“Snow White and the Huntsman”
By MICHAEL WALTERS
“Snow White and the Huntsman” tries a dark-action movie approach to the traditional fairy tale, but the results are as blasé as the expression on Kristen Stewart’s face.
Stewart is stupefyingly miscast as Snow White, the king’s daughter who is imprisoned in a castle tower by the wicked queen who killed her father and turned his kingdom to ruin. Charlize Theron gets a license to act as witchy as she wants to as the queen but turns in a strangely flat performance with no affect. It’s not particularly bad, it’s just unexceptional. It’s as though Stewart were a virus who infects everyone around her and brings them down to her own level of non-acting.
Special effects can turn grown men into dwarfs and make mythical creatures come to life before our very eyes, but no amount of CGI can give Stewart an emotion. She wears the constant expression of a fussy eater who is unhappy with the food presented before her. Whether she’s slaving away in a dungeon cell or happening upon a white horse who will take her to safety, meeting her prince charming or leading her troops in a rousing rebellion against the wicked queen her expression is the same. She even jumps through fire indifferently.
The film is full of dark scary images that are unlike anything you’d see in the Disney version, but just because it’s different that doesn’t mean its an improvement. The gloom gets a little overbearing, and this Grimm fairy tale becomes just plain grim.
Having said that, this is a mild improvement over the creatively desperate “Mirror Mirror” which attempted a more hacky comic take on the material. The one bright spot is the dwarfs themselves played by several recognizable British thespians including Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, and Ian McShane. I’m not sure how the special effects department pulled it off, but they all look credibly like dwarfs without the gimmicky fake looking CGI trickery involving putting full size actors heads on little people’s bodies. That may be what they did, but if so it looks a heck of a lot better here than it did in Fred Claus.