Snow White & the Huntsman (2012)
Directed by Rupert Sanders
It will forever be known as the movie that broke up R-Pat and K-Stew…but even with Kristen Stewart as its leading heroine, “Snow White and the Huntsman” (director Rupert Sanders’ transition from the commercial world, and the unexpected home-wrecker of the year) was one of the greatest epics of 2012…it’s too bad nobody appreciated it. When the legendary Snow White (Stewart) escapes from the clutches of her evil stepmom, the supernatural Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), a drunken huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is sent to find her and return with her heart. Instead, the huntsman (for he has no other name) sympathizes with Snow, and together (with the help of seven rascally dwarves…no Happy or Dopey here) they lead an army to overthrow the throne. Compared to 2012’s Snow White competition “Mirror Mirror,” this is definitely the fairest of them all.
Evan Daugherty (in his screenwriting debut) pays great homage to the Grimm Bros. with a dark, ominous, exciting story, more faithful to their original tale than others have treated Snow in the past. More like “Snow White” meets “Kingdom of Heaven.” It’s a story we’ve seen before. But we’ve never seen it quite like this. Plus, “Snow White and the Huntsman” has the regal, overwhelming score every great epic deserves.
And with a monstrous budget (“Snow White and the Huntsman” had the 38th largest production budget in history, adjusted for inflation), the visual effects are a stunning masterpiece that complements the epic story. Phenomenal fight scenes blend with twisted imagery in the Dark Forest, a magical landscape filled with “Alice in Wonderland”-esque creatures (the movies share producer Joe Roth). It’s an astonishing achievement.
Silence suits K-Stew well. Despite her unbearable 30-second soliloquy that supposedly rallied citizens to rise up and take down their evil Queen (I didn’t believe it for a second), Stewart shows as little emotion as ever. I still contend that her best role was in David Fincher’s 2002 thriller “Panic Room,” when she was but a wee child of 11. Charlize Theron may as well be the Queen of Overacting, at least in this role, but her intensity is needed for a ruler of Ravenna’s power. Theron possesses that emotional control. Hemsworth doesn’t. But he doesn’t manage to spoil this action-packed fun either. In fact, nobody seems capable of derailing the thrills of the story, and nothing could possibly spoil the unimaginable visual effects. It’s the underrated blockbuster of the year!
My Top 10 list for 2012 can be expected in a week or two, after I get a chance to see a few more of the year’s hits…you can expect to see “Snow White and the Huntsman” on it.