Snow White & the Huntsman

Snow White is probably the worst fairy tale for little girls to read. She isn't much of a role model. She gets by on her looks and sex appeal. She was the favorite of her father and made her mother (or stepmother depending on the version) jealous to the point that she wanted her dead. Then she suckered the wood cutter hired to kill her into letting her go. He probably died when he was found out. Then she charmed a bunch of dorks into letting her crash at their pad (can you say, “friend-zoned?”). Then she fakes her death (come on! That whole “poisoned apple” is about as plausible as Superman’s “disguise”) marries into money and lives happily ever after. And despite her uncanny manipulative skill, she’s still as dumb as a stump, falling for her mother’s attempts to kill her 3 times (according to the original folk tale anyway).

Didn't she ever hear the phrase, “never talk to strangers?”

That’s part of the reason I enjoyed Mirror, Mirror so much. The Snow White portrayed there (by actress Lily Collins) feels a little more like an actual character, one with the wherewithal to learn to fend for herself and actually take back her kingdom, while still having the undeniably charm befitting a storybook princess. It’s also the reason I can’t really get into the television series Once Upon a Time. Snow White there (actress Ginnifer Goodwin) doesn’t feel like she has real strength (despite all the scenes of her in the forest in her ranger gear), especially in the real world as school teacher Mary Margaret.

The second Snow White film of 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman, has a similar problem. Nowhere in it does Kristen Stewart display any of the charm that would make her “the fairest of them all”. She’s not a bright, lively, charismatic woman. She’s a skinny, sullen, and emotionless robot. How are you supposed to root for a character that you want to punch in the face?

There are a few things I liked about Snow White and the Huntsman. I like the troll. I like the white stag. The effects are so-so, but the fairyland scene reminds me of Del Toro’s Hellboy or Pan’s Labyrinth. However, none of that really seems to be of use to the plot at all. The characters kind of blunder into the fairy sanctuary about halfway through the film, there’s some exposition about how Stewart is “the one” (yes they use that phrase in the movie), and “poof” the fairies are gone and do nothing to help the humans who are supposed to depose the Queen. It’s even dumber when you learn that one of the inspirations behind the film is Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke.

This is nowhere near as enchanting as Miyazaki.

I really think that the biggest failure here is really in the casting. Though I love Charlize Theron (who freeze framed their way through that scene with the ice in 2 Days in the Valley?) and thought she looked fantastic in the pretty dresses, and I idolize Chris Hemsworth after Thor (that man is gorgeous), they don't really feel right in their roles (as the Evil Stepmother and the Huntsman, respectively). Theron often just comes off as shrill, and Hemsworth isn't really given much of anything to do. He doesn't feel like an integral character despite the billing in the title.

Kristen Stewart is what really throws me off, though. As I said, she's a terrible Snow White and not at all appealing. It's hard to see how she won out over all the other women who auditioned for the part. Dakota Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Riley Keough, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote, Selena Gomez, Emily Browning (oh my god...), Felicity Jones, and the other Snow White, Lily Collins all tried out and Stewart won somehow. Then last month, the story broke that Stewart was seeing the director, Rupert Sanders, on the sly. Now, it all makes sense.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but personally, I couldn't get over the fact that the inherent cause of the conflict in the story, Snow White's surpassing of her stepmother's beauty, just wasn't believable. There's no comparison between Charlize and Kristen and that simple failure in casting killed any enjoyment I could have possibly had for the rest of this movie.

Here's hoping that Stewart's fall from grace means that we won't be seeing her in anymore romance vehicles in the future. Hollywood has to figure it out sooner or later: Twilight is not a reason to make this woman the highest paid actress in Hollywood and this crappy film doesn't help her case in the least.

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