WARNING: This post contains some spoilers for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.
I went into this movie with extremely low expectations, and perhaps that’s why I was pleasantly surprised by some of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a movie the entire world should clamor to go see. Rather, this movie gave me the feeling of a guilty pleasure read that you’d probably find in the romance section of a book store. You know, the kind with the covers of the ridiculously buff men and the women who always seem to be wearing type of dress, just in different colors.
But I digress.
It was the kind of situation where there were so many reasons not to go, and yet I couldn’t help but give in to my curiosity after having watched the trailer. Plus, the film would also be starring Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron—how could I possibly resist?
There wasn’t really much to the story, at least, I don’t think there was. According to Fandango, the movie is “a twist to the fairy tale,” where “the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.”
As in the Disney adaptation, the Evil Queen in this movie is rather obsessed with beauty. In order to stay youthful, she would have to “steal” it from young women by sucking out their essence, if that makes any sense. It didn’t really make sense that she didn’t take Snow White’s essence when she was younger and locked her up instead, but then again the mirror didn’t give her the prophecy of Snow White being her downfall until later in the movie, so I guess she didn’t feel as pressed.
I also think I may have to watch the movie again because I think I missed a part—there’s a point in the movie where we get a flashback of the Evil Queen’s past. I think her mother was the one that cast a spell on her so that she could retain her youthful looks forever, and I think she cast the spell just because she could, but I’m not entirely sure about that. I would have to see it again. Shortly after, she ends up getting separated from her mother, though my memory is hazy on whether that happened because they were going after the Evil Queen specifically or if it was just the result of some kind of military raid. While I’m on the topic though, I’ll admit that I wouldn’t mind watching this movie again, though probably the second time as a rental. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to deem it shelf-worthy though.
While in a way I should have expected it (I mean, hello, the title says Snow White and the Huntsman), I don’t think I actually expected Snow White and the Huntsman to fall in love. Even though I knew this was going to be a different take on the fairy tale, I didn’t think they were going to deviate so far as to take the prince out of the equation. Then again, thinking on it now, I guess I don’t see why not. As long as the Huntsman is attractive, then he can just be a metaphorical prince, right? Haha.
On that note though, I have to say, I almost think it would have made more sense if the Huntsman was the older version of the young prince we see playing with Snow White at the beginning of the movie. In fact, I almost thought he was when he first appeared because of the way Hemsworth’s facial expressions towards her led me to believe that he might have recognized her somehow. He even said Snow White really resembled his late wife, and it was implied that the prince thought Snow White had died at the beginning of the movie, so the writers could have totally played it off that because Snow White was the prince’s first love (or crush, however you want to look at it), he just sought after the same type of woman.
Instead, they had a separate role for the prince and I have to say, my friend and I found that to be absolutely hilarious. Not only does that prince kind of get in the way of the love blossoming between Hemsworth and Stewart’s characters, he’s also lacking the typical “knight in shining armor” qualities you’d expect from a fairytale prince. His character is just a little too young, a little too impulsive. It was also a bit of a bizarre love triangle. I think the only way to explain it was one man had true love, and the other was just puppy love. And as for Snow White, she basically needed to decide between following the rules of fairytales and ride off into the sunset with the prince, or just be honest and run off with the Hunstman. The love triangle was also funny to me in that the two men weren’t exactly fighting against each other. In fact, the Huntsman kind of treats the prince like a little brother, and then the love triangle kind of turns into two siblings vying for the same woman.
I’ve read complaints that people felt no chemistry between Stewart and Hemsworth, but I beg to differ. While sparks didn’t fly the minute their characters first came in contact with each other, I actually think it developed rather nicely by the middle. And quite honestly it seemed like the prince was more of an afterthought addition, just because no fairytale is complete without a prince. Again, I think it would have made more sense if the Huntsman had been the prince; the fact that he had become a huntsman with no positive feelings toward the prince’s father could have been attributed to the fact that the father had told the young prince at the beginning of the movie that basically they should just leave Snow White for dead because it was too dangerous to go back and save her. Of course, that’s just my opinion of how I think the whole thing should have panned out.
Oddly enough, my biggest complaint about this movie is how it ends. Sure it’s implied that Snow White chooses the Huntsman in the end, but would it have been so bad to just give us that cheesy ending? Those that really don’t like the actors or don’t even like this type of movie are not going to enjoy it anyway, so why not just end it predictably instead of this weird open-ended note? For those of you that watch anime, the ending was very similar to the ending of the Vision of Escaflowne series. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. It was like a “I love you and want to be with you, but I’m going to do it from afar” type of thing.
By the way, if you haven’t seen Escaflowne and you’re into anime—or even if you’re not, I think it’s worth considering—I’d recommend it. They played it on TV for a little while, back when there was Kids WB (is that even around anymore?), but then canceled it. I’m not entirely sure why. Low ratings/viewership, maybe? So your best bet would be to order the DVDs or to try and find a way to watch it online. Anyway, aside from the ending, I think it was a great series.
Other than the romance aspect, there were a few other “twists” added to this fairytale. Like the fact that the Evil Queen has a brother that’s pretty much as obsessed with her as she is about her beauty; their relationship seemed a bit incestuous to me. Also, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s a part of the movie which really seems like the live action version of a scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. (I’m pretty sure there’s a scene there too where the spirit gets shot at and sort of disintegrates, and the fairies in this movie remind me of the little green forest alien-sprites in Mononoke.) And the seven dwarfs remind me of characters from Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. (By the way, apparently the choice to use regular-sized actors to play the dwarf roles stirred up a little bit of a controversy.)
As you can see from this entry, I definitely enjoyed this movie a lot more than I probably should have, I know.
FINAL VERDICT: C
I actually want to give this movie a B- rating, but I realize that might be a little too generous for what this is. I think this is just one of those movies I was able to make even better in my head (because of my overactive imagination) than it actually was. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that my friend and I really thought this movie was pretty funny, but in a good way. I think the beautiful visuals are best experienced in the theater, but if you only want to pay to watch a movie that floors you, then I’d wait until this becomes available for rental or just not watch it at all.