HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9257[/img]Title: Snow White and the Huntsman
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Noah Huntley, Charlize Theron
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Written by: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Runtime: 131 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 11th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:82.5
This year has been the year for Snow White remakes, it seems. Earlier, we had the cheeky and lighthearted “Mirror, Mirror,” and now we have its antithesis, the dark and menacing “Snow White and the Huntsman.” While the previous rendition slipped under the radar, “Snow White and the Huntsman” is a big, bold, highly marketed, over-the-top blockbuster, infused with big name Actors and all the baggage that brings with it.
The film starts with good King Magnus (Noah Huntley), ruling the peaceful land of Tabor with love and devotion along with his wife Eleanor. However, to the despair of King Magnus, a malady strikes the lovely queen and nothing can be done to save her. Sick with despair after his wife’s death, Magnus is so distracted and grief-stricken that he succumbs to the manipulation of lovely prisoner of war Ravenna (Charlize Theron), and marries her within a day. While stunningly beautiful, Ravenna has a few secrets of her own. She is, in fact, a centuries old sorceress who, like the black widow, seduces and marries kings and then kills them, usurping their kingdoms. On her wedding night, she murders King Magnus, slaughters all the royal court save for Magnus’ daughter Snow White (Kristin Stewart), and brings in an army commandeered by her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) to solidify her rule.
While King Magnus was a loving and generous king, giving life and prosperity to his kingdom, Ravenna is cruel and vicious, sucking her kingdom dry of all its resources and (quite literally) life. The common man now lives in squalor, while Ravenna sits in luxury atop the fortress castle. However, hope is still alive: a neighboring noble has formed a resistance to Ravenna, and while outmatched and outgunned, he and his son William (Sam Claflin) struggle on, giving sanctuary to those who escape the rotting Tabor. Meanwhile, Snow White, imprisoned in the castle tower, has aged from a young girl to become a full-fledged young woman. When Snow White becomes the target of Ravenna’s lust for immortality and youth, she takes advantage of Finn's negligence and escapes, fleeing into the Dark Forest. Not to be thwarted, Ravenna coerces the help of a huntsman who knows the terrain (Chris Hemsworth) to track down Snow White and bring her back. Just as the story of old, the Huntsman has a change of heart upon seeing Snow White, but unlike the fairytale, he decides to stay on and act as her protector and eventual romantic interest in a love triangle.
Throughout the middle act of the film, Snow White and the Huntsman begin their journey to overthrow Ravenna, meeting with some unlikely allies - a set of 8 dwarves (played by the likes of acting legends Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins etc) - and have a very “Princess Monnonoke” blessing by a resident forest god. Finally, they reach the epicenter of refugees and rebels, where Snow White finally sees her purpose: to lead the resistance against the tower and take back the throne that is rightfully hers.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9262[/img]I was really intrigued about this flick when I saw the original trailers. It looked a new and different take on the classic fairy tale. In some ways, bringing it back to its grimm (excuse the pun) roots. However, my enthusiasm was tempered when I realized that Kristen Stewart was playing the lead role. Before I go any further, I’m not one of those people who bashes Kristen Stewart because she played in “Twilight;” I bash Kristen Stewart because she is an absolutely HORRIBLE actress who has one facial expression for every emotion known to man. Personally, I think she makes Taylor Laughtner look like Lawrence Olivier. Just as I feared, Kristen Stewart WAS the worst part of this film. While the movie had its own pacing and writing flaws, Kristen just took what was “tolerable” in the film and made it plain awful. Emotionless, flat, and stale, she sucked the life out of Snow White and left her a hollow shell. The best example of her lack of range came at the very end of the film when she gives a rousing speech to the Resistance. What was supposed to be an emotional plea for justice and a call to arms sounded like a monotone reading of the minutes for a city board meeting. Aside from that, the film also suffered from being overly ambitious. There were just too many ideas crammed into a two hour film. The pacing was also a bit hit or miss. The film wandered from being a drama, to being a romance, to being an out-and-out action movie with some rather unrealistic leaps of logic (I mean, how are we to believe that Snow White, a girl who has been cooped in a jail cell for 10 years, can suddenly wield a sword with no training and take on professional soldiers with ease).
Now, the film did have a lot of good going for it as well. The romance between the Huntsman and Snow White was a bit more subtle and believable than I would have imagined in a fairy tale. The Huntsman is a grieving widower who has to wrestle with his demons before he’s allowed to shift the brotherly compassion he has for Snow White into something more. And let us not forget the dwarves, easily the brightest spot in the film. Instead of doing the normal Hollywood habit of hiring little people for the roles, they chose to go the Gimli route and cast normal sized actors and then digitally alter them to look smaller. Personally, I thought that was a brilliant route since they chose some actors who not only looked the part of a craggy dwarf, but could also act. The chemistry between the dwarves was brilliantly played and very obviously well-taken by the viewers. One little tidbit here: the Hollywood association of little people actually tried to sue the film for “discrimination against little people” for not choosing ACTUAL dwarves to play the dwarves.
Overall the film was not that bad, it had its cons and it had its pros, but ultimately it came down to Kristin Stewart turning an already flawed film into an absolutely agonizing bore fest.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9260[/img]Video wise, the film is just about flawless. “Snow White and the Huntsman” was shot on the famed RED digital cameras, and as a result looks exemplary. Compression is not even an issue on a full 50 gig disc, and digital noise luckily decided that it wasn't welcome at this party. Colors are absolutely gorgeous! Reds, blues, greens and blacks, the whole gambit are rich and full, saturating the screen in a seductive and enticing manner. Snow White’s famed apple looks so real and so rich that I almost wanted to take a bit of it myself. Blacks are probably the best I've seen in a film for a long time. The movie has a dark tinge to it during the forest scenes and inside Ravenna’s castle, so there is ample time for the blacks to show a flaw. Luckily for us, shadow detail is incredible and the blacks just seep and ooze out of every poor like the mud in the dark forest. Fine detail is incredible. Faces are impeccably shown every hair, every line on a person’s face recreated with pinpoint accuracy. Even those famed long shots were as sharp and detailed as the facial shots. Overall, an incredible picture.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9259[/img]"Enveloping" is the best word I can use to describe the audio. It totally sucks you in to the middle of the scene and makes you believe that you’re actually there. Sounds emanate from all sides, making incredible use of the surrounds. Arrows whistle past your ear, a horse thunders along at full gallop beside you, and glass soldiers explode in a myriad of directions leaving the viewer feeling that they are truly at the center of the film. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center speakers, as they should be; dynamic range is good, nothing too wild with the highs and the lows. LFE is great, smooth and clean. It’s not going to sound like a monstrous action film, but rather a subtle application. Deep and rich, the LFE permeates the film, creating an air of despair as well as thundering to a crescendo when it’s needed for the final battle. Trolls footsteps sound like they’re going to take down your walls, while not overpowering your senses. The score is grim and haunting, sliding in and guiding the viewer throughout the story. Excellent, excellent track. Maybe not perfect - I felt the LFE could have used a TAD more punch at times - but still an excellent track.
• Director Commentary
• U-Control, Picture in Picture
• Second Screen
• Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour
• A New Legend is Born
• Citizens of the Kingdom
• Reinventing the Fairy Tale
• The Magic of "Snow White and the Huntsman"
As I said earlier, the film isn't perfect, and probably is overshadowed by the off-screen actions of Kristen Stewart and Director Rupert Sanders, but it garnered a following of viewers; some absolutely loathe it, and some adore it. There seems to be no middle ground. At the very least, I recommend to give it a rental, because film, no matter how well done or poorly done, is still a matter of taste, and there is no accounting for taste. Couple that with some impeccable audio/video scores, and it has the potential for at least being an excellent demo disc.
Recommendation: Rent It