REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman

But skin deep
Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published June 5, 2012
Inquirer Libre

Snow White and the Huntsman
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Based on the classic German fairy tale
Some spoilers

This is not your grandmother’s fairy tale. Snow White and the Huntsman is gorgeously photographed and deliciously costumed – but beneath the handsome sheen is a hollow narrative with nothing deeper underneath. Oh how this movie reminds us that beauty is but skin deep.

Clearest case-in-point? A scene showing an all-female village who have managed to elude the queen by permanently branding their faces. Yes, that is all the queen is after.

Bitchy, bitchy

Based on the classic German fairy tale, one of the many collected by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman tells of the evil stepmother-queen (here called, ominously, Ravenna, flamboyantly played by Charlize Theron) obsessed with beauty that she hires a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to hunt princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart) so she can get rid of other claimants to her titles (Beauty Queen, get it?)

Thor with his new battle-axe, Meow-meow

Aided by a few dwarves, the huntsman and the army of her uncle the duke (Vincent Regan), Snow White defeats the evil queen and reclaims the throne. If by any means the title-holder cannot fulfill her duties as Queen, the first runner-up will take her place. Something like that, but with brute force using an army. But the more relevant question is: you call that a story?

Charlize Theron is receiving praise for her Ravenna. Yes she is delicious as the kontrabida, shouting away most of her on-screen time as if she wants to eat her co-stars alive. Think Jennifer Holiday with Jessica Sanchez. Theron would make a great Madam Claudia (from Pangako Sa ‘Yo all you teleserye addicts), if that be our measure of fine acting.

We’d think Chris Hemsworth’s biceps have already been overexposed but noooo. At least he carries the proper demeanor as the hardy Huntsman. Too bad the TVC-trained novice film director decided to make a visual effects feast rather than creating full characters. And I don’t even want to discuss Kristen Stewart’s acting.

I wonder what criteria the Mirror used to quantify “fairest of them all” – but I do know that the “evil” lady wearing mostly black is defeated by the young lady who says a Christian prayer. In this multicultural world, this movie sends the wrong signal that whoever is not young, white and Christian belong to the “other” camp. At least in Mirror, Mirror, the evil queen was a brunette who shamelessly wore gold, and the dwarves were played by real small people.

It’s not a terrible film, only a mismash of too many fantasy films that would remind the audience of Narnia, The Matrix (she is “The One”) and Stardust. We could wish that this would have been a better film, but I’d rather we wished for world peace.


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