Friday, June 1, 2012

WHO'S THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL


Tonight we see the release of the much awaited Snow White and the Huntsman.  This re-vision of the classic tale of Snow White, borrows more from the actual Grimm Brothers original tale than the one we all know and love, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  

We all know the story, evil queen with magical powers wants to be the fairest in the land but magic de-pleats her beauty.  To bring back her looks she must devour the essence of beautiful maidens.  The only thing that will give her eternal beauty is to  wait until Snow White becomes of age and devour her heart.

This film, directed by first time director Rupert Sanders, sticks with a foreboding dark tone throughout the film. For a first time director, who comes from commercials, Mr Sanders does an incredible job with the feel and tone of the film.  This one is definitely not for kids as it is not only scary in some scenes but also heavy in story, though the pacing can feel rushed at times.  What Rupert does give us is a very beautiful and dark re-visioning of the classic story.

The queen, Ravenna, played perfectly by Charlize Theron marries Snow White's father after the death of her mother.  The King dies and Ravenna inherits the kingdom, banning Snow White to the tower of the castle until she is old enough so the queen can have her heart.  Charlize unleashes the inner bitch, so to speak, and brings forth a queen who doesn't answer to no one.  She is a magical force to be reckoned with and will stop at nothing to get the heart of Snow White.  They did a good job in casting the queen, I don't think anyone could have played her but Theron.  The role is very meaty and she devours it nicely.

Enter the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth.  Most will remember him as Thor, God of Thunder from the recently released Avengers.  This huntsman is a drunkard, drinking to wash away his sorrow and his longing for his dead wife.  He is brought before the queen to find Snow White who ran off and escaped to the dark forest. Hemsworth really brings character to the underused huntsman and you start to feel small connection between Snow and his character.  Being around her he feels that he could once love again and put down the ale and sorrows.  Hemsworth sporting a Scottish accent for the role also brings the strength and bravado that almost makes the character pleasant to watch on screen.  I wished though he had more to do but again we only have so long of a running time.

Kristen Stewart plays the role of Snow White.  A lot of people are down on her and rag on her all the time, but she is really a decent actress when given the right part.  I felt that she played the part Bella in the Twilight series how the character was and I thought it worked well.  There are a ton of people I have been reading that won't be going to see the movie because Stewart is in it.  Let me say that I felt that she did a great job as Snow.  She brought over the feelings that Snow needed, especially the feeling of fear, Kristen Stewart showed that very well on screen through the character.  Here is Snow, trapped the dark forest, running from the queen, all she has right now in her life is fear.  She soon over comes this fear and awakens a stronger person and Kristen shows us that she can take on a strong role and wield that sword and lead an army into battle.  Snows strengths lies not in battle strength but in defensive strengths and Kristen does a great job in those battles when they are storming the castle.  She is a good actress and I felt that she really shines in this movie.

We have an array of great actors playing the dwarfs such as Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Ray Winston, Ian McShane, Tobby Jones.  They all did a great job and really brought a different feel to the dwarves we are used to seeing with Snow White.  The same style of technology was used to make the actors look small on the screen and it really worked well.  It didn't look out of place and you really felt like they belonged in the scenes.  They don't come in until later in the film but they do play a major role in the final act.

Now we add another love interest into the mix.  Sir William, who has been a life long friend to Snow White ever since they were little children.  Early on they get separated and through out life William has been told that the queen had slaughtered everyone and that Snow White was dead.  English actor Sam Claflin plays William and makes a great ranger style character.  He wears a hooded cloak and is great with a bow and arrow.  Once he finds out that Snow is alive he goes on the hunt to track her down.  He knows that once the people find out she is alive they will rally against the queen and dethrone her.  He is another character I wished had more screen time.

The cinematography and look of the film is absolutely stunning.  Rupert has great vision and it shows on screen.  They were also wise to bring on Greig Fraser as the cinematographer, he was the director of photography on Let Me In.  Their eye for detail and shot composition worked very well for the style of the film.  Everything on the screen is stunning to look at and glues your eyes to the screen.  The CG work in the film blended in beautifully and really felt like it belonged in this world.  Wait until you see the Sanctuary scene, absolutely breath taking.  I was enthralled and very captivated by the look and feel of this film, such beauty to behold.

James Newton Howard was brought on to write the sweeping score for this piece and it worked very well.  The dark tones of the music really helped bring you into this dark and dreary world shown to us on screen.  It fit the mood nicely and never once did I feel the music was overbearing and drowned out what was being displayed on the screen.  I think it was one of his better scores.

Overall this movie was a dream come true for me.  I am a huge fan of medieval style fantasy movies when they are done right, and I fell that this one was done right.  It's dark, brooding and takes itself seriously.  My only gripe I would probably put on the movie is that I felt the running time could have been longer or the movie could have been made into two movies to  fill in some of the story.  There is a lot going on in this movie and the 2 hour 7 minute running time feels a little rushed to bring everything in.  Maybe there will be a director's cut on DVD that will have extra scenes added in to flesh out some of the story.  It was an enjoyable time and I was really hoping this would be a good movie and what I got was a great movie.

I give Snow White and the Huntsman 4 stars out of 5.


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