|Vain Queen Ravenna is the impossibly beautiful Charlize Theron.|
Beauty. Vanity. Power. Jealousy.
The dark elements of the story of Snow White, cloaked in fairy tale magic and fantasy, are perfect ingredients for a delicious epic story, with a high potential to be a cinematic dream.
Snow White and the Huntsman offers the sinister and action-adventure side of our beloved childhood fairy tale to rouse horror and suspense reminiscent of 1997's TV movie Snow White: A Tale of Terror (Sigourney Weaver), while keeping intact its sense of fairy tale magic. Medieval castles, enchanted forests and creatures, evil queens, beautiful princesses and handsome princes, it promises a fairy tale movie come true.
So, is it?
So, is it?
|A hush-hush chat with the golden man in the gong-mirror.|
The story centers on the super beautiful but evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her obsession with beauty and power. Her "mirror, mirror on the wall" (which actually looks like a gong) constantly feeds her pride and vanity-- until one day when the man in the mirror blurted out that her stepdaughter, Princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart), who she locked up in the castle tower, has finally replaced her as the fairest of them all. The good and pure Snow White's heart, though, is also the key to Ravenna's eternal youthful beauty— but then Snow White escapes before the queen even had the chance to eat her heart. Filled with rage and beauty anxiety, she recruited a drunk hunstman (Chris Hemworth) to bring Snow White back to her. But the huntsman runs away with Snow White, and so begins their adventures as fugitives, evading the queen's evil army.
|Thor and Bella Swan in the British Isles during the medieval times.|
Directed by British commercial director Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman is visually inspired, taking full advantage of modern-day CGI to put imaginative and creative visual twists to the fantasy elements of the story. The enchanted forest, the magical creatures, and the forest animals in close proximity provide full fairy tale experience, like a dark Disney movie. And along with the queen's melting transformations and Colleen Atwood's noticeably gorgeous costume designs (as always), which are subtle yet distinctly creative and fashion couture without going overboard, it makes the movie even more a visual delight.
|Jean Paul Gaultier versus Colleen Atwood?|
The camera angles look like commercial ads, with inspired sunlight-streaking-on-the-face shots, like moving Instagrams, and spectacular shots of mountains and forests and meadows that evoke a strong sense of place and time. The film's shades and colors paint melancholic landscapes, sad and beautiful, with an undercurrent of fantasy and sinister. It feels like a Lord of the Rings-Tim Burton crossover. However, the editing sometimes feels amateurish, and some scene transitions are awkward and off, conjuring to mind Windows Movie Maker rushed-editing, with some glaring flaws in continuity (one moment the white horse has no reins; next he suddenly has). The scenes feel like snapshots—not edited to tell a story but to show you artistic images; no different from flipping through a magazine.
|The enchanted forest rivals the one at Hogwarts.|
The movie has focused too much on visual effects that except for Theron's Queen Ravenna, the characters lack depth and engagement factor. We don't get any emotional connection with them, except with the queen, whose pain is palpable due to Theron's natural acting prowess. And because she's so stunningly beautiful and suffering from too much internal pain, you won't feel any fear or real hatred towards her—only a mild sense of sympathy. Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, has the face of a pretty princess but her annoying facial expression (with a perpetually open mouth) and poor—and sometimes even embarrassing—performance almost killed her character, and her slurred speech makes her anything but royalty.
|Snow White poisoned by the apple after some flirtatious moves in the woods.|
A love triangle was established between Snow White, the huntsman, and her childhood royalty friend William, but vaguely felt in the movie. No intimate moments shown between Snow White and the two men in her life that would tear us apart the way Edward-Bella-Jacob did the fans. Romance is an important factor in this type of story-- especially in a fairy tale, and this movie weirdly lacks it.
|William (Sam Claflin) loves Snow White because he cried when she 'died'.|
Overall Snow White and the Huntsman will be memorable as a very much entertaining and a visually delightful film. But because of the underdeveloped characters, zero character engagement, and a serious lack of emotional connection (no emotional attachment even to the beloved dwarfs), it won't put you under a magic spell. Nope, you won't find yourself transported into the epic adventure story. Your eyes will be glued to the screen, yes, and gladly so....but you'd still be aware of your cinema seat.
2.75 out of 5 stars
Opens in Philippine theaters on June 1, 2012.