Monday, October 29, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

                I suppose this is my fault. I don't watch movie trailers. I don't do research about movies ahead of time. I just see a poster and a title and go, hey that could be good. My infallible system has unfortunately failed me.
                The movie isn't completely bad. The effects are visually appealing and much of the movie unfolds like a classic 80’s fantasy film. Like Willow or Labyrinth. Like comfort food, there was something familiar and inviting about the film at first that makes you want to sit through it. Then Kristen Stewart happens.
                Now normally I pay almost no attention to actors. I don't care about their reputations. I don’t know most of their names. They are just the character for the film and that is that. The internet has a never ending list of people making fun of how she has no emotion in her acting; how her expression is constantly the same.  As I never really paid much attention to her in the past, I just chalked this up to the internet bitching because the internet finds it funny to make fun of people. After watching her performance in this film however, I cannot agree with that opinion any stronger than I do now.  She is a stoic statue through the entire movie. Ignoring that, her character in general is not a very proactive one. Of course, traditionally Snow White is just the princess who gets rescued by the prince, but it was clear that they were trying to portray her as a more active protagonist.  Instead, she does essentially nothing for the entire movie but let her followers protect her. That is until near the end of the movie. She gives a rather uninspiring inspirational speech and suddenly she has an army of men following her to assault a castle. Never mind the fact that she has no combat or leadership experience. Hell, she has only been locked in a room for half of her life. Most of the people have no idea who she is except possibly by reputation as the king’s daughter who was locked up by the evil queen. She is basically no one. Not to sound sexist, but men would have a hard time being led by ANY woman. This one has shown no trait AT ALL to suggest she would be worth following but everyone charges off to battle with her anyway. I suppose she does say she can actually kill the queen, but there is no reason to believe her.
                Snow White’s completely useless role is perfectly balanced by the queen and the huntsman. Both have strong, clear motivations for what they are doing. They are even more clearly fleshed out as a characters than Snow White. The queen in particular was quite good. It’s almost like the writers wanted the queen to be the real protagonist, but then realized at the end, “oh yeah, she is supposed to die.” It’s a total waste of a good villain. Honestly, throughout the movie I found myself feeling more sympathetic to her than Snow White. Even her fall at the end resembled that of a tragic hero more than your average villain. It was like she could be redeemed but just didn't know how.
                Then there are the dwarves. I am pretty sure they were added to the movie just because Snow White is supposed to meet dwarves. They totally feel like an afterthought. I think maybe 2 of them are ever mentioned by name. None of which are the standard Disney dwarf names. Still, despite their tiny role (no pun intended), they are still more compelling than Snow White was.
                To sum up, there are lots of pretty effects (though that is kind of standard these days, so it doesn't really add up for much), a great villain and lots of promise, but the whole movie is ruined by Kristen Stewart. I am being kind by giving it 2 out of 5 because the queen deserves better than a 1. Watch a better movie than this one.

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