“Snow White & The Huntsman”: A Few of My Terribly Important Thoughts
Yes, I have now seen the film, and so being both a blogger and an SFF/FSF/’speculative fiction’ (although seriously, isn’t all fiction speculative?) blogger to boot, I thought it incumbent upon me to share a few of my terribly important thoughts—aka, ‘wot I fort, roight?!’
Overall, I erred on the side of liking it, but with reservations.
In terms of the positives—well it’s Fantasy and a fairytale retelling of Snow White, so I am already well disposed toward liking. And this film is visually spectacular, so much so that I think I could have enjoyed it for that alone. I loved the music, too, which I thought really worked with the visual strengths of the film. Other positives included some of the magical imagery, such as the crow army at the beginning and the obsidian-glass constructs at the end—and the charge along the beach, while strategically and tactically ludicrous, was again visually rather splendid.
I think it is fitting that the movie poster focuses on Charlize Theron as the wicked Queen and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, as performance-wise I felt they carried the film between them. To the movie’s credit, its makers did try to give Snow White some agency, especially at the beginning and the end, but overall I felt she lacked it—she spent far too much to the film being the ‘beautiful chosen one’ but without much to back it up. Some may blame Kristen Stewart for this, but overall I felt she did a reasonable job with what she was given to work with—but she wasn’t given terribly much. And the character of William, her childhood friend, despite a few “Legolas moments” with the bow, was lacklustre.
My major reservation though, and the reason why I believe the film always felt ‘off its centre’ for me, was because of the plot. Not to put too fine a point on it, I felt the filmmakers didn’t know quite what story they wanted to tell: was it a coming of age story; an adventure yarn; a fantasy-horror; a romance; a movie about the righting of the world’s wrongs? Rather than being coherently one kind of story, a little bit of everything got thrown into the mix—and that’s what it felt like watching it: there was a little taste of a great many elements in the melange, but the overall recipe failed to satisfy.
And I could definitely have done without the whole fairy sanctuary scene, which I really felt was totally unnnecessary—not to mention out-of-keeping with the direction of the rest of the story and its more gritty approach to fairytale retelling.
I had other minor reservations—like the persistence in film of having swords/knives picked up by their blades, which are meant to be killing sharp. Plus a huntsman would be unlikely to carry a war axe. A hatchet for around the hunting camp maybe, but not not a war axe. Just sayin’
But a far more major reservation was the treatment of the traditional seven companions as “comic relief dwarves.” I found it drearily predictable and yes, demeaning. Sigh.
Yet despite all this I still enjoyed the film overall, in a mild sort of a way—chiefly because of the visual spectacle, but also because, despite the plot confusion and failures in the areas mentioned, I felt the film was nonetheless trying to do something a little different, a little more exciting. And it came close enough to succeeding that I could at least perceive what (I felt) they were trying to do.