Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Not Quite the Fairest: Snow White and the Huntsman
dwarves do not whistle while they work.
They are not so hot when it comes to comic relief in general, but they
are still devoted to a certain princess, as is most of their fairy tale
realm. That is why she is such a threat
to the despotic Queen Ravenna, her wicked stepmother. Straying from familiar
Disney territory, the latest live action adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy
tale takes on overtones of Joan of Arc as the protagonist rallies the troops in
Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the
opens today nationwide.
Magnus, Snow White’s widower father chose the wrong second wife. He does not even make it to the
honeymoon. The narcissistic Ravenna’s
reign is harsh, even depressing the natural environment around her imposingly cinematic
castle. However, she gets a rather
unwelcomed surprise from her magic mirror when Snow White comes of age. She is no longer the fairest of them
all. The prisoner of the North Tower
is. Thanks to the help of sundry beasts
and birds, Snow White escapes her captivity, only to find herself in the
supernaturally ominous Dark Forest.
Snow White’s purity for uncanny purposes, the Queen sends in Eric, a drunkard
huntsman who happens to be one of the few mortals to venture through the forest
and live to tell the tale. Fortunately,
the Huntsman does not take direction well.
As a result, he will have to contend with her loyal Game of Thrones-ish brother, his armored forces, and a fair number
of monsters. A small band of short eccentrics
might be able to help them. There is
also some business with an apple.
is Snow White, done kind of-sort of faithfully.
However, it spends far too much time aimlessly trudging about the Dark
Forest. Frankly, the film really starts
to take off when it diverges from Grimm, becoming an old fashioned
fight-for-freedom epic. Indeed, it is
refreshing to see a less passive Snow White, leading the resistance into battle
like its St. Crispin’s Day.
fact, Kristen Stewart rather exceeds expectations balancing vulnerability and a
suitably regal presence as Snow White. Chris
“Thor” Hemsworth might not be venturing too far out of his comfort zone here,
but he swings the battle axe as well as the war hammer. Though played by great (full sized) actors
like Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, and Eddie Marsan, the dwarves just
look weird. They are not funny, but they
are still rather shticky. However, it is
Charlize Theron who really puts a stamp on the picture, vamping it up and
chewing the scenery with sheer evil delight as Ravenna, while her apparent age
yo-yo’s up and down (getting a crucial assist from the crack team of make-up
from commercials to big special effect-laden features, Sanders creates a richly
detailed fantasy world, particularly the striking castle, in both interior and
exterior shots. However, one has to
wonder just who is the intended audience for a dark brooding version of Snow White, served with a reasonable
helping of hack and slash action. In
fact, those looking for happily-ever-after romance might find the film leaves
them cold, while the laughably clunky dialogue is not likely to do much for
White and the Huntsman is
an odd assortment mismatched parts, but some of those pieces are admittedly
entertaining. Ironically, it would not be
a good date movie because those who are reluctantly dragged into it might find
it more enjoyable than expected, whereas their dates will likely be
disappointed by it. A mixed bag best
saved for post-theatrical viewing options, it opens nationwide today (6/1),
including the AMC 34th Street and AMC Kips Bay in New York.
Labels: Charlize Theron, Fairy tale cinema