Now Playing: The Fairer ‘Snow White’ Update

If you need your ‘Snow White’ palette cleansed after taking a bite of that poisonous apple ‘Mirror Mirror‘ earlier this year, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ may be for you.

The first thing you need to know about ‘Snow White and the Huntman’ is that it couldn’t be further from Disney’s family-friendly telling of the classic princess fairy tale. Yes, the movie is still about a princess, but this dark, violent and frequently disturbing re-imagining isn’t fit for children. The PG-13 rating is very well earned.

What works? The actors. Kristen Stewart actually has talent, even if it’s been hiding beneath those terrible ‘Twilight’ performances. While the actress has bothered me in the recent past, she doesn’t here. Chris Hemsworth is once again great, and is given an introduction worthy of the almighty Thor. But Charlize Theron impresses the most. Rivaling Natalie Portman’s performance in ‘Black Swan‘, Theron’s Queen Ravenna is one of the most bat-shit crazy characters out there. She’s impulsive, unpredictable, heavily swayed by emotion and (not unlike Theron’s role in ‘Monster‘) she has nothing but contempt for men.

Lying partially in the “What Works” category and the “What Doesn’t Work” category is the story itself. The first half of the film impressively re-imagines ‘Snow White’ as we know it. It holds a familiar yet new feeling with a dark tone very similar to fellow fantasy epic ‘The Lord of the Rings‘. The second half, however, isn’t as great.

Prequels and remakes have the tendency to fall victim to familiarity, which can ultimately remove all tension and interest from a movie. If you know exactly what’s going to happen in a story, it loses excitement. The first half of this re-imagining is able to steer clear of that flaw, but the second half doesn’t. Once we meet the dwarfs (the brilliant casting of whom surprised me; don’t look up the cast list unless you want it spoiled), we slip into content that we already know – the whole apple and kissing shebang. Instead of playing out this way, I wish that ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ would have continued to creatively tweak this aspect. Once these things enter the story, this 127-minute movie slams on the brakes. It doesn’t come to a complete stop, but it definitely slows down and never gets back up to full speed. The climax helps better the situation, but the standard epic battle ending isn’t enough to completely rejuvenate it.

Having said that, I enjoyed ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. Fans of ‘The Avengers’ will enjoy seeing what Chris Hemsworth can do with an axe replacing his trusty hammer. It’s a fun, (mostly) intense and thrilling ride with dark and beautiful visuals. I don’t care how much you may like the look of Tarsem Singh’s movies, this ‘Snow White’ blows his ‘Mirror Mirror’ away by a long shot.

Just remember: Do not bring your little kids!

Rating: ★★★★☆


  1. I was very surprised at how much I liked this. It’s really cheesy in some parts, but it’s so earnest in what it’s trying to accomplish that it goes full speed ahead no matter what.

  2. JM

    Kristen Stewart is the female Ron Jeremy. She builds little girls’ self-esteem.

    But since my daughter is seven years too short for this, I think I’ll skip it.

    It doesn’t look romance-y enough.

  3. Drew

    Absolutely. The best part about it was that the filmmakers had a very clear vision of where they wanted to go with this film, and how they wanted it to play out. They were completely uncompromising. It never once gave you the feeling that someone from the studio stepped in and said, “you need to make it more appealing to the masses.” I won’t spoil it, but the ending of the film is proof enough that the director wasn’t pressured to appease a certain demographic and give them the sappy ending that they were most likely swooning for.

    While I agree that the film did slow down during the second half, after a mostly superb first half, I think you have to understand that it was necessary. If they would have tried to make it any more revisionist, the risk of alienating the core fans becomes to great.

    This was one of the most unique and ambitious summer movies in quite a while. It’s a very good film, and I’m betting strong word of mouth will give this one daddy long legs for the next month-plus.

  4. Is it explained in the movie in some way how anyone could think that K-Stew is “fairer” than Charlize Theron? Like, has a plague of blindness fallen upon the land? Otherwise, this is a suspension of disbelief that I’m having trouble making.

    • JM

      K-Stew is “fairer” in the sense that she intends to raise taxes on the rich.

      And then turn all the land into an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

    • Nope. That’s just where the suspension of disbelief comes in. Although when Theron starts losing her looks she looks more like she did in ‘Monster’.

  5. Drew

    Josh, I understand that you are joking, but the ‘Snow White’ mythos has never been about whether the evil queen or snow white is hotter than the other. With that said, I know quite a few people that think that Kristen is hotter than Charlize.

    “Fairer”, in this case, is an indication of which of them is more worthy. Snow White is considered to be the pure beauty of the kingdom, due to her utter, and all encompassing beauty, both inside and out.

    However, yes, it is explained, and quite well, I might add, exactly why Snow White is “fairer” than Ravenna.

    • EM

      In Grimm, “the fairest” is die Schönste; the only sort of worthiness that this sort of fair is about is worthiness to be considered beautiful. Of course, both beauty and Schönheit are in the eye of the beholder.

  6. Drew

    Aaron, you missed the parts where it was explained why Snow White is fairer than Ravenna? I’m sorry. That’s too bad.

    • I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to. I watched the entire movie. It’s not like I stepped out during that part.

      Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. The movie is as good as Luke says so…yeah.

  7. This was awesome stuff, especially coming from a first time theatrical Director, definitely going to keep an eye on him and his future projects. Its like Lord of the Rings had relations with Snow White, awesome visuals, well shot scenery with just some great camera angles, editing, action and everyone was great acting wise too, Stewart CAN act and it makes me think now that her character in Twilight is actually written this bad and that she is actually acting very well (not sure which is worse ;)). But Theron stole the show for sure, amazing role there, really puts fear into you, she’s insane and played it perfectly, I’m glad this hit number one over the weekend as its probably the best fantasy flick I’ve seen since Lord of the Rings 🙂

  8. Strange! I didn’t really like it when I saw it yesterday. Nothing in particular spoke to me or stood out. Hmm. But excellent casting on the dwarves’ part, indeed. Quite brilliant. Even though it enraged real dwarves in the industry.