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The Brother’s Grimm fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” comes to the screen portraying its malevolent power and dark imagery. What makes Snow White and the Huntsman worth the watch is the exciting story, brilliant sets and scenery, inventive cinematography, nicely placed CGI and costumes. If you want to see the classic Snow White story told the way I believe the Grimm Brothers intended, then Snow White and the Huntsman would be a perfect choice for you.
The movie follows the Grimm classic fairytale very closely adding a lot of aggressive swordplay for length, effect and action. In this story we find Snow White’s mother (Liberty Ross), queen of the land, in her garden where she gets pricked on her finger by the thorn of a red rose. Three drops of blood fall into the snow. She makes a wish for a daughter with skin white as snow, lips read as blood and hair black as ebony. Shortly after she gives birth to daughter, Snow White, she dies.
One day, with Snow White (Raffey Cassidy) now nearing her teens, a strange army threatens the kingdom and the intruders are quickly defeated. Ravenna (Charlize Theron), a female slave, is found shackled in chains on the battlefield and taken back to the castle. King Magnus (Noah Huntley) falls instantly in love with the woman and they marry. Thus, starts a story that involves treachery, war, captivity, escape, pursuit and revenge.
The darkness and deceit within the film are played out well with the actor’s performances respectfully good and direction on the mark. The film features an outstanding performance by Charlize Theron who makes her character Ravenna brilliantly wicked. Her ability to command the camera with stunning posses fit for an evil queen remains omnipresent throughout. Theron’s natural beauty emphasizes the role of the "Queen of Glamour" and when the computer graphics try to age her and in some cases make her skin look ugly, you still can’t disguise her gorgeous eyes.
Chris Hemsworth (put a hammer in his hand instead of an axe and he’s Thor) has been certainly "typecast" for the part of the Huntsman. In addition, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) as the older blanche faced Snow White, follows suit. In some circles this may be seen as a negative because one can easily loose sight of their intended characters and for example see Bella being pursued by Thor (I’m just saying).
The heroes to me of the film are the Eight Dwarfs (yes there are eight, not seven in this story) who steal the show with their antics and smart remarks saving it from being just another adventure. Here is were CGI works best taking the heads of Bob Hoskins (as Muir), Ian McShane (Beith), Johnny Harris (Quert) and the rest of the eight and putting them on dwarf bodies. The comedy comes easy with the popular actors made-up, costumed and shortened by the computer bring the argumentative Dwarfs. But, you will have to wait an hour into the movie before you will start having fun with the boisterous and blustery gang of saviors.
The movie could not have been a more perfect representation of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” with all the imagery, props (like the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall), the drops of blood falling from the Queen’s finger, era imagined costumes, dark sorcery, evil looking warriors, giant stone castle and the magic that brings it all together. With their first volume the two writers of the 1800’s kept their short stories dark dealing with subject matter unsuitable for children especially since most dealt with violence and death.
The Grimms collected and published 211 stories, but most of us remember tales like “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” and “Rumpelstiltskin” that were glorified by making them into cartoons. Some that are not so popular with children include “The Girl Without Hands” that deals with making a deal with the Devil and “Godfather Death” involving cheating Death, both of which are even today not conducive to reciting to youngsters.
The film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality. On the downside, there’s the insipid performance by Kristen Stewart as Snow White, her foolish armor plated Joan of Arc costume in the last act, a great white deer that looked like it stepped out of The Chronicles of Narnia and a monster worthy of Revenge of the Titans. Even with these imperfections however, the film does entertain, although not for the young tikes.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A creative presentation of one of Grimm’s favorite fables. (B)