Re:View – ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’

The Arts

There are two ways you can go with fairtytales on film; you can make them camp and primary-coloured, like ‘Mirror, Mirror’ (which was a fail) or – to paraphrase Monty Python – you can cover them in shit. This is of the latter type, where the villagers squelch about in mud and fleas, and even the Queen’s castle looks like it needs a jetwash. It’s an approach first-time director Rupert Sanders pulls off with a flourish, and has several advantages.

Mainly, it injects some real heart and danger into the familiar story, so that Snow White’s entrance into the Dark Wood feels genuinely magical. For once nothing looks rubbery and fake – there’s an organic, gritty feel to the creatures, insects and flora that takes CGI to a new level of realism. And there’s a nod to Hiyao Miyazaki here with the fungus-encrusted tortoises that come to life under Snow White’s touch.

This realistic approach has a downside, though, as it turns the all-star dwarves into filthy grunting tramps barely distinguishable from each other. Even huntsman Chris Hemsworth’s perfect features are buried behind a beard, matted hair, mud and a dodgily-accented voice that’s Groundskeeper Willie mixed with someone dragging a block of granite across a gravel floor. Charlize Theron makes a thrillingly wicked Queen with a tragic backstory that explains her jaundiced view of mankind. She’s a potent adversary, and steals every scene she’s in by actually acting.

Which brings me to Kristen Stewart, whose frozen face and inability to PLACE the RIGHT emphasis on HER words virtually wrecks the film. The unsmiling, flat-faced, dead-eyed ‘Twilight’ star shows less animation than the Dark Wood’s scary trees, and her big troop-rallying speech is less of an urgent call to arms than the needy screeching of a teenager who’s had her mobile tariff capped. Even when she’s eventually crowned (that’s not exactly a spoiler, is it?) she only manages a superior smirk that suggests she might make a much worse ruler than Theron.

There are sections of glacial pacing (mainly when the dwarves start mournfully singing like ASBO-Hobbits) and Theron is too easily and abruptly despatched, but it’s a well-directed film that will appeal to ‘Twilight’ fans. I’d like to see what the director could do with a fact-based historical drama, rather than an over-familiar fairytale.

40 comments on “Re:View – ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’”

  1. J F Norris says:

    I will never understand why Kristen Stewart has an acting career at all. She’s had only one barely decent performance, IMO, alongside the excellent Emile Hirsch in INTO THE WILD. Other than that, she’s mostly a drip and dull in everything I’ve ever seen her in. I certainly don’t seek her out. She’s not even interesting when she’s interviewed on TV talk shows. She always seems terrified of everyone and eager to flee the set as soon as possible.

  2. Ccc says:

    It is Kristen Stewart that will rake the people in to even watch this film in the first place. Yes, Charlize is a great actress, but you can be sure it is Kristen Stewart that brings her large fan following to buy the tickets to this movie. It sounds to me that this critic is biased against Kristen, he talks about the fact that she does not have face expressions, and we all know that is what her haters say about her. Kristen has been acting sense she was a child and she has been in dozens of movies. Twilight has made billions of dollars around the world. No,Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga are not critically acclaimed, but they have changed the world of Hollywood. Those actors that are in these small low budget critically acclaimed movies are hardly recognized afterward. Kristen will be a house hold name for years to come.Kristen is 22 years old, she has time to keep perfecting her acting skills.

  3. admin says:

    Dear Ccc,

    I really do hope Ms Stewart manages to perfect her acting skills, assuming she finds any in the first place.

    If you’d like to see how well a 22 year-old can act, I suggest you watch ‘Breathless’ (1960), starring the electrifying Jean Seberg, then 22 years-old.

    And the Twilight series has not changed Hollywood – Tinseltown has always made crap films.

  4. nina says:

    i read a couple other reviews and they thought direction was pretty amateur and Charlize’s acting over the top. Tbh, I thought from the trailers/clips Charlize was a bit too much.. It remains to be seen I guess. As for KStew, I’ll do what needs to be done, IGNORE.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Come now, Admin, isn’t that a bit over the top? Gone with the Wind is crap? Wizard of Oz is crap? A River Runs Through It is crap? Oh Brother Where Art Thou? Blazing Saddles? To Kill a Mockingbird? Key Largo? Casablanca?

  6. Kayla says:

    CCC Kristen Stewart has had plenty of movies where the fans didn’t show up at. The Runaways, Welcome to the Rileys, plus more.

    The only reason this movie might do well is because it’s an action film in the summer. It has nothing to do with Kristen Stewart.

    Her only movies that do well are the Twilight films, and that’s mainly due to Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Feedback from people in
    various theaters after those movies always list Rob, and Taylor as who the audience wants to see.

  7. mary says:

    obviously admin didn’t mean those films Helen, he meant crap like Transformers and yes, Twilight

  8. Sia says:

    I actually like Kristen in the Twilight movies and it’s stupid people are so harsh.
    Kayla your wrong people show up to the Twilight movies because they love Edward, Bella and Jacob ! I hate the Transformer movies but don’t crap on Twilight because the movies suck. The books are entertaining and yes I loved them and do realize the movies are horrible but at least Twilight has a story not just robots kicking butt. Twilight is loved for it’s characters and Transformers is loved for CGI ! SO PLEASE STOP THE CRAP ALREADY !

  9. Kass says:

    Kristen bashing what a surprise ? lame.

  10. Sia says:

    I actually like Kristen in the Twilight movies and it’s stupid people are so harsh.
    Kayla your wrong people show up to the Twilight movies because they love Edward, Bella and Jacob ! I hate the Transformer movies but don’t crap on Twilight because the movies suck. The books are entertaining and yes I loved them and do realize the movies are horrible but at least Twilight has a story not just robots kicking butt. Twilight is loved for it’s characters and Transformers is loved for CGI ! SO PLEASE STOP THE CRAP ALREADY !

  11. Therealtruth says:

    I think this movie is going to do well at the BO.Kristen has a large fan base plus this movie is going to be released all over the globe.Even non-Kristen fans are interested to see the movie.I know few people who have seen this movie in UK and they said that they liked it and since they are my pals I’m going to rely on their judgement.Critic reviews hardly matter in this case imo.I don’t Kristen has to worry about the BO performance.

  12. Helen Martin says:

    Mary, that is the difficulty with using the word ‘always’ or ‘every’ although I admit that Admin’s sentence could be read as ‘along with all the undoubtedly good films, Tinseltown has also always made some crap.’ Just looking out for the good man’s reputation.

  13. Callay says:

    It seems times have changed very little. Jean Seberg said what she most remembered about her first film, Joan of Arc, was being burned at the stake,twice. Once in the film and then again by critics. They nearly finished her career. She made a second film and was again raked over the coals, pun intended. Not until she moved to France and appeared with Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless, was she considered a success.(He was considered the chain smoking, lip smoothing, breakout star of the film however.) You don’t like Kristen Stewart. You don’t have to like her. However, when I see your review for On the Road, which is at Cannes, and under consideration for Palm d’or, I shall pass it by. I don’t think it would be a fair assessment considering how much you loathe her.

  14. Dan Terrell says:

    I don’t have a bat in this flight, so to speak, but frankly I haven’t seen a really good, all-around, motion picture in years. A few came close, but I probably wouldn’t pay to see them again: Good Bye Lenin, The Lives of Others, Slumdog Millionaire, etc. (My former-East-German friends didn’t like the first two as they were “Hollywoody and not so realistic”.
    I must qualify the above, however, by adding my youngest granddaughter spends summer vacation weekdays with me and a lot of what I see in a year are PG,SM or Please G-d,Spare Me.

  15. David says:

    You clearly have not seen Welcome To The Rileys, The Cake Eaters and The Runaways. She’s a good actress who unfortunately became famous by a terrible movie and character (Bella/Twilight).

    Why did you not talk about Charlize’s weird and failed ‘british accent’? This review seems to be kinda hater on Stewart. Among Charlize, Kristen and Chris.. Kristen had the better accent.

    She might even have a bad perfomance (which I think was fine) but you clearly haven’t been fair with Stewart and tried to improve Charlize’s Perfomance even though she had the worst accent on the movie and you did not even mention it.

  16. Ryan says:

    This review is crap her & Charlize are the best parts of the film. Just by watching the trailers you can see that she has emotion in her face & it comes through amazingly well in this film.

    I would respect you more if you just said you were going to hate her regardless of if she did well in this movie. People fail to realize she’s been around this business way longer than most. I can’t complain about Twilight because I don’t watch things I have no interest in. I heard Bella was a vapid blank character, take that up with the writer.

  17. JR says:

    Unfortunately, you pass yourself off as objective. The hatred you have for Kristen Stewart is without a doubt blatantly obvious. Therefore you discredit yourself and there isn’t a soul, except your fellow haters, which will take your review of Kristen seriously. Anyone can create their own website and call themselves a reviewer… but then they fail miserably when they can’t look at a performance honestly. Shame on you.

  18. Tina says:

    I don’t get this review because i have seen ALL the clips released and Kristen Stewart has showed a variety of emotions and is far from ‘frozen’

    Also

    ‘The unsmiling, flat-faced, dead-eyed ‘Twilight’ star ‘ – is this your personal opinion of Miss Stewart or of the way she played the character. It’s very confusing. As far as i am aware Snow White is in mortal danger for much of the film therefore has no reason to smile or be sparkly eyed.

    I smell a personal bias against Kristen just because she is in Twilight. Some critics will refuse to ever give them positive reviews because they want anything Twi related to fail. I know peopel who have seen this film and think Kristen did a wonderful job – fans and non fans so it is a fair assessment.

    Are all your reviews this lacking?

  19. Lexi says:

    @Kayla-Please, if you’re going to write a lie, then at least back it up. Kristen has received many more critical praise for her roles in Twilight than Lautner or Pattinson. And that I can back up. Just go to to Rotten Tomatoes and read the critics. Now if you’re talking about hormonal teenagers tweeting about how HOT Edward and Jacob are, then that is a different matter. As for BO, Kristen’s only other mainstream movie right after Twilight was Adventureland which wasn’t a BO hit nor a flop, but it was a darling for critics. Her small indie movies were not BO hits but neither are 95% of small indies. ALL major stars have had their fair share of indie flops. Her only mainstream hit besides Twilight was The Messengers, and that was made years BEFORE Twilight. As for this review, the old “no emotion” is such a cop-out for Kristen haters. Many reviews have said Kristen made a very convincing Snow White and from the trailers, we can conclude the same opinion. You see her crying, laughing, showing fear. Those all look like facial expressions to me unless you’re wanting Disney channel performances.

  20. Amy says:

    I think this review shows an obvious bias against anything related to Twilight and, particularly, Kristen Stewart. I think she’s immensely talented and anybody who says her face is “frozen” loses all credibility, in my opinion. So, I’ll just ignore the parts of this review that are silly personal prejudice (The writer allowed his already formed opinion about Kristen to color the review.) and focus on what I found to be useful. Ultimately, I’ll make my own mind up and I’ll be there to see it because I’m highly entertained by all three leads.

  21. Dan L. says:

    Hmm, funny because the Guardian UK said Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron were both terrific in their roles in Snow White and the Huntsman. Oh well, can’t please them all. As long as she’s still making movies and being paid top dollars for it, her fans will still be her fans and her haters will have even more reason to hate. Such is life.

  22. Dan L. says:

    Dear Mr. Fowler,
    Please don’t tell me this doesn’t sound a bit hateful and biased on your part…”The unsmiling, flat-faced, dead-eyed ‘Twilight’ star shows less animation than the Dark Wood’s scary trees…” And you want us to take you seriously with those comments? And just to clarify, the only worshipping I do is in the church and it doesn’t involve any actor. Does that still make me ‘deranged’? I guess if you can call me ‘deranged’ for being a fan of Kristen Stewart than I can call you a hater for your crude comments towards her.

  23. sherry says:

    “much worse” really? Ok, I won’t argue with you about grammar because you’re a writer. I believe you are one of the respected writers in London and maybe that’s the reason why it is so easy for you to give harsh reviews on someone’s acting. Congratulations, you just made your blog more popular because of this.

  24. sherry says:

    And.. to add, you made a very obvious point of bias. You were able to compress Chris and Charlize in one paragraph and manage to belittle Kristen Stewart in one whole paragraph. I also love how you used all caps in some words to emphasize your point. I find it really funny and annoying as well.

  25. Amy says:

    Dear Mr. Fowler,

    I’m really curious how you’ve come to the conclusion that this beloved fairy tale, but in your opinion “not very good,” was only made to “cash in on Twilight,” when it has Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) as one of the lead characters? Maybe you haven’t heard of Thor and The Avengers, but these movies, made from comic books, have a rabid and very enthusiastic fan base. I would think that if you were trying to prove you weren’t biased against the Twilight series and Kristen Stewart with your comment, you failed miserably. If it’s a well-made film, as you say, shouldn’t it please anyone who wants to see a good movie and not just Twilight fans?

  26. Reed says:

    Dear Mr. Admin, welcome to the wonderful world of Kristen Stewart movie fans. Dare you share your opinion about Stewart’s work and that opinion does not emphatically state that Stewart is Meryl Streep 2.0. and Mother Theresa rolled into one little firecracker of a thespian package, you will be called a hater. Consider yourself lucky that you’re not a lady because any female that thinks Kstew is not actually the greatest actress of her generation is generally branded a jealous, twinkie-eating, cat-loving hater hoor who only wants to do nasty things to Robert Pattinson.:-)

    Yay! I bet you simply can’t wait to review another Stewart film!

  27. Ash says:

    All of you Kristen fans posting here are EMBARRASSING. He didn’t like the movie. He doesn’t like her acting. GET OVER IT. you all look PSYCHO.

    I personally think this was a good review. Thanks for being honest, I will be avoiding this film now.

  28. Kayla says:

    Mr. Fowler

    Continue on friend. These people are just pissed off because they stan (are insane fans) of a girl who only gets work because her family is in the business, and has never had to work hard for anything. She is a foul mouthed star, who is worse than Lindsay Lohan.

    At least Lindsay Lohan was thankful for her success at one point in time, and actually auditioned for movie roles, instead of being given to her. A real actress shows emotion, and the only things that this girl has done in her movies has been hair pulling, huffing and puffing, sighing, lip biting, twitching, and other awkward traits that she does in her interviews. So sad that these girls who are fans of hers believe her crap.

  29. John Howard says:

    Wow, I find it amusing that a little comment about an actress has created such over the top comment from what is obviously “a rabid and very enthusiastic fan base” and how few of the comments generated are actually discussing any of the original statements made in Chris’ blog (Hope you don’t mind me calling you Chris, Chris. I feel Mr Fowler is so formal in these free and easy times). Similarly, some blogees don’t seem to understand that “Tinseltown has always made crap films” isn’t the same as if you had said “Tinseltown ALWAYS makes crap films”. Where Amy gets the idea that you think that the Snow White fairy tale is “not very good” I don’t know. I have just re-read the piece and can’t find that view in there. Maybe its a case of these young un’s not knowing how to read whats in front of them properly.

  30. Naf says:

    You should call KS up and thank her. People who have never heard of you or your books are here reading this blog due to the posting of your mean spirited review of Kristen. It was listed on a tmblr that HATES Kristen Stewart. It was posted due to the vile tone. So, hang your coat up on the nonsten hook, It’s where you live.

  31. Dan Terrell says:

    Hello up there?
    Is it safe to come up out of the tornado cellar yet?
    We were quietly typing round discussing allen wrenches, aka elbow wrenches, and I considering boldly bringing up the Phillips head screwdriver, aka the star head screwdriver, when daylight went outside – it looked like twilight time – and, of course, us-ens having been through this before we bolted for the basement and just in time as the blog exploded.
    Hello? Can anyone hear us? Several of us really need to get out back to the liitle house that’s a privy.

  32. Aein says:

    John Howard

    Before you criticize Amy, you read comments section…OK???

    admin
    May 18th, 2012 at 3:21 pm
    What alarms me more than anything is that this post, about a not-very-good fairytale made to cash in on Twilight fans has garnered more comments than any of the serious articles I’ve posted this year!

  33. Lexi says:

    Thank you for your review. I can’t wait to see the film and form my own opinions and write it on my own blog. From reviews of others who have seen the movie, it’s been quite positive so I’m getting very excited to see it for myself.

  34. to Kayla says:

    Of course a bitter hag like you would worship Lindsay Lohan. And sorry if you’re butthurt that your sparkly vampire footface Pattinson is in love with KStew which makes you bitter, but KStew seems to own your pathetic azz and his. Get over it.

  35. paullette hiden says:

    Oh Mr. Fowler,
    Just mention Kristen Stewart in your blog and you will get hits. Fans and haters will flock alright because the all have Kristen in their brain. Why do you think she’s #3 on Forbe’s List of Most Powerful Actresses? And she’s only 22. Talk about girl power…Snow White who?

  36. Marilyn says:

    Well here’s another loser jumping on the Hating Kristen bandwagon. Its obvious your biased, screw you

  37. admin says:

    I think the obviously intelligent and charming Marilyn has brought this dazzling display of Socratic discourse to a close.

  38. Kayla says:

    Where in my post did I say that I worship Lindsay Lohan. You have absolutely no reading comprehension. But, I can see why because you idolize someone like Kristen Stewart. Her claim to fame is stuttering.

    Also you need to go back to school, and so does your idol.

    While Robert Pattinson is getting set to film 5 new movies, you’re here calling him footface. A lame attack that’s almost 4 years old. Get better material.

  39. Merlinprincess says:

    Amazing how many of these incoherant teens defending KStew can’t spell to save their life!

  40. Merlinprincess says:

    cough, cough, incoherent ha ha lol

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