Snow White And The Huntsman

Snow White And The Huntsman

****

Reviewed by: Merlin Harries

Having opted to adapt the well known Brothers Grimm fairytale of 1812, Rupert Sanders and co. enter a world of cinematic and artistic mythology stretching back to the silent film entitled Snow White, directed by J. Searle Dawley in 1916. Possibly the most famous re-imagining to date, the 1937 Disney animated feature, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs further added to the rich tapestry of on-screen tributes to a story that is now entrenched in global folklore. In such esteemed company, Snow White And The Huntsman can rest easy.

With a cast of A-listers including Kristen Stewart (Snow White), now synonymous with the Twilight franchise, and Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman), swapping Thor’s mythical Mjölnir for a similarly imposing wood-axe, SWATH has two of Hollywood’s hottest and most bankable stars. Alongside the always enthralling Charlize Theron and the inimitable Bob Hoskins, Sanders, in his directorial debut, boasts an ensemble to die for.

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Playing host to a range of fine performances and stunning VFX, SWATH achieves something of an epic quality and could happily rub shoulders with the work of Guillermo Del Toro or Peter Jackson, both pioneers within the fantasy genre. The influence of these two directors’ work is unmistakable throughout. From Snow White and her vertically challenged ensemble scaling snowy peaks reminiscent of the New Zealand mountains that played host to Frodo et al, to SWATH’s host of trolls and fairies who would slip effortlessly into Pan’s Labyrinth, it is a fine tale indeed.

From start to finish, SWATH is a gripping, exhilarating rollick through a medieval wasteland poisoned by the toxic magic of Ravenna (Charlize Theron) as she pursues her quest for eternal youth and beauty. Various elements of the original fairytale are interwoven seamlessly and, in places, the story reeks of the uniquely dark verve that has typified recent cinematic takes on fairytale lore, such as Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood (2011) and Terry Gilliam’s Brothers Grimm (2005). While other aspects of the original tale may feel a little ‘shoe-horned’, so to speak, the film does not suffer and boasts a hoard of mythical CGI beauties that would make Andy Serkis go ape.

Having witnessed Ravenna worm her way into the marital bed of her father the king, the infant Snow White falls prey to the evil queen’s never-ending quest for perpetual beauty. Following years of imprisonment, our heroine flees her captor into the ominous ‘forest’, where many have perished and few now dare to tread. As the titular Hunstman, Hemsworth is charged with the unenviable task of tracking her down and delivering her into the queen’s groping clutches. The Hemmer delivers a fine performance as the gruff juggernaut mourning the loss of his beloved wife and Stewart is in full on Bella Cullen mode as Snow White, which is no bad thing. Hoskins’ band of dwarfs are an utter joy to behold and Johnny Harris’ portrayal of the dwarf Quert warrants special mention, if only for his ability to lend such a small character such incredible stature on screen.

With the recent release of Tarsem Singh’s somewhat more pedestrian Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures Of Snow White (2012), audiences may be wary of the recent deluge of dwarfs. Much of this film is dependent on the well-established yet much loved tropes of the fantasy genre, yet it possesses an almost macabre edginess which sets it apart. From the über-cool Florence and the Machine’s appearance on the soundtrack, to the knowing Twilight chic that resonates from Stewart’s casting as Snow White, SWATH is a definite for anyone who fancies a fantastical romp on this mythical merry-go-round.

Reviewed on: 28 May 2012
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The huntsman ordered by a jealous queen to kill the young princess Snow White instead trains her as a warrior who can lead a rebel army.
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Director: Rupert Sanders

Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones

Year: 2012

Runtime: 127 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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