‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ lost in the woods
Published: 12:50 PM, 06/07/2012
Last updated: 4:13 PM, 06/08/2012
It’s called “Snow White and the Huntsman,” but “Dopey and Sleepy” seems more fitting.
Riddled with poor dialogue and plagued by an uneven screenplay, this fairy tale reimagining is a case of crappily ever after, despite (mostly) solid casting and a high production value.
Although laden with cartoonish special effects, “Snow White and the Huntsman” hardly resembles the animated classic that brought new life to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
It’s dark in that teenage, angst-y kind of way – you know, dark for the sake of being dark, while taking itself way too seriously – and is written in the same manner. Its dialogue seems so juvenile and anachronistic that viewers feel embarrassed for high caliber talent like Charlize Theron (“Monster”) and Bob Hoskins (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”).
First-time director Rupert Sanders is aiming for epic, but his efforts are stuck in the wrong end of a mire between “Twilight” and “Lord of the Rings.” If you need an indication of what end that might be, look no further than “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of the titular Snow White.
Given a decent screenplay, Stewart could deliver an equally decent performance, but stilted writing only brings out her worst, as anyone who’s endured “New Moon” can attest.
But the tedium of “Snow White and the Huntsman” doesn’t rest on her shoulders alone. That falls to Sanders and his screenwriters, who confusingly include the talented Hossein Amini (“Drive”) and John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”). The labored plot and shoddy dialogue seem below them.
A long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away, an evil witch (Theron) murders her king (Noah Huntley, “28 Days Later”) and seizes the throne, imprisoning his young daughter, Snow White, in a castle for years to come.
Obsessed with maintaining her youth through any dark magic necessary, the wicked queen learns that only Snow White’s still-beating heart can grant the eternal youth she seeks, prompting her to over-emote with lines like, “Bring me her heeeeeeaaaaaart!”
But Snow White (Stewart) escapes her tower and flees into a haunted forest that negates the queen’s dark powers. To capture her, the queen enlists the service of a drunken huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, “Thor”), who’s survived the forest’s perils.
Upon finding Snow White and learning that the queen plans to betray him, the huntsman ultimately sides with his quarry, realizing she has the potential to lift the queen’s darkness from the kingdom.
In order for this to happen, though, he’ll have to see her to the stronghold of Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan, 2010’s “Clash of the Titans”), a friend of Snow White’s late father and thorn in the queen’s side.
Along the way, they encounter seven dwarves who’ve taken to banditry, including Ian McShane (HBO’s “Deadwood”), Bob Hoskins (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”), Ray Winstone (“The Departed”), Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead”), Toby Jones (“Captain America”) and Eddie Marsen (“Sherlock Holmes”), all of whom agree to help Snow White defeat the queen and assume the throne.
Stewart’s Snow White isn’t the type to sing with animals in an enchanted forest, instead donning armor, shield and sword to ride into battle. It’s certainly a different take on the fairy tale, just executed poorly.
For a movie that boasts a wide array of characters, it’s utterly bereft of character. The bloated story – at a staggering 127 minutes – is written with action, angst and special effects in mind, forsaking any attempt at character development apart from some flashback backstories.
There’s no sense of real danger, as the film’s characters are so paper-thin that an audience couldn’t care less for their wellbeing. Despite her character’s awful lines, Theron manages to wrench some feeling and even a modicum of sympathy for her evil queen, although it’s the Seven Dwarves who nearly steal the show, despite their miniscule (no pun intended) role.
Better luck next time, perhaps, as Hollywood kicks into dark-reimagining-of-fairy-tales mode. Next up: Bryan Singer’s “Jack the Giant Killer.” One would imagine it’s about “Jack and the Beanstalk” and not an abnormally hefty killer named Jack.
“Snow White and the Huntsman,” rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 12-B or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.