“Snow White and the Huntsman” has all the elements of a good medieval fantasy movie: a richly imagined world, breathtaking CGI, a dazzlingly good-looking cast. Only there’s something off.
It may be the soulless “acting” of Kristen Stewart. It may be the stilted, awkward dialogue. But it probably was that “Snow White and the Huntsman” tried to be the best interpretation of the classic fairytale to ever exist, only to fall a bit short.
The movie invests a lot in how it looks, spending much time on sweeping shots of the bleakly majestic countryside and slowing down the magic-filled CGI scenes as much as possible without looking too tawdry. Even the soundtrack makes an obvious effort to be as epic and grandiose as possible. And it works, at least for the first 45 minutes.
The story begins simply enough, with a prelude dictating the fall of the king (Noah Huntley, “Your Highness”) and Snow White (Kristen Stewart, “Twilight”) by the hands of the beautifully vicious Ravenna (Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”). After years of imprisonment, Snow White escapes, only to get lost in The Dark Forest, forcing Ravenna and her creepy brother (Sam Spruell, “Defiance”) to hire the titular Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, “Thor”) to track her down. However, the Huntsman instead decides to aid her in her fight against the Ravenna.
Seems like a simple enough plot, right? Well, it seems the movie thought so too, and decided to spice things up with a few more subplots. “Snow White and the Hunstman” seems to pick up as many subplots as possible, including a magical destiny and a messy love triangle involving William (Sam Claflin, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”), a childhood friend of Snow White’s, both of which are unceremoniously dropped in favor of a huge battle scene. The overabundance of subplots weigh down the film, not to mention their lack of resolution.
If the subplots weren’t enough, there is many a plot hole and deus ex machina device in this movie. Many of which the film does not explain, opting instead to distract us with yet another beautiful scene of CGI magic. The hallucination scenes are indeed gorgeous, though.
As much fun as it is to rave about the excellent CGI, the actors aren’t to be overlooked. Theron is magnificent — albeit a bit one-note — as a vain woman driven power-mad by paranoia. She snarls and struts her way through her role but still manages to act circles around Stewart.
In fact, everyone acts circles around Stewart. The poor girl seems to have little talent for the wide-eyed vulnerability that the role seems to call for, looking instead like she’s posing for a magazine photo shoot in each shot. There’s no denying that Stewart is beautiful, but her limited acting ability makes it hard to see Snow White as a character rather than a plot device.
Hemsworth provides the gravitas and angst required for this movie, playing the Hunstman as a roguish brute with a heart of gold and a traumatic past. It was relieving to have him play a larger part in the film, as Snow White’s other love interest, played by Orlando Bloom look-a-like Claflin, does little other than look vaguely handsome and shoot off a couple of arrows.
“Snow White and the Huntsman” is an enjoyable medieval fantasy movie, especially if you’re up for ignoring gaping plot holes and a miscast main actress. If not, you can always re-watch “Game of Thrones.”