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Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

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Snow White and the Huntsman is a complete reimagining of the classic German fairy tale. While this latest adaptation contains dark imagery aimed at adults, it’s still the same fairy tale you’ve always known, right down to the Seven Dwarfs. This may make some of the purists happy, but it will unfortunately leave many moviegoers wanting a whole lot more.

Snow White and the Huntsman posterYes, in this version of the film there are battles between armies and some vicious fantastical monsters; however, these elements do very little in terms of adding something new to the same old story. Instead these scenes feel like additions made only to meet the audience’s fantasy film expectations.

The epic battles (which don’t seem all that epic) feel like an aside to the fairy tale, and don’t mesh very well into the story. We’re told that Snow White is supposed to lead an army against the Evil Queen and restore her father’s kingdom, but the reasons behind Snow White’s charisma aren’t properly articulated, and are never well examined.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has legitimized the fantasy genre, but in doing so it seems to have defined what people expect from a fantasy film. It’s now expected that fantasy films contain monsters, castles, and armies. Rather than having the courage to be different, Snow White borrows these elements with uninspiring results.

The only area where Snow White seems to really shine is in its visuals. This is a very well photographed film, and the special effects are excellent. Visually this movie is often quite beautiful, even if the beauty is somewhat repetitive.

The creators behind Snow White and the Huntsman seem to have some great ideas in terms of giving this film a unique look, but it’s all never properly realized.  The photography and special effects are quite a spectacle, but they lack the variety necessary to make the film valuable on that basis. The same imagery will be used over and over again, which only serves to cheapen the experience as a whole.

This isn’t to say that Snow White and the Huntsman is a bad film — not at all. This is a very well made motion picture, and it would be hyperbolic to say that this is a sloppy film. There’s a lot about Snow White that I really enjoyed, but I can’t help but feeling like the film could have been so much more.

While Snow White has moments that are quite fun and entertaining, the serious moments fall flat due to a lack of character development. You never really get to know the characters on screen, even though the actors do a decent job of selling them.  

Even the relationship between Snow White and the Huntsman — the title characters — lacks the growth necessary to be interesting. I understand that the original fairy tale isn’t renowned for its rich backstory; however, this complete reimagining would have really benefited from giving the characters some semblance of depth or development. 

All things considered, Snow White just isn’t good enough to stand out amongst the other movies you’ll see this summer.  Some kudos has to be given to the filmmakers and investors for being brave enough to turn Snow White into a summer epic. Maybe this movie really is the best we can hope for when meshing a fairy tale and a Hollywood blockbuster. Still, I can’t help but feel like this reimagining really could have benefitted from more imagination.

2.5 Stars

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About Chad Michael Van Alstin

Chad is an award-winning libertarian opinion columnist. He's done with that now. Having earned himself a B.A. in Mass Communication, Chad now spends most of his time as a wage laborer, killing the pain by consuming as many video games and movies as possible. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadVanAlstin