DVD Review: Snow White and the Huntsman


Sean Drabik, Editor-in-Chief

Hmmm…well. Audience, have you ever had a dream that felt like a movie? You and no one you know was in it, it was extremely strange and made no sense, and once you woke up you did whatever you could to forget it. That’s this movie. Snow White and the Huntsman is a mess of a fantasy film, taking elements and concepts from other films and attempting to stack them on top of the other that are “original”, bland and unexplored characters, some extremely uneven and outright terrible performances by most of the cast, and a script that feels reminiscent of bad fan-fiction. I’m shocked by this film’s mere existence, let alone the fact it made so much in the box office. Though I’m sure many of you have seen this film in theaters during its summer run, but for those who have not, allow this review to be a warning if you choose to venture into the viewing of this at home.

It’s difficult to believe that three people were involved the writing of this film. One would believe that with more than one person at the helm of this script, not to mention that the director, editor, and three producers had to have seen this script, that at least ONE of them would have noticed that it was complete garbage.  This film suffers most particularly from two issues, those being great plot holes and terribly thought out characterization. Nearly every moment of the film, I found myself asking about the logic of some the actions in the story. The writing is so contrived that it feels like the writers didn’t care about the audience, and thought that they have such short attention spans that they won’t notice the flaws in all out common sense that plague the film. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Snow White, after being imprisoned and malnourished for 15 years of her life is somehow able to easily escape the entirety of the Evil Queen’s army. Issues like this would be forgivable if they were in a lesser amount, but they are all around the movie, and it’s terrible to watch.

As for the characters, well, there’s nothing to them.  Almost none of them have any interesting to define them from any other character, and their roles are so clichéd it’s almost painful to watch. Snow White is supposed to be the messiah, Huntsman is supposed to hate life until the messiah makes life worth it again, the Dwarves are supposed to be funny, man is it dull. And none of the characters are developed either, nor are the relationships between each characters. And why exactly is the audience supposed to take sides with Snow White? Throughout the whole story, I cannot name one thing she did to earn the respect and skill needed to lead a rebellion against the queen. She does absolutely nothing, and the audience is just expected to think that she is the only person who can save the kingdom. The Disney Snow White was more complex.

Even films with poorly written characters can have the perfect cast can bring charm to them.  Unfortunately, only one actor shows that she has any passion to try and make this film worth the time of the audience. And for this I say, thank God for Charlize Theron. Even though her character, the Evil Queen Ravvenna, is though severely underused, every moment she has on the screen she goes over the top and make some kind of interest out of this ultimately dull film. Every moment she’s on the screen, she takes advantage of the role she’s been given. There is a phrase used in the film industry for when a character goes over the top and makes themself the only thing the audience notices, known as “chewing the scenery”.  Ms. Theron does not just chew the scenery; she takes a giant bite and eats it whole. Though this is usually seen as a bad thing for an actor to do, her initiative to do this almost makes watching this dull film worth it, leaves one in stitches watching this performance that one would expect to find in an episode of the 60’s Batman show.

However, she gives the only strong performance. Let’s take care of the obvious right now- Kristen Stewart cannot act. She cannot emote, she cannot convince an audience she is playing a role with any sincerity, and she can’t even attempt to make it seem like she is interested in the film she is participating in. She couldn’t act in “Speak”, she couldn’t act in “Twilight”, and yes, she in fact cannot act in this film. She always holds a face of disinterest and apathy, and she is unbearable to watch. She should not be the lead in any film, and she has better placement as an extra in a film than as a speaking character.  I am not going the talk about the Dwarves, because while they are played by strong actors, they are completely worthless to the plot, have no character, and are a waste of time to even think about. In fact, in that same mind, every other character besides the Huntsman, whom shall soon be discussed, is basically worthless as they lack character, so the actors are literally given nothing to work with. Chris Hemsworth, in the role of the Huntsman, is trying to be a good actor in this film, as he normally is in other movies. Unfortunately, he also has little to work with, and his character just falls flat. I don’t remember a single aspect of his performance, as he was so forgettable that I can barely critique him. Hopefully, Hemsworth will be given the chance to redeem himself soon.

On the technical side of the film, the score of James Newton Howard is excellent. It feels epic, despite the decidedly not epic tone of the film it represents. If the soundtrack to this film is available, seek it out, as it is the strongest part of this film. Some of the special effects are also interesting, most notably glass knight characters who appear at the beginning of the film…….and don’t appear at all in any form until kind of at the end (UGH). And the films sets are some of the best I’ve seen in a modern film, and uses extremely interesting ideas in background, like snakes blending in with branches, and the trees actually being alive in the Dark Forest. It’s sad that the technical’s, which are filled with interesting ideas and seemingly high amounts of passion, while the story and characters are decidedly unremarkable.

In all regards, the movie is a failure. But there is a side of me that cannot say that all involved are talentless. As director Rupert Saunders’ first film, it shows how unpolished he is and how much work he has left until he can be a good director. But, with effort, it is possible that Mr. Saunders could one day create a fantastic film, as this seems like a template for a film that could be amazing.  If the day comes that Mr. Saunders does make a good film, hopefully this one will be a distant memory in the mind of the film industry.

Snow White and the Huntsman is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Final Rank: D

+ Excellently over the top performance by Charlize Theron, well done and intriguing special effects, well made score

-Terrible performances from Kristen Stewart and various others, weak characters, terrible script, and ultimately forgettable