We need to give Snow White a rest for a few years. First “Once Upon A Time”, then “Mirror Mirror” and now this, I can’t remember the last time a character was remade so many times in such a short amount of time, it’s getting ridiculous.
So if you hadn’t heard, this is the “dark” and “gritty” one. However, rather than use the fairy tale as a starting point to do something interesting, instead it basically just means everyone’s wearing dark colours, it’s muddy all the time, and literally no one makes a joke during the entire film. People in the cinema I was in did laugh, but it was at nothing intentional.
So where did it all go wrong? Well, I think quite a lot of the blame can be handed to Kristen Stewart as Snow White. I genuinely don’t know how she gets work as an actress. I promise I brought absolutely no hatred from her “performance” in Twilight, I tried to keep a completely open mind about her, but she really can’t act, even a little bit. See that picture at the top of this post? See the face she’s pulling? Well, get used to it, it’s the only one she knows how to do. At one point someone dies, and the only way I knew she was sad was that someone had put some tears on her face. How can you enjoy a film when the main character has literally zero personality? It’s bad enough to begin with, when she’s supposed to be some sheltered princess, but when she becomes this Joan of Arc-esque warrior, leader of men, it’s just laughable.
Then there’s the messages of the film. To begin with the Evil Queen had been banging on about how men use women, and then throw them aside for younger, prettier versions. Brilliant, thinks I. The Queen is actually going to have motive, that she was cast aside by men before for no reason but age, and the film is actually going to say something about the role of women in films and society, and how much of a woman’s worth is tied to her attractiveness. Genius. That’s the perfect way to make Snow White more mature and up to date. Except… no. Turns out the Queen just had a spell put on her by her mum for no reason I could see, and literally all anyone says about Snow is how pretty she is, to the point where it starts to resemble Alisha in Misfits and I started worrying everyone was suddenly going to start trying to rape her.
Snow is supposed to be the “chosen one” not because she’s clever, or funny, or has morals, nope. Literally, her only redeeming feature is how pretty she is (and no offence Kristen, but you’re really not the fairest in the land). Snow’s Dad manages to get over the death of her Mum by literally just SEEING the Evil Queen (he apparently marries her a day after meeting her), whilst the titular Huntsman spends the entire film banging on about his dead wife, until he meets Snow and then suddenly it’s all “What? I had a wife? I don’t remember that, all I know is that I have a boner”. And rather than the film show these men as the shallow misogynist wankers that they are, THEY’RE THE GOOD GUYS. Hideous.
They briefly touch on other adult themes, such incest between the Queen and her creepy brother (evidently the makers watched Game of Thrones and decided the best bit was the incest rather than amazing writing and believable characters), or a hint that Snow may have been molested as a child by said creepy brother, but they barely hint at and never bring it up again.
Then there’s the main “romance” sub plot. They sort of vaguely set up a love triangle between Snow, the Huntsman and William, Snow’s childhood sweetheart, but it’s barely mentioned, barely built upon, and barely concluded. If it hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t have noticed. It doesn’t help that there is zero chemistry between any of the leads. That’s not a dig at Chris Hemsworth or Sam Clafin, they do there best but it’s pretty difficult to have chemistry with what is essentially a cardboard cut out.
Oh, and I don’t know why they even bothered using Snow White as a starting off point since all the classic points of the story are only really used to say “See? We used them!”. The poisoned apple bit is here, but is entirely pointless, the mirror on the wall is brilliantly realised and hinted that it’s all a delusion of the Quuen, and is then promptly forgotten about, the dwarves turn up (all played by amazing British actors like Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone, who deserve much much better) but are given literally no character development apart from “they’re short”. Oh and “one of them’s blind”. That’s it.
So… good points? Well, of course there are a few. Some of the performances are good, with Charlize Theron as the Queen chewing up every piece of scenery she can find (as I would bloody well hope, playing the campest character in literature) and Chris Hemsworth doing an actually very good Scottish accent as the Huntsman. And the film itself is BEAUTIFUL, really one of the best looking films I’ve seen in years.
But there lies the main problem of this film. It’s beautiful, but it’s entirely hollow. This is the shallowest film I’ve ever seen, and instead of doing something original with this, it ends up being even less scary than the Disney version.
(It would have gotten one star, but Charlize Theron pushed it up to two)