We have all grown up hearing the tale of Snow White, often times considering the film to be a light-hearted children’s story. What most people fail to realize, is that the story actually began as a dark fantasy, written by the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century. Snow White and the Huntsman chooses to embrace the darker aspects of this famous story, creating a unique movie version of the tale. Because of this, the film is worthy of admiration, but unfortunately, the film is bogged down by a weak script and poor pacing.

When Snow White’s (Kristen Stewart) father marries the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron), his new bride proceeds to murder him on their wedding night. She takes over the kingdom and locks the young Snow White away in a tower. After being held prisoner for several years, Snow White manages to escape from the kingdom and runs into the Dark Forest. Ravenna hires a Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to travel into the Dark Forest and find Snow White. After finding Snow White, the Huntsman decides to join forces with her and the two of them attempt to remove Ravenna from her throne.

First time director Rupert Sanders clearly has a knack for visual imagery, because Snow White and the Huntsman is gorgeous. Snow White travels from a large castle, to the Dark Forest, to beautiful meadows and every one of these locations feels fresh and unique. The cinematography by Greig Fraser is also fantastic. He makes use of several sweeping landscape shots that are nothing short of stunning. The visual effects are also very good, even if there are a few instances where you can easily decipher what is real and what is fake.

Despite being visually remarkable, the film suffers due to a weak script. One of the biggest problems with the film is that instead of being a rousing fantasy, most of the film is actually quite dull. Once Snow White enters the Dark Forest, nothing important happens for nearly an entire hour. In fact, one could skip the entire second half of the film without missing any important plot points. Once the film reaches its third act, the film begins to gain momentum, but by this point the film has dragged so much that I just wanted it to be over with.

The writers of the film also make some questionable choices regarding the plot. For example, when Snow White escapes from her tower, she runs onto a beach, only to find a very conveniently placed horse that she rides to safety. The odds of her finding a wild horse on that beach at that very moment are incredibly slim. Another frustrating moment comes when Snow White and the Huntsman face a giant troll. Based on the trailers, this was a moment in the film that I was really looking forward to. The troll knocks down the Huntsman, but it ends up walking away, simply because of Snow White’s pure nature. I was hoping to see an epic fight, but was let down by this copout decision by the writers. These examples of amateur writing do nothing but hurt this well directed film.

Kristen Stewart, who has gained worldwide attention due to her performance in the Twilight films, gets the opportunity to branch out from her role as Bella Swan. While she may have the appearance of a perfect Snow White, her actual performance is far from it. Despite giving it her best effort, she is often caught fumbling her way through clumsy dialogue. While an improvement over her performance in the Twilight films, she fails to reach the heights of her best performance, as Joan Jett in The Runaways. Charlize Theron’s performance is often too over-the-top, but Chris Hemsworth turns in a great performance as the drunken Huntsman. This is his third film to be released this year and his performances continue to get better and better.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a film that one can appreciate, but cannot enjoy. This being Sanders’ first film, he is an upcoming talent to watch. If he could have been given a proper script, his visuals would have caused the film to soar to spectacular heights. The writers and the director had good intentions, but good intentions do not always lead to a good film. It is a visual feast for the eyes, but it is also junk food for the brain.

Snow White and the Huntsman receives 2/4

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