Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reading Penguin Goes to the Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

DownloadSuch mixed feelings going into this movie...I love fairy tales, and I love when books and movies do dark twisted things with them, and it had Chris Hemsworth who is so sexy and just the right amount of talented...but it also had Kristen Stewart. To be fair, the only other thing I'd seen her do was Twilight, and I hated those movies on a level where everything in them seemed comically bad.

The truth is, this movie was really quite good. It tells the traditional Snow White story with the evil stepmother and the dwarfs and the apple--but it does so in a tone that sets it apart from other versions. First, we have the huntsman as a dominate character with a back story--who ultimately becomes a love interest. Such and awesome concept. But if you're about to write this movie off because you think it's a romance and you don't like romance, don't. More than anything else this is a fantasy, with magic that ranges from enchanting to creepy as hell.

The Good Stuff:

  • Kristen Stewart, I owe you half an apology. You were not as terrible in this as I expected. Is she a great actress? No, not by any means. She can't do quiet moments effectively and she can't sell a romance worth dung. But surprisingly, she does anger, passion, fear, and determination very well. Near the end, she gives this "stand up and fight" speech that was tremendously engrossing. I was so happy to see a movie that put a princess in battle armor.
  • Chris Hemsworth--I want to have your babies. Or the Huntsman's babies. Or possibly Thor's. I don't know. But please call me. He was perfect in this part. So surly and drunk, but also likeable and sympathetic. I thought he was a bit underused, an I would have liked to see more of him.
  • The look of the movie. I liked that it had gross moments and dirty scenes and an overall gritty atmosphere. That offset very well parts such as the fairy forest, which was beautiful. At first, I saw CGI birds and bunnies and started laughing, but as I got into the scene I found myself really taken with it--mushrooms with eyes and turtles covered in moss and pixie things everywhere. 
  • The dwarfs were awesome. Funny, gruff, and very useful. They add humor without being reduced to dumb comedy relief. 
The "Meh" Stuff:

  • Evil queens are evil. Do I care about their back stories or why they are evil? No, not really. In the context of a book, yes, but in the context of a movie where time is limited--no. I felt that too much time was given to the queen that could have been better used elsewhere. Though to her credit, she is appropriately frightening.
  • William is the most unnecessary character ever. He's Snow's childhood friend, and for awhile I worried he was there for love triangle purposes. He really isn't, thank God, but then what the hell is he doing here? No offense to the actor--I just didn't see a place for him. 
Side Note: Our audience this time contained a mother and her very small child (maybe 4 years old?). It's a PG-13 movie so...yeah. Just because it has "Snow White" in the title does not mean it's appropriate for little ones.  A while in, we heard the little girl ask her mother if they could leave, and they did, but not before the part where the evil queen eats a small bird's bloody heart. So a note of caution to parents out there: exercise some judgement with this movie.

Overall, though, I do recommend it. As fairy tale retellings go, this is great. It's deep and twisted, tells a great story, and keeps you entertained with action and emotion. Happy watching!


  1. I'm jealous! This is one of the films I really want to see. Ok, time to send a message to the friend I promised to watch the film with! :)

  2. I've wanted to see this, but I think it might be too dark of a retelling. I'll probably wait for this movie. I'm glad you liked it though!

    1. Yeah, it's not a fairy tale on the "happy" end of the spectrum.

  3. I was wondering about this one and I think I need to see it to know by myself. thanks for your review.

  4. You are going to have to fight me for the right to have Hemsworth's babies. That boy is MINE. :)

    I liked the movie but I didn't fall in love with it. Stewart was better in here than Twilight, for sure. But I really just went to watch Hems walk, talk, felx, bend over, yeah, you get the idea.


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