Snow White and the Huntsman is, quite simply, the best movie I have seen this year, maybe in several years. So far, 2012 has seen several re-boots of the Snow White fable, including Mirror/Mirror and Grimm’s Snow White. Unlike these other films, however, Snow White and the Huntsman takes the classic tale and twists the plot into a whole new storyline.
The movie begins as you would suspect, with the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron, Astro Boy, Prometheus) usurping a kingdom and the throne. Obsessed with beauty and maintaining her own artificially-extended youth and good looks, the Queen drains young, beautiful women of their youth in order to extend her own vitality.
Once Snow White (Kristen Stewart, Twilight) rightful princess of the land, comes of age, however, and the mirror tells the Queen that her tenure as the “fairest in the land” has been ended, Ravenna flies into a blind rage and has Snow White captured. The young princess escapes from the tower and makes it into the Dark Forest. While there, she is cornered by Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor/The Avengers), who has been cajoled by the Queen into hunting down Snow White in the evil woodland. The two soon join forces against the Queen, and the Huntsman begins to teach Snow White how to fight. As they begin their quest to unseat Ravenna, a rag-tag army gathers around the two before the final epic battle.
The acting in this movie was superb throughout, especially Kristen Stewart’s, and director Rupert Sanders delivered a first-rate production in his directorial debut.
The queen’s castle was spooky and incredibly creepy. With fires burning everywhere, the set design was glorious. The camera swoops and pans by cinematographer Greig Fraser were as good as they could have been. In my review of Grimm’s Snow White, I stated that one of the things I liked best about that adaptation was that the mirror was almost exactly what I had always imagined. One of the things I liked best about this version was that the mirror was nothing like I had ever dreamed. The Dark Forest is extremely mysterious and foreboding. A few of the shots in there, however, had the air of similar scenes in Lord of the Rings, but there are only so many ways to design wraith-like creatures. Later scenes in a place called Sanctuary, Home of the Fairies, could have fallen into Pandora-like imagery, but fortunately never did.
If I had any complaints about this movie, it is that the CGI creatures did have a little bit of a jerky motion when they moved, and the plot (after the twist with the Huntsman joining forces with Snow White ) was slightly predictable.
Despite those slight critiques, Snow White and the Huntsman should be on your must-see list before it leaves theaters. It even deserves best picture consideration, and I look forward to the already-announced Snow White and The Huntsman 2.