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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » June 29, 2012
Film review
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Snow White and the Huntsman
June 29, 2012   
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Director Rupert Sanders made a big casting mistake in his feature debut by giving the main role to global teen idol Kristen Stewart and expecting her to outshine Charlize Theron (Monster, The Devil’s Advocate, The Italian Job) as the wicked queen Ravenna.

As a result, it is Ravenna rather than Snow White who steals the show, not so much because Theron acts superbly but simply because Stewart—most famous for her part in the Twilight vampire saga—delivers such a wooden performance that to outdo her is all too easy.

This is especially evident in a scene where Snow White is firing up her army of noble rebels for battle. In that scene, Stewart desperately tries but fails to do what Keira Knightley earlier accomplished in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth—Avengers, Thor), the other titular character, isn’t any better than Snow White. For most of the time, he runs around with a huge ax, speaking his lines with the charisma of the said weapon.

That’s a shame, because after all we have seen plenty of full-blooded characters in vintage movies from a similar fantasy genre, exemplified by Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), the skilled swordsman, troublemaker and adventurer in Ron Howard’s Willow from 1988. In fact, Theron evidently models her performance on many scenes from Willow, which featured the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh).

If you want to be surprised and delighted by outstanding acting, then Snow White and the Huntsman is not for you. Movie buffs, however, might entertain themselves a bit by trying to guess which of the seven dwarves is played by which famous actor hiding behind the elaborate makeup. The actors include Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa, Super Mario Bros., Danny the Dog), Ray Winstone (Edge of Darkness, The Departed, King Arthur), and Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Sexy Beast, Pillars of the Earth TV series).

The film is saved by the score by James Newton Howard (The Fugitive, King Kong, The Sixth Sense) and cinematography by Greig Fraser (Let Me In, The Boys Are Back), which add to the air of darkness and gloom, especially in scenes set in a ghostly forest that Ravenna’s witchcraft has turned into a burial ground of whatever used to live there.

The dark scenery is contrasted with a fairy forest teeming with life that is—highly, and probably intentionally—reminiscent of the jungle on planet Pandora in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Moreover, the movie is full of special effects, some of which are truly impressive. This combination of high-end filming technology with some of the hottest names in showbusiness has turned the movie into a box-office success, so it is no surprise that a sequel is on the way.
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