Saturday, 16 June 2012

Snow White and The Huntsman - review

There is always something disturbing when a book you love is turned into a film with considerable alteration to the original story. That's not to say that Snow White and the Huntsman isn't an entertaining film it is, but don't go into it expecting to see the plot line that most of us first heard as a bedtime story and then had cemented in our child hood memories by the animated Disney version. Perhaps the clue is in the title, a significant change right up front to warn us this is not the same story we have all come to know and love.

Hi Ho

This is an entertaining film. Described as an action adventure I would argue it better fits into the fantasy/horror genre as the evil queen obsessed with her own beauty and relentlessly pursuing it for no other reason than vanity, sucks the life out of young women in order to regain her youth in a Dorian Gray style quest to hold on to her looks - the milk bath sure to be the next beauty fad.

The one lesson of the original story holds true - that date rape is okay if you're really good looking and molesting a young woman while she is passed out unconscious is a chivalrous act that ends in happiness all round.

Kristen Stewart plays Snow White, an innocent and a relatively passive character virtually unaware of all the evil and conspiracies around her and aimed at her. The evil queen, Charlize Theron, is suitably menacing and the huntsman, Chris Helmsworth, is the sort of rugged blue collar worker that most women dream of in fiction, rough tough and, unlike the real world, extremely well spoken and thoughtful of a woman's feelings.

So that's it, is it? That's the change? They've taken the date rape Prince role and turned it into a huntsman? Not at all, the prince is still there, but he's not the one true love of Snow White. In this version of the tale he's the other guy - you know the one, he likes you and always hangs around hoping one day you'll get so drunk you'll throw him a bone. But under any other circumstances he's the guy you try to avoid leading on because unlike the hunky Huntsman who sits back and never makes a pass, Prince Wandering hands will be on you at the very first opportunity.

And what about the dwarfs? they're there too, but given the sort of cameo roles in remakes that are usually reserved for the name players from the original. It's worth the wait and brought an acknowledging titter through the cinema as the childhood favourites and the most memorable character from the original are given their well deserved nod. Hi-ho, hi-ho, we're minor players though!

If not for the original story this would have been a solid little fantasy piece that doesn't drag and is worth the effort, but if you doggedly hold the original story in your head as you try to enjoy it you may end up leaving this with serious reservations.

Out of five - Almost three. 

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