Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I am very glad that Kristen Stewart starred in Snow White and the Huntsman because it prevented her from taking the role of Sarah in the re-make of Labyrinth. See, I have this theory that someone will re-invent that movie with Stewart and Justin Bieber in the main roles. We may have dodged a bullet this year!

Anyway, back to reality, Snow White has two good things going for it: the visuals and the performance of one of the actors. On the flip side, the script is wobbly, characters lack depth, and the rest of the actors give mediocre and forgettable performances. Is it better than the Red Riding Hood movie released last year? Yes, but that’s not much on an endorsement.

First, let’s discuss the visuals. Snow White does contain several beautiful special effects sequences, though, to be honest, you’ve probably seen the best of the bits in the trailers. In fact, if the movie had instead been a music video (Meatloaf could have sung a power ballad), it would have been brilliant (The director has a background in video games, which perhaps explains his shortcomings, as he is able to provide what would be brilliant cutscenes that never amount to a movie). At more than two hours, it turns into a bore. There is also a certain irony here, considering that, visually, the movie seems to steal liberally from Tarsem Singh who, in fact, ended up making another version of Snow White (the kiddie-friendly Mirror Mirror), though, to be honest, I’m certain the director also stole from Ridley Scott and Guillermo del Toro. (One of these days, they’ll remake Legend,too. Stewart will be Lily. Mark my words.)

Second of all, let’s get to the meat of this whole movie: Charlize Theron. She’s got the perfect dresses, the right attitude. She’s great as the Evil Queen. In fact, she’s too good. She steals the damn movie from under the feet of the other performers. It’s nice to have a respectable villain, but you don’t want to make the bad gal so dominating that it becomes her show. It’s what happened to Heroes with Sylar. It’s what happens here because, frankly, I wanted to see more of the Queen and less of bloody Snow White. That, my friends, is just wrong.

To make things worse, Snow White and the Huntsman are not only tepid as characters, they are also thrown into a half-hearted attempt at a love triangle. Why even try to fire up a romance when the script and the director don’t seem to give a damn about it?

Then, of course, there is the script, which contains crappy dialogue and motivation. For example, the Hunstman quickly finds Snow White because the Queen has promised to bring his wife back to life. What does the Queen’s brother do? Evil Brother tells him that the Queen tricked him and she can’t revive his wife, BEFORE the Huntsman has handed Snow White over. Several idiotic developments like this follow because the characters are not breathing characters, just cardboard cutouts going from point A to B (Snow White is the Foretold Heroine, though she does little to show us why she’s do darn special).

Or, take the sequence in which the Huntsman professes his affection towards Snow White because she reminds him of his wife. Ewww. Not only does it sound like a bad pickup line (“You remind me of my ex-boyfriend” never scored me a date), but the way it’s delivered makes it even worse. Snow White: A Tale of Terror built a better love interest; that’s for sure (talking about stealing, this flick also stole the idea of the creepy pseudo-incestous brother from A Tale of Terror).

Not content with that, the movie has an evil albino dude (or pseudo-albino), which is, like, Je-sus. The Princess Bride made fun of that, what – decades ago? Then The DaVinci Code double-killed that trope. The only minority I was able to discern onscreen was evil. The Huntsman doesn’t seem to have a first name, presumably because everyone forgot he needed one (He also didn’t need much of a backstory or a real personality, I suppose). And, in a case which makes you realise why Peter Dinklage should win an Emmy for the next ten years, the dwarves of the story are digitally miniaturised performers. I mean, really.

In the end, though Theron provides copious amounts of eye-candy in those cool dresses, I’d say wait for Prometheus to see her on the big screen. Or get loaded before walking into this. Alcohol can only improve the experience.

At any rate, this flick will definitely produce some fanfic detailing the Evil Queen’s background. No, wait. A lot of fanfic.

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia lives in beautiful, rainy British Columbia with her family and two cats. She writes fantasy, magic realism and science fiction. You can read her stories in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, The Book of Cthulhu, Evolve 2 and Tesseracts 13. She is the co-editor of Candle in the Attic Window, Future Lovecraft and Historical Lovecraft.

Silvia Moreno-GarciaReview: Snow White and the Huntsman