Snow white and the huntsman is the battle between beauty and innocence for fairest blood. This is a four star dark twist to the traditional fairy tale of the orphaned princess, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), and her escape from her step mother and evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron).
From the producers of Alice and the Wonderland, An Evil Queen, Ravenna, tricks, seduces, and kills the king; she takes the kingdom and rules with intimidation and magic. She draws her life force and youth from magic which is fuelled by the draining of other beautiful young hearts and souls.
Her life is to be the fairest in all of the land yet another has come of age to surpass even the strongest magic. “She is life itself”
Snow White, the late king’s daughter, was kept alive for many years in a tower in the castle since she was a little girl. Now she is what stands between Ravenna and immortality. “Be warned, her innocence and purity is all that can destroy you but she is also your salvation”.
In a flurry of lust and luck, as well as her connection with Mother Nature, she escapes into the dark forest. The adventure begins as the Queen hires the Huntsman who knows the dangerous dark forest, to bring the princess back to her. The pursuit of Snow White, on an evil Queen’s quest for immortality – the princesses snow white heart.
The pursuit of the princesses’ heart starts… and ends with the flawless acting of Oscar winner Charlize Theron. The South African born Theron, known for her blonde hair and revengeful roles in Monster (Alieen Wuornos), and The Italian Job (Stella Bridger), graces the screen in a five star performance. She shows her versatility as a lead actress in her not revengeful but narcissistic character of Ravenna. This is portrayed in the second Mirror scene. Ravenna asks the Mirror “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is fairest of them all?” The mirror tells her” My queen, you have defied nature and robbed it of its fairest root. But on this day there is one more beautiful than you.”
She becomes angry as she longs to be the most beautiful in all the land. Ravenna’s last words to the king before she murdered him were “Men use women. They ruin us and when they are finished with us they toss us to the dogs like scraps”. Her conviction as an actress is authentic but what triumphs over that are her powerful actions that can convey an entire conversation in a simple movement. This is best seen where she is dragging herself out of the black goop after killing Snow White. She uses one hand and reaches, in vain, out to the Mirror as if to beg it to tell her she is most beautiful now the princess is dead. Even during her own near death moment her narcissistic personality shows though a very basic need for power and prestige.
Allot of power and prestige of Ravenna comes to this movie through the main soundtrack ‘Breath of life’ by Florence and the Machine. After a drum beat beginning that sets the medieval mood, a choir and rhythmic beats adds a flare to the unique voice of Florence. Jon Dolan of the Rolling Stone reviews comments that it was “All doom-drum rush and endless-midnight orchestral sweep” Ravenna looking for her breath of life (I was looking for a breath of life, A little touch of heavenly light), but the world that had once turned on itself now turned on her and cried no (But all the choirs in my head sang, No oh oh). You can hear in the beat that she is fighting life itself.
The casting of this movie was a mix of brilliance and flawed choices. Where Theron’s casting was no doubt the brilliance, Kristen Stewart as Snow White was the major flaw. Stuart, known to her fans as new girl Bella, from the Twilight saga, showed her incapability of holding a lead actress role. Unlike the role she played in twilight, she has no other main characters to hold her up. She drains the personality from Snow White in addition to the lack of importance felt in her character. This is predominantly seen in the “fight to the death” scene with Snow White and Ravenna. While Theron oozes fire and elegance, Stuart can’t seem to capture a believable character. Snow White is supposed to be innocence and humility in contrast to the Queens magic and pride. Her sharp angled face, greasy voice, and empty facial expressions she was a flawed choice by the directors.
Drunk, bitter and half dead. The gorgeous Chris Hemsworth plays the in between of life and death as the Huntsman. Once being a small point in the original brothers Grimm fairy tale, Hemsworth’s huntsman has created a new take on the contrast between the two main roles. This is greatly shown when he is pulled out of a dirty tub of water with a hangover and a debt and he is brought to the queen’s throne.
When the queen’s guards draw spears against him he says “Do me the favour, I beg of you.” He can’t stand to be alive because the Queens magic killed his wife for her youth. Finn tells the Huntsman “She screamed your name but you weren’t there. Now you can beg her forgiveness in the other world.” Now as Snow White lay dead the Huntsman begs for forgiveness from her “I’m so sorry I failed you. I’m so sorry. But you’ll be a queen in Heaven now and sit among the angels.” It’s his kiss and sorrow which awakens her from death itself.
Colleen Atwood is a name that is very familiar in the movie designer world and with a BAFTA and OSCAR nomination is certainly one of the very important people in the makings of this movie. Some of the best designing seen this decade has come from Atwood who is known for her dark works in Dark Shadows (2012), Alice in the Wonderland (2010), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Her epic fantasy costumes bring the film to a whole new gene of evil allure. From the Huntsman ancient clothes to the modern flare of Snow Whites traditional dress, Atwood’s best work has to be Ravenna’s wardrobe.
A beautiful wedding dress fit for a Queen to an evil black cape fit for a Witch empress, the skilful dress of this movie would be the floor length silver dress. Worn in the scene in which she is stabbed with a dagger, this piece of art is exquisite, with the flared sleeves, fitted body, and square neck brings the vintage era setting to life. This dress would not be complete without being coupled with a fabulous collection of accessories including a black and silver choker with matching earrings, a purple pendant encrusted with silver on a beaded chain and a crown that mimics the one on the statue of liberty. The most powerful accessory would have to be the claws on her right hand. This simple yet vicious prop is used in small roles throughout the movie but the best example is when she uses her index claw to eat a raven heart. This will in no doubt send a delicate shiver of disgust down your spine.
This dark, evil and beautiful movie is worth all its four stars. Even though Kristen Stewart’s performances as Snow White was not nearly up to par, if looked upon as the story of Ravenna’s demise, Theron more than makes up for what Stuart lacks. A story of Beauty, lust, pride and a quest for fairest blood, this is the must see the movie of 2012.
“Lips red as blood, Hair dark as night, bring me your heart, my dear, dear Snow White.”