A nice looking misfire
Cast: Kristin Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, and a bunch of other people...
Alright, I saw Snow White and the Huntsman this morning...
For a debut film, Rupert Sanders did alright. Because it was his first movie, I forgave some of the hamminess. But they really should have used a different actress. Kristin Stewart simply sucks. The entire movie, I kept waiting to see if she'd step up and give me something more than that slightly open mouth emotionless look, but it never happened. I guffawed when she gave her supposed "rousing speech" that suddenly broke everyone's funk. She stumbled before even beginning, and totally ruined it. Still amused by that.
Another one of my complaints leaving the theater was the lack of the troll. I was expecting some epic fight, but instead that sequence was over in about 2-3 minutes and forgotten. However, props to Kristin for knowing how to deal with trolls, you don't fight or give in to them, you simply remain stone faced and mute, and eventually they give up :P
Visually, it's as glossy as a Super Bowl commercial. The aforementioned troll is rendered nicely, and Kristin's initial venture into the Dark Forest is one trippy sequence. Between that and the sanctuary scene, this movie would probably have you freaking out if you were stoned. The visuals and music were certainly the highlights here. All gloss, little substance. And speaking of the sanctuary scene, I could not help but think of Princess Mononoke. Seriously, they literally took the idea of the stag/Forest Spirit, and injected it into a live action film. Too bad even pulling ideas from the Godfather of anime didn't really help the film in the end, though.
The most irritating thing about SWATH is that it's loaded with talented actors (minus Stewart), and you can sense them trying to work with what they're given (particularly Theron), but it still fell very short of what it could have been. This was especially apparent during the "rousing speech", and the very end when Stewart is crowned and you think she's gonna give another "rousing speech", but nope, nothing even then. There were also plenty of characters who came in and out of the story that you hardly cared about (such as the other girl who gets locked in the tower, or the village of only women who purposely scar themselves so Ravenna leaves them alone). I hate filler characters like that...
Some things were intriguing in a twisted, Brothers Grimm way. The relationship between Ravenna and her brother seemed almost incestuous at times (something I've grown used to, thanks to Game of Thrones. Pretty sure that's not healthy...). There is a segment where Ravenna pretends to be the prince, and Stewart kisses her/him that was kinda kinky to think about afterwards. Perhaps if the film had played more with these kind of wild ideas, I would have given it a higher rating and forgiven it some more.. It's like John Travolta says in Swordfish... it didn't push the envelope.
My verdict is that it was a very visually arresting misfire that featured acting that was either obnoxiously over the top, or completely underwhelming, save for maybe Chris Hemsworth and Bob Hoskins (one of the vastly under-used dwarves), who were about middle of the road and seemed out of place unfortunately because of that. The story wraps up entirely too neatly with questions unanswered and ideas played with and then ignored, but then you're treated to Florence+ The Machine (excellent) during the credits, so you feel slightly conflicted to stand up and say "sucked".