Film: A Grimm fairy tale becomes a grim movie
June 8th, 2012
Omaha, NE – A classic Grimm fairy tale gets made into one grim movie. From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Snow White and the Huntsman.
Ryan: There is an old expression that states if a wild bear attacks you and your friends, you don’t need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun one of your friends. Snow White and the Huntsman is the best Snow White retelling of the year, only because it outran Julia Roberts’ Mirror Mirror, which should have been eaten by bears.
Matt: The classic fairy tale is stripped of the high ho, high ho and given a heaping helping of gritty seriousness, complete with an evil queen who can turn into a murder of crows. Guess what her name is?
Ryan: Crowella Dullville? No, wait, Bird Rain-olds.
Matt: Nope, the reincarnation of Helen of Troy, Charlize Theron, plays Raven-ella. After overthrowing a kingdom using her lady parts, the bird lady locks the princess Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, in a tower from which she promptly escapes about a decade later.
Ryan: As Ms. White scurries into a dark forest that is, in this incarnation, home to computer generated trolls and hallucinogenic mushrooms, Ravenella sends the Huntsman, played by Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, to retrieve her. A few dwarfs and a roll in the enchanted forest later, the Huntsman goes full good guy and helps Snow White go full Braveheart and storm the queen’s castle.
Matt: Looking like an incredibly well-designed perfume ad, first-time director Rupert Sanders nails the visuals and apparently encouraged Theron to go HAM on her role. Flailing, screaming, and gnashing her teeth, Theron is apparently the only one who remembered we’re not supposed to take these sorts of things seriously.
Ryan: The odd air of self-importance and tone-deaf seriousness really hampers an otherwise fine experience. Hemsworth is serviceable as the ax-toting Huntsman, who probably needed a little more roguish Han Solo in him and a little less pensive lumberjack model. Stewart doesn’t do much other than look pale, but that’s pretty much what the part called for, and her skin tone has been demanding this role for years.
Matt: Had the dwarves, played by Ian McShane and Nick Frost among others, showed up earlier to infuse a sense of playfulness or had the screenwriters strayed more towards, say, Ladyhawk or the Princess Bride, it could have been a classic. Instead, it feels like someone saw The Dark Knight and asked, “Can we make that into a fairy tale?”
Ryan: With a tale this familiar, the approach is everything, and while Snow White and the Huntsman offers few surprises, it also offers little full-on disappointment. It’s kind of like it’s lead character: Really pretty to look at but the best you can say about her is that she’s fair.
Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.
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