Is It The Fairest, or Just A Drag

  Another weekend has come upon us and yet another Snow White movie has emerged from the Hollywood idea swamp.  This time leading the charge is none other than Kristen Stewart who has put her vampire affection to the side for a more human affection.  The trailers for this movie have promised plenty of action and an adventure twist to the classic tale to help get a new audience in, but did the movie live up on its promise.  Well saddle up my friends and get ready to take a ride as I give my two cents about Snow White and the Huntsmen that released this past Friday.

For those who have missed the trailer flood, Snow White and the Huntsman is yet another tale of Snow White (Stewart) living in a world that has become corrupted by the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron).  The evil sorceress has used her magic to enslave the kingdom and poison the land, at the cost of accelerating her age to the point where she must continuously suck the beauty from maidens to live.  Yet Snow White is able to break away from her step mother’s iron grip and flee into the forest to avoid the fate the prophecy has foretold.  In panic and anger, the queen sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to fetch Snow White, facing the dangers of the dark forest.

From the trailer summary you would think this movie would be one wild adventure film with loads of action.  To an extent it is, but the action they promise is actually more limited than anticipated, at least for me.  Instead of epic sword fights, strategic moves, and clever use of sorcery, a majority of the fight scenes are brief skirmishes that involve spastic camera movements and screaming soldiers.  Although a few scenes had some good choreography, most of the battles failed to impress me and instead fell victim to massive numbers of men swarming over one another, or falling down.

What took the place of the action?  The answer to that question is drama, as this movie is chock full of emotional stuffing that is used to develop the characters and story.  Various scenes involve uncovering the backstory of the huntsman and snow white and making those more than just pretty faces.  Other scenes are used to uncover the various levels of the queen and helping to make her seem more human than a classic Disney villain.  Although I appreciate the commitment to character, I could have done with fewer of these scenes if it meant speeding up the pace and adding some more excitement.  Some of the details they showed us were repeated too many times, which made the movie drag for me.  A few of the scenes that showed the queen’s fury were a bit overacted for me as well, and had me thinking more spoiled brat than evil queen.  There was also an attempt to make a romantic triangle to help capture the audience in another Twilight emotional plot.  However, the relationship aspect was rather shallow, though a lot less cheesy, and rushed throughout the movie.

Despite the interesting, although predictable, story and background, there were a few things to help relieve the overdone drama.  The dwarves for instance had a number of comedic moments that helped relieve the tension, usually with a well-timed line or action.  Hemsworth even had a few one liners to keep the audience interested, but his dialog was more serious and downtrodden.  Aside from the comedy though there was nothing really spectacular about the dwarves despite the epic cast.  The acting was pretty good for most of the cast, and I focused my attention on their abilities to make the characters come to life.  Theron captured the dark queen well, the malice seeming to naturally ooze off of her.  Hemsworth as the huntsman was just like Thor minus the arrogant pride and Nordic way of speaking.  Surprisingly Stewart was able to break free of her awkward Bella character, though not by much as she took on a little more of the leadership/talking role instead of just ogling vampires and abs.

However before I finish this review, I have to say that the biggest positive to this movie is the presentation.  In a manner similar to Avatar, the special effects and artists of this movie did a fantastic job bringing the fantasy world to life.  The various scenes of the forest, the countless tours of the castle halls, and the majestic landscapes of the other climates were beautifully crafted to pull the audience in.  Yet, there was also some rather elaborate creatures that looked decently real as well, helping to bring the imaginary/secret world into a reality.  Those looking for beautiful art and a fantastic use of computer graphics and digital manipulation are sure to appreciate it.

Okay so let’s wrap this up.  Overall SWATH is a new twist on the classic Disney movie that focuses a lot on character development.  Although a number of things were rushed, and the action was a bit lacking, I did enjoy the background story for the most part.  Again the fantasy world is beautiful, and is worth seeing on the big screen with high definition, though that might be the only thing I can recommend it for.  It’s worth a group outing, but aside from that don’t get your hopes up for it being movie of the year.  Check below for my scores:

Action/Adventure/Drama:  7.0-7.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

So until next week, keep enjoying the movies and remember to keep on reading my reviews.  Thanks!

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