After a great deal of anticipation and hype Universal Pictures finally releases its big budget take on the Disney tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; however this time armed with the edgier title Snow White and the Huntsman. 2012 has seen the revival and remakes of many Disney classics, including the less than impressive Mirror Mirror, a PG take on Miss White’s troubled life. Although effectively entertaining children, it failed to live up to my expectations. This time armed with a A-List cast featuring Charlize Theron, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman have all the ingredients to make a epic rendition of the traditional tale.
Snow White and the Huntsman begins with a rundown on the King and Queen’s life with little Snow White (Stewart), making references to famous quotations from the storybook and film. The immediate difference after watching only a few minutes is the gloomy, sinister atmosphere. Disney is a far cry from this creation. No bright colours and smiles all around in this Kingdom. With a 100% more sword fights Snow Whites father meets the “New Queen” (Theron) during battle. Little did he know his second wedding day would be his last.
Now an orphan Snow White is at the complete mercy of Ravenna – Step Mother from the deepest depths of hell. Banised to the very top of a tower – Repunzle style – the whole kingdom is under new rule. Poverty takes over and the next decade sees misery and darkness. That is until Snow White, finally having reached boiling point escapes her prison – her aim to get as far away as possible and plan the demise of Her Royal Highness.
In one of Snow White and the Huntsman’s twists on the mythology – Ravenna orders her incestuous brother to find someone to track her down – enter The Huntsman (Hemsworth). Angry at the world, desperate for happiness and drunk he agrees to find Miss White if she brings back his dead wife. All’s fair in love and war after all. Snow White’s sanctuary in a time of trouble tends to be of a rather challenging nature, the Dark Forest is there to kill rather than protect unbeknown to her. The Huntsman knowing it like the back of his hand finds her swiftly; however after his deal falls through he switches and decides to help Snow instead of delivering her to her death.
What follows in Snow White and the Huntsman is a chain of events that entertains, keeping the audience enthralled. As said before, this is Disney but with a mix of spice and violence. Snow White and the Huntsmen moves further away from the genre that most recognise to be “Disney” and into the realm of imagination with a kick in the ass. The plot is tense and brutal.
Not only should I commend the writers and “idea factory” behind Snow White and the Huntsman, the actors also need to be acknowledged. Kristen Stewart who often has a face like a smacked arse, is likeable. Her English accent – touch and go but her fire and passion in the role, especially at the end, led me to over look the one minor detail. No longer miserable love sick teenager, she becomes a Joan of Arc-like version of Snow White, unafraid to get her hands dirty. Refreshing! Chris Hemsworth, although I love him so, is not the best actor. Despite this he really pulls his socks up and throws himself into The Huntsman. His fury, sadness and brutishness are endearing, making all women swoon when his eyes fill with tears. However Snow White and the Huntsman’s ‘Best Role’ has to go to Charlize Theron. Her take on the Evil Queen, Ravenna, is simply mesmerising. She’s psychotic, pissed off, unhinged and twitchy. Taking evil to another level, I felt like she truly hates the world. The look in her eyes said it all and if a film can make her behave this way, I feel sorry for anyone that ever crosses her. Casting was spot on.
Snow White and the Huntsman’s “dwarfs” who were actually actors shrunk down (Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones etc.) provided comedy but also became “fighters of the cause”. I found their role pivotal, bringing together all the elements of the “traditional film” and this revitalised version. The humour was sarcastic and edgy – taking away the silliness often linked with the 7 Dwarfs. Snow White and the Huntsman is proof that mixing things up and straying from the “norm” is the only way to do things. Hollywood needs to sit up and take notice.