A queen uses her dark magic to hunt down the fairest in the land in Snow White and the Huntsman, a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about obsessive vanity and pure love.
An imaginative and visual treat that’s more style than substance, SWatH’s poor execution and superficial characters unfortunately outweigh the film’s high production values.
Tragedy befalls the land when King Magnus’ wife passes away leaving him vulnerable to Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) charms. Under the influence of the new queen’s dark spells, the kingdom and nature begin to fall apart.
Men go to war, and women flee as the queen feeds off the life-force of young and beautiful women.
After Ravenna’s mirror declares there is one fairer than she and pure enough to give her immortality, Ravenna recruits a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track down the escaped Princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart) deep within the Dark Forest.
Beautiful on the outside, SWatH’s lavish vistas, composed cinematography, and costume design are the movie’s highlights though it sometimes feels as if they come at the expense of character development and plotting.
The evil queen Ravenna is the best looking and thought out character, and though Theron looks like she relishes a role that has her screaming, writhing on the floor, and posing awkwardly, the lack of real importance along with consistently poor execution induces more head scratching than awe.
Stewart labors through her role with drawn out expressions that wouldn’t be so necessary if her character actually had other things to do.
Effectually, Snow White is SWaTH’s One Ring — her survival or destruction will determine the fate of her world. Forces go to war to claim the once-lost princess, and supernatural instances begin to occur.
Sadly, the mythology built up around her feels contrived and threadbare coming up in chunks throughout the movie as the plot’s progression chugs along clumsily. In one key scene when the Princess and her entourage enter the Sanctuary, the entire tone of the movie shifts awkwardly and without buildup.
It’s a movie that could have been so much better, but a simple makeover just wouldn’t do.