And what about William? He suddenly must have fallen through a wormhole or something, because otherwise he would have been in this scene! Looking on jealously or something.

I would also like to point out that Kristen Stewart said almost nothing throughout the entire movie. They took away her lines! They must have known she was a bad actress too. Even her rabble rousing speech at the end was pretty lame.

The one bright spot was the handsome Chris Hemsworth. I have concluded that, while not brilliant, he is a pretty good actor and cute too (especially when he is all conflicted and slightly muddy). He got all the lines they took away from poor Kristen and all of them were better than the ones he got in Thor.


  1. Honestly, I found this movie to be really entertaining. I think you are right though, there really were a lot of leads that went nowhere. Then again if they had followed all the leads it would have been a very long movie or would have required multiple movies. Let's be serious it was tough for me to shell out even the amount I did in support of Bella's career.

    The dirty nail bit cracked me up! I think the writers just knew how talented Bella was with "staring and reaching acting" and they just wanted to make sure they got their money's worth?

    As for the ending I think the writers wanted you to infer what had happened. She is so clearly with the Huntsman. The whole scene she is searching the crowd for someone and we discover it's him when he makes his appearance at the end. William was there for the coronation, but I doubt he knows what is up with Snow White and the Huntsman. He is going to freak when he figures it out. . .although he seems kind of slow so they may have some time to get their stories straight.

    Hey, at least they got the true love's kiss in there! I doubt I'll watch it again, but I feel satisfied.

  2. I'm so glad someone else noticed all the dirty fingernail scenes, too! haha. I was disappointed by SWATH too. It was weird because it potentially had all of the right elements (imo) to make it a great movie, but it wasn't executed properly and the movie really dragged. And like you, I got excited when the fairies came out, only to be disappointed when nothing came of that. Oh well :(

  3. I haven't seen it, but I did enjoy Stewart in the Runaways (most random casting ever, but I liked it.) She seems to either really, really suck or be pretty good. As for "no romance" that sounds right up my ally! Even better there's no wedding! Maybe at least that wouldn't make me want to roll my eyes so hard they fall out ;)

    But I have to say I had no desire to see this movie. Just Charlize's acting in the trailers alone was pretty awful.

    1. I'm am glad there are people in the world who appreciate romanceless movies. I, however, am not one of them. Okay, sometimes I appreciate them. I just feel that I was promised romance and a scraggly hero with hygiene and trust issues and they did not deliver.

  4. What a misleading title! I totally expected Snow White and the Huntsman to be together in the end and then - nothing. Even if she married William, it would be better than that inconclusive ending. I was so disappointed. Apart from that, I quite liked this film, even Kristen seemed tolerable (Maybe it was because she didn't speak much, huh? Also, I didn't notice dirty fingernails) and I thought it was visually very rich. But now that I have read your review, I have to agree with you - there are so many things that are started and never finished. Basically, there are a lot of things taken from all over the folklore and literature and just thrown together randomly.

  5. I was disappointed with the end too. What was that? A sort of relieved look the hunstman is there and then... NOTHING. Ah!

    I did like Chris Hemsworth though and I thought Charlize Theron was pretty creepy and freaky. Although I like Kristen Stewart in Twilight, here she was almost exactly the same. And I noticed the dirty fingernails too.

  6. After seeing this movie, I tried to diagnose its problems and found this difficult...probably because the problems were just too numerous to sum up nicely. Here's what I did conclude:

    1. It was, indeed, visually striking. VERY MUCH SO. But while that makes one heck of a trailer, it does NOTHING to create a story.

    2. As Tyler-Rose mentioned, a lot of random, random stuff that had nothing to do with the plot. This reinforced the feeling that the movie was a montage of gorgeous cinematic images rather than a serious attempt at storytelling.

    3. No emotional stakes whatsoever. I wasn't worried for a second that things weren't going to turn out okay in the end...and if they didn't, I wouldn't have cared.

    4. Failure to create believable characters. Whether it was the writing, the filming ,the casting, the acting, or all of the above, I was not convinced that these were real people whom I should care about.

    5. The end...? For me, it felt like the movie stopped about 2/3 of the way through the story. Maybe if they took out all the random scenes, they would have had time to finish.

    1. And Tyler-Rose, I did think of you and your love of the "scraggly-woodsman-who-turns-out-to-have-hidden-depths-of-nobility-and-intelligence cliche/archetype." :) Too bad they didn't do it justice...

    2. I felt he was one of the better parts of the movie :)

  7. This was an interesting post. I haven't seen the movie yet, but my sister-in-law has been bugging me that it's a have-to-see. I'm not a Kristin Steward fan (I'm not convinced she can act.) and I hate endings like what you've described. I need my happy fairy tales - life proves otherwise often enough.

    1. You are perfectly right. She can't act. This proves it. And I'm sure she weeps on her way to the bank.

  8. I was so looking forward to this movie, but I have to agree with everything you've said above. Such a massive disappointment!

    At the beginning it looked like it was going to be Snow White and the Huntsman (you know, like the title says) gearing up to fight the big bad. But by the end they seemed to be going with some weird feminism angle, setting up Snow White against the Queen as two women from opposite ends of the spectrum. Apparently for the feminism thing to work, Snow White had to be completely independent of all the male characters, and the huntsman had to be sidelined.

    It just seems like there were two camps making this movie, one that was pushing militant feminism, and the other that wanted a good old-fashioned fairy-tale romance. All they ended up with was a disappointing mess.