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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 3, 2012
Oho! I knew it was only a matter of time before Kristen Stewart and I would cross paths. I've avoided the Twilight saga like the cooties, and so I've missed out on the fuss and the furor about her. But I couldn't pass up on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN like I passed up on MIRROR MIRROR, and, it turns out, I sort of fancy Stewart's performance. Skin white as snow, lips red as roses, hair black as a raven's wing. That fleshes out Kristen Stewart to a tee. Still, it's nigh impossible to trump Charlize Theron's turn as Snow White's rather... self-absorbed... step-mother. Theron simply mesmerizes. She's so good there are moments you sympathize with her - that poor, gorgeous, demented queen who as a girl was cursed by a mother's dark gift. Evil begets evil, and you sense that Ravenna must have endured some unspeakable sh--. Not that that makes up for her nasty practice of sucking the beauty and vitality out of innocent girls... Queen Ravenna is like the grim fairy tale version of Project Runway.

It's a darker iteration, grittier, moodier, more full-blooded. I think the Brothers Grimm would've approved of this interpretation; it matches their gristly sensibilities more. If you've brushed up on the fairy tale, then you know the kernel of the story. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN tweaks and embellishes on that. When the vain and vile but oh-so-beautiful witch Ravenna (Theron) murders her husband, the king, on their wedding night, it upends the kingdom, sinks it into a realm of despair and oppression. We also learn that this is only the most recent in a long series of regicides that Ravenna has committed. The king had one young daughter, Snow White, lovely and bright and pure, whom Ravenna promptly sentences to incarceration in the castle dungeons. For years Snow White languishes in wretched confinement.

I don't know how I feel about how the magic mirror is presented, the film granting it the ability to metamorphose, liquid metal like, into a faceless, flowing figure that stands before Ravenna whenever she extends that one familiar question. I get that they were trying to change it up with the mirror, but then they forgot the follow-thru. so, the mirror can assume a form. And then what? And then nothing.

In the story I read ages ago, the huntsman takes Snow White into the woods, at the Queen's behest, and in the woods the huntsman was tasked with carving out Snow White's lungs and liver (if I remember it right) as proof of her demise. But the huntsman demonstrates mercy and allows Snow White to flee. He instead presents to the queen the lungs and liver of a boar, and so the queen comes to believe that Snow White was indeed deaders. And so the huntsman exits the tale. But you only have to glance at the film's title to get a whiff that the huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), this time out, lands a meatier role, sticks around a bit longer.

Another fashion in which this film veers away from the fairy tale we know (**coughDisneyAnimatedFilmcough**): I like that there's only a smidgen of romance, but I like that the smidge that IS there is crucial to the plot. Not to get all Twilighty, but the story does force you to choose a camp to follow: that of the surly, drunken huntsman What'shisface or Snow White's childhood pal and the Duke's dashing son, William (Sam Claflin). Note that William is a bowman who seems to rival the Avengers' Hawkeye in uncanny marksmanship. Meanwhile, I think Chris Hemsworth exhibits solid acting chops, lending tortured depth and melancholia to his huntsman. He takes a Scottish accent out for a spin, and I'm gullible enough or listened to James Doohan enough to be convinced by it. But the trailers to ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER put Hemsworth's axe-work to shame.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN flaunts a secret weapon, or rather, eight secret weapons, in the shapes of dwarves. It kinda sucks for actual dwarf actors out there, because the film employs normal-height actors who then were CG'd down to Gimli-size. But, then again, Peter Dinklage is damn busy nowadays. These contentious dwarves - as played by the likes of Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost - end up stealing many scenes.

It's a stunning-looking movie, or to quote my date: "Ohhh, so pretty!" Rupert Sanders, after a career of helming snazzy advertisements, makes his debut as a feature film director. He brings along that same eye for spectacular visuals. He lends a spooky and foreboding atmosphere to the twisted Black Forest, and it marks Snow White's abject desperation that she elects to seek dubious sanctuary within its sickly boughs. When tree branches make it a habit to transform into serpents, I tend to wonder where I left my chainsaw (sorry, tree huggers). Conversely, Sanders' depiction of the fairyland is pretty damn wondrous and speaks to that inner child still in you (yes, even you). The narrative further expands to allow for Snow's encounter (or yell-off) with a bridge troll, and, later, with a tribe of females that had committed self-mutilation rather than face the Queen's attention. The film's final action flourish consists of the almost requisite epic battle. I've gotta credit Kristen Stewart. She does have presence and she does have charisma. Or maybe those eyes suckered me in. She rolls off that hokey rousing rally speech and just about pulls it off, and that with a British accent (that, okay, occasionally strays). Still, maybe my favorite bit - and I realize I kind of pooh-poohed the romantic angle earlier - concerns the kiss that galvanizes the poisoned princess. I saw it coming, I'm sure you'll see it coming, but it was still a very strong scene. An "Oh, yeah!" kinda scene. Crap, there goes my mushy side. Great. Now even my date is telling me to man up.

The DVD's bonus stuff:

- Option to view the film in either the Theatrical version (02:07:12 hours) or the Extended Edition (02:11:30 hours)
- Audio Commentary by director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, and co-editor Neil Smith
- "A New Legend is Born: Director's Vision Comes to Life" - behind-the-scenes featurette that explores various elements of the film such as the incredible art design, the stunts, the locations, the special effects, etc. (00:20:53 minutes)
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on September 13, 2012
I just want to start off by saying that I wanted to like this movie. I really did. However, this film is depressingly skin deep.

The good. The camerawork is absolutely stunning, the special effects as well. Your eyes tell you that there is a marvelous film before you, but that is as far as it goes. I have to say, before I start the bashing, that Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth try their absolute hardest making something out of the lines that they are given. Their performances were touching (Theron more so than the rest) and they at least gave some substance to it. Hemsworth carried most of the film when Theron wasn't in the picture. If it were just a story between the two of them, even with the horrible lines that they were given, it would have been at least a four star film.

Now for the bad, and when I say bad, I mean terrible. I never had much of an opinion about Kristen Stewart before this movie. I steadfastly stayed away from Twilight so I thought I had a pretty clean slate to judge going into this. Stewart, who plays Snow White, has been locked in a tower for years only to escape right before the Queen (Theron), who killed her father the King, kills her and takes her heart. Needless to say, after somehow finding this out in a slightly perverted scene, Snow White runs away. Then she runs away again after she loses her magic pony (actually, she abandons him). Then the Huntsman joins in and he runs away with her too. At some point there's a Troll for all of 30 seconds, then scarred women for another minute or so. At about the 1 hour mark we finally meet the dwarves. Throughout all of this, we maybe get 10 mumbled lines from Stewart. I can't say that this is entirely her fault. It is the writing that is terrible. But then we get to the acting. I swear, every single time Hemsworth spoke to Stewart you could see the pleading in his eyes. It's as if he were trying to say, "Please, give me some sort of emotion to go on!!" Alas, Stewart just stares back at him and breathes. Literally. This is the Snow White we get. A breathing, slightly constipated looking girl who squints off into the distance looking slightly befuddled. You can almost tell that the director is obsessed with Stewart from all of the closeups you get of her. I mean after about the 20th time I get it. She's beautiful. Now show me something MORE. I mean, Snow White, you were LOCKED AWAY in a TOWER for YEARS after witnessing the DEATH of your FATHER and the FALL of your KINGDOM. Any human being would have had some sort of melt down, but all we get is Stewart, looking beautiful. Hasn't anyone told these people that looks can only get you so far?

It was the wooden lead that sealed it for me. No matter how good the surrounding cast, you need a great lead to carry such a heavy weight of a film. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the patch work editing and dead dialogue that made it even worse. I was literally writhing in pain and hitting my forehead with my fist by the time it ended. Truly, it was pure agony to sit through for anyone who likes backstory and acting.

If you want to watch a visually stunning film, this is the movie for you. Before you go watch it though, I strongly suggest that you just mute out the scenes with Stewart, which is most of the film. After all, wasn't it only visual beauty that the director was trying to portray?

The fairest of them all truly is only skin deep.
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on September 11, 2012
At the end of an epic movie like this, I should be smiling wide enough to split my cheeks. I wasn't.

Charlize Theron is beautiful and poisonous as the queen. Chris Hemsworth is strong and rugged and handsome as the huntsman, although he was a little light on the emotion. The photography was lush and wonderful and perfect for a story like this. The lack is Kristin Stewart.

Kristin Stewart is pretty, but she should never wear her hair slicked back from her face. It makes her look like she has jug ears. That aside, her acting is limited and she made me feel nothing for her. Her wonder was pitiful, her anger forced, her rousing speech pretty lame in delivery, and otherwise, she was just . . . lacking. What this movie needed was a Snow White that would do justice to the rest of the cast and the photography. Kristin Stewart just doesn't have it. I should have been cheering the end of the Queen. Instead, I felt more oh, well, that's over. It was all right. Lukewarm is not what I want from an epic movie and one of my favorite fairy tales.
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on August 1, 2012
Charlize Theron is stunningly beautiful and equally talented (as always). I could go on forever, but nothing needs to be said. Film-stealing in both appearance and performance; a wise decision to give the villain more than her fair share of screen time. I so wanted the queen to win.

Chris Hemsworth gave an excellent performance and was easy on the eyes. Rugged on the outside with a soft heart, just the way I like them. I hope we continue to see more of him in the future.

Kristen did what she does best, look the part. Damsel in distress, don't say much, play dead, good job. It's a shame she's so lovely and so talent-less at the same time. It's like Keanu Reeves had a little sister. Thank you to all involved who kept the title character from having to say more than one sentence at a time for almost the whole film. She had one big speech, which she delivered expectantly mediocre, but they had to let her talk some time. I hope her Twilight role doesn't carry her career much further.

All in all a definite go-see. Beautiful effects and a great interpretation of a classic story. Theron 5 stars, Hemsworth 5 stars, Stewart 3.
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on March 23, 2013
Charlize Theron.

So mortifiyingly fabulous.

Were there any other characters?

Ok there were other characters. But what I loved about this movie was Charlize Theron, could you tell? And the darkness of it. She was the shining star, resplendent in her evilness. Perhaps it was cinematography, or art direction, or props, or MS Theron herself. Delicious. There is a scene, with a bird, and a metal device and MS Theron. Nuff said. So tasty.

The movie itself is actually a very nice adaptation of Snow White. It is well thought, well presented, and entertaining. Art direction and cinematography (and CGI of course) is excellent. And the main actors did a fairly good job of portraying their roles. Snow White was brave, though, I would have preferred a little more character time with her to develop empathy, which was lacking. The Joan of Arc warrior type portrayal of SW is a twist, but, not one I like particularly, since it does not jibe with the original fairy tale and Germano/Celtic legends. Part of the reason I did not develop empathy is due to the short screen time with her, though SW's portrayal is also rather flat. The huntsman was also a nice touch because he is often omitted from SW films, though prominent in some of the stories. I had much stronger empathy for the huntsman. I was distracted on a couple of occasions by accents, which were inconsistent. On the one hand, if the actors had spoken in their native accents all the time, or if the actors all used some particular accent, it would not have been distracting.

On the whole though, my enjoyment factor was high, especially because of the detail in development of the darkness.

It would be nice to see perhaps 20-25 more minutes squeezed in to develop Snow White herself, and perhaps her rapport with the huntsman. Don't let this deter you from renting/buying this film though. If you like authentic and historical versions of fairy tales, the feeling of old Celtic and old Germanic fairy tales/myths is very rich in this file. Perhaps why I loved it.

Or Charlize.
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on November 11, 2012
This is a very pretty film that I found to be very boring. My wife liked it better but this could have been so much better with a different choice in cast and directors. The actress from the Twilight series is especially bad. She mumbles throughout and she always looks as if she just woke up. The real star of this movie is the special effects. They dominate every scene and seem to be used as a replacement for good script and acting.
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on September 15, 2012
I was hesitant because of all the Kristen Stewart bashing going around these days. I am a big fan of Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. I mean, on paper this should have been a good movie.

It's not.

The script is disjointed and forced. The plot has so many holes it would give a Humvee problems. Kristen Stewart is actually pretty bad. Very odd expressions and her emotional range is as bad as the internet memes indicate. She delivered a few of her lines fine, but I get the feeling the director gave up about half way through the movie.

Even Charlize and Chris aren't at their best here. Some sparks of brilliance showing through.

The best part of this movie is the 7 dwarves. I wish they had spent more time on these guys and less time on a senseless love triangle that never resolves anyway.

Also, the fantasy elements seem very slapdash. Even a good fantasy system has some rules and some definition. You never really get that here. I mean, I still am not really sure what gives Snow White any ability here to charm a troll? Maybe there was something I missed with the fairies... i fell asleep for about 10 min in the middle.

What is with Kristen Stewart, I mean, every time she seems to be summoning some kind of emotion, she usually just looks like she is passing some really bad gas.

Anyway, if you want to watch Snow White, stick with the animated version, its still the best. If you want to see Charlize, watch 7 Days in the Valley and if you want to see Chris at his best, watch the first 10 min of Star Trek (2009). If you want to see Kristen Stewart, I can't help you, maybe go see an eye doctor or a shrink.
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on August 29, 2012
I'll admit, the theatrical trailer made this movie seem exciting and worthwhile, however, the actual movie experience was a major let down. The film itself seemed to drag on without a deep plot to justify the additional length. It felt like the film could have ended 30 to 45 minutes sooner than it did with the second half of the film being a chore just to get through. Additionally, while I thought Kristen Stewart would show some improved acting outside of the Twilight series, this film proved to me once again that she is a C- actress at best. There's a scene near the end of the film where Stewart gives an impassioned plea to rally the troops for a final battle. However, her poor acting skills were only magnified by this scene with Stewart being so overly dramatic to the point where it was just ridiculous. In fact, several people in the theater actually busted out in laughter during this scene. I'm sure the director did multiple cuts of this scene and if this was the best they could get out of Stewart then she has no hope of ever becoming an elite actress.
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on September 22, 2012
If I hadn't paid $4.99 to rent this movie, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Kristen Stewart proves yet again you don't need acting talent in Hollywood to succeed, just a half-way pretty face and a really horrible franchise that appeals to a niche audience, a highly publicized romance followed by a movie by a director who probably cast her for his own um, reasons.

The movie is saved by the amazing special effects, great acting by the rest of the cast and, once again, a stellar performance by a true actress, Charlize Theron. The very idea Stewart could be "fairer" than the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, made the entire plot less enjoyable. To truly have made the story line believable, they should have cast another actress in the role of the Evil Queen. Or at least given us a more believable Snow White. Stewart was cast for the public appeal factor. But for those of us who are adults and hate the Twilight movies, she ruined the full enjoyment.

There was little to no chemistry between Snow White and the Huntsman. Also, there was no reason for her not to fall for William. He was a great character, brave, loyal, handsome, had been fighting the queen his whole life and was clearly more suitable to be King. The Huntsman, on the other hand, was a man who "escaped" into alcohol, stood by and did nothing but brawl and owe other people money while the kingdom went to Hell in a hand-basket, and had no moral compass. Obviously an attempt to recreate the so-called "Love Triangle" in the Twilight series. His "bad-boy" persona was Cookie Cutter perfect with no thought or creativity put into the character.

Not a bad movie, all together, and good, mindless entertainment for a few hours. But if you're truly interested in watching, don't pay to rent it. Wait for it on Amazon Prime or Netflix.
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on October 8, 2012
Really, really interesting re-interpretation of the fairytale that brings out the violence of the original fairy tale while not dumbing the story, itself, down for today's movie audience of ADD kids.

The scenery and costumes are period correct, the fighting is believable and the magic effects and fantasy elements are superbly invented and do not at all look like the "too clean" CGI of some films. It is superbly acted with the exception of the, as usual, awful Kristen Stewart who again bitchfaces her way through a role looking as stuck-up and disinterested as she is in real life. Hemsworth is AMAZING as a man who has given up on life and finds something to fight for in the promise of restoring Snow White to the throne of her father. Charlize Theron gives depth and meaning to the character of the Evil Queen who, in this variation, married and murdered Snow White's father. The writers actually give Ravenna a post-feminist spin by making her a wronged woman whose mother is murdered by feudal lords.

THERE ARE DWARVES! They use the perspective trick from the Lord of the Rings movies to make it work. It's really a great story and WOULD have been a great movie if not for the horrible, horrible performance of Kristen Stewart.
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