Come for the visuals, and frankly... stay for the visuals.
So I'm stuck writing a term paper I've obviously decided to put off and needed a distraction to help jog my memory. So in doing so, I've decided to type up some misconceptions regarded one of the year's uniquely under-appreciated films, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Directed by Rupert Sanders, SWATH stars Kristen Stewart as the title character, Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and Charlize Theron as Ravenna (Evil Queen). Plus a prince and some dwarves you may have heard of.
I've always considered myself a "critic's viewer" which means that I more often than not let a Rotten Tomatoes consensus or Metacritic score determine my enjoyment of a film. So naturally, when scrolling through the negative dominant pages I basically gave the film the middle finger and said, "Catch ya later at the Redbox." Well after a few months of indulging in the superhero epicness the was ASM, TDKR, and of course the Avengers; I finally decided to fork over $1.60 and catch it and boy was it a pleasant surprise.
I'll be the first to admit that the movie is a long way from perfection or even greatness. It suffers from loads of unresolved issues like its generic story telling, simplified characters and brisk pacing. But IMO, all of this is justified because director Rupert Sander's chooses to let his imagination run free with ridiculously awesome visuals and assumes the audience has done their homework when it comes to the story (was there any need for the dwarves? Probably not, their presence is more of a metaphor that can only really be understood by the 99% of the world that know the story).
All Rupert Sanders jokes aside between him and Stewart (fck*ng idiot), this man deserves most of the credit for any success the film garnered. For the inexperienced director he is, his visual eye for creating the world that encompassed these characters were easily on par with say Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro which obviously is no easy task. From the grim Dark Forest all the way through the lavish Enchanting Forest, Sanders' attention to detail is near perfectly executed. Oh, and the Forest Troll.... Nuff said.
Plus, let's not forget about the score which compliments the tone of the film exquisitely. One of the serious problems with movies today is that they think they can simply build suspense or make a scene more epic just by adding a loud "bang, pow, or ping" There's something subtle and hauntingly beautiful about scenes when the characters stroll along an open landscape.
Moving right along to the weak link, acting. The best way to sum it up would be to compare it to mass at church. You show up, read and speak the given passage, shake hands after doing your part and leave wondering what you missed on t.v while you were gone. Most of the blame goes to its lazy script as most of the actors came to play but didn't have much to work with. Despite the constant criticism of Kristen Stewart being miscast, her one-dimensional acting actually benefits the conflicting mind of Snow White and when she isn't trying to rally an army with a god awful speech, Stewart plays it naturally. Chris Hemsworth does a mediocre job, both regarding acting and trying to pull off a Scottish accent. He plays a drunk forced to hunt and capture the princess, providing most of the comic relief in a film devoid of comedy. But as you might already know, most of the recognition in the acting category belongs to Charlize Theron. Whether she's playing good girl when seducing the king or concluding an argument with a teeth cringing screech, Theron's Ravenna is as close to textbook as you could ask for.
So as far as closing statements go: In a contemporary Hollywood filled with cookie-cutter films suffering from the same generic story boards, SWATH stands out due to it's fantastically rendered visuals that give Avatar a run for its money. But don't expect too much filler between acting scenes, as the acting is hollow and would be boring if not for being adapted by one of the most well-known fictional stories in history.
Thanks for the read, it's been too long since I've written one of these.