Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Video review: "Snow White and the Huntsman"

The only thing worse than having two different Snow White adaptations competing for our attention is that neither one of them turned out to be worthy of more than five minutes of it.

First came "Mirror, Mirror" in the spring with a winsome, comedic takeoff on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. It managed to be more cute than funny. Then for summer we got "Snow White and the Huntsman," a down-and-dirty version where Snow grabs a sword and shield and takes it to the evil Queen.

Alas. First-time director Rupert Sanders and star Kristen Stewart may have shared some heat in real life, but it's certainly not up on the screen. This is a long, listless affair featuring a whole bunch of pouting, interrupted occasionally by action scenes with a heavy CGI assist.

And we get the insertion of an unnecessary element, a pumped-up repository of Y-chromosome fortitude -- the eponymous Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth fresh off his "Thor" stint. The Huntsman is big and brutish, tagged by the Queen (Charlize Theron) to kill young Snow, but instead signs up as her right-hand man.

Usually in these sorts of movies, it's the useless female character crammed into mix. It turns out doing it the other way doesn't work any better.

The seven dwarves are here, suitably grizzled and alienated as befits the material. And Theron has a few cool scenes as the sorcerous queen, who wants to ensnare Snow so she can suck out the soul to preserve her unearthly beauty. The Mirror on the Wall is turned into a creepy, drippy golem of molten gold whispering in her ear.

Video extras are splendid. The DVD comes with an extended version of the film, a making-of featurette and feature-length commentary by Sanders and his creative team.

Go for the Blu-ray upgrade, and things really get interesting. An interactive viewing feature for tablet or computer lets you pop in and out of the story for behind-the-scenes peek. There are also featurettes focusing on rejuvenating the fairy tale, casting the key roles, creation of special effects and a 360-degree tour of the kingdom.

Movie: 2 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I thought that this was a really cool idea for a movie and parts of it really worked, but I agree that overall it was lacking. The visual style was really cool, but the story just seemed to kind of drag around the middle. I think that there was either not enough to the story, or the movie was just too long. I was talking to a coworker at Dish about the movie, and she made the comment that Snow White was never really shown to be “fairer” than the Evil Queen. I guess that is just a problem you have when Charlize Theron is the Queen. Those things aside I am ready to give it another try. I just put it in my Blockbuster @Home queue, and I hope to have it by Friday so I can watch it with the GF. She loves fantasy stories and I appreciate the lack of a heavy love story so it should make for a pretty good movie night.