Reboots are dangerous, but lucrative, territory. On one hand the core story is well established and, in most cases, beloved. On the other hand, filmmakers need to be careful to change enough to make the reboot worthwhile, while at the same time retaining and referencing what made the original great.
On paper, the concept of making a Snow White movie that is dark and gritty is a fantastic idea. In practice, the new film Snow White and the Huntsman threw its apples into The Orange Box and what came out of the other side was rather confused. (See what I did there?)
First of all, this film is absolutely stunning to look at. Everything visual, from the cinematography, to the prop and costume design are exemplary. The problems start when characters start doing actions and speaking dialogue. I’m inclined to give some praise to rookie director Rupert Sanders. He has done some fantastic commercial work in recent years, has a keen eye for visuals and could have done worse directing his first film. Speaking of his commercials, he’s the dude who made this absolutely amazing Halo: ODST commercial in 2009. I watched this commercial a lot back in the day and it’s easy to see how strong of a visual sense Sanders has.
This could have been a fantastic film if it hadn’t worried about being a Snow White film. If it were a dark, period action adventure movie with a very strong female lead it could have been something special. Unfortunately, the film feels obligated to pay homage to the apple, the seven dwarves, and everything that is a pillar of Snow White. In doing so, the film feels torn between wanting to take a new approach and making recognizable references.
Furthermore, the film’s pace is hindered by a tedious prologue and some very odd editing choices. Adding to the odd pace is Kristen Stewart’s severe lack of dialogue. I’m not certain why she had so few lines, but when she gets them she doesn’t provide the spark this film desperately needed. Chris Hemsworth does a decent job, but wasn’t really given a whole lot to go on. The Huntsman is far more of a plot device than he is relevant character. Charlize Theron is stunning as Queen Ravenna. She looks the part and really nails the dark, powerful dialogue. It’s only when she is either over-directed or over-acts the screaming scenes that her performance breaks down.
All in all, Snow White and the Huntsman isn’t a terrible film. While it may look young and beautiful, it’s an old soul with a cold heart.
Anyone out there see Snow White and the Huntsman last weekend? Who's with me that it would have been a great film without all the Snow White parts?