Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Film Review of Snow White and the Huntsman

Who knew that the various shades of black and white could be a cause for catharsis?  It provided a strong yet elegant backdrop for Ravenna's usurpation of the throne of King Magnus,  the princess's incarceration in the North Tower, the magic in the Dark Forrest, and the death and resurrection of hope.  I am referring to the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.  It's a thrilling stimulus to the sense of  vision and audition masquerading as a two-hour retelling of a classic tale.

Let me tell you this early that I have a penchant for watching animated DIsney Princess movies.  Having said that this version of Snow White by screenwriters Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini is now a new favorite of mine.  In a sense and to a greater extent, the story is out-and-out.  The clinical version of Disney is great for its intended audience but this version for me is so much better.  If you haven't watched it, I suggest you do and stop reading this.  If you are still not convinced, well then read on.

Red drops of blood against the white snow.  Fully bloomed red rose against the harsh winter.  The story began with these vivid pictures of contrasting colors.  Allegories of purity, beauty, innocence, betrayal, sacrifice, looming danger, death, triumph, and grace under harsh conditions.  The Queen wanted a child for so long and was blessed with Princess Snow White.  The first few scenes in a way sums up the whole story but of course, we wanted to see how the story unfolds.

So, there goes the death of Snow White's mother.  She was very young when her mother passed on.  But the film was able to show Snow White's pure and gracious heart when she tried to save a little magpie.  It is apparent how this act of compassion was passed on from the kind-hearted Queen.

Snow White grew up with the Duke's son, William.  The film has effectively established on an early stage how Snow White has been tricked into eating the poison apple - through her trusted friend William.  The shape-shifting villain took on the form of the Duke's son.  In a way, this is more logical.  You take and eat an apple from a friend rather from an old lady stranger.  This of course happened later in the film, but the way the film established Snow White's trust in her childhood friend, and how this has been exploited as the means for her death is cunning! 

The war of King Magnus, father of Snow White, with the dark army is a visual splendor.   The eventual rescue of Ravenna from the dark army is an obvious trick.  But her undeniable beauty and fairness lured the King nonetheless - a realistic take on how beauty blinds even the mightiest and wisest of all warriors.

The wedding of King Magnus and Ravenna presented the conflict between the new Queen and the "standard of beauty" of the kingdom, Snow White.  Charlize Theron played Ravenna.  Her bewildered and then annoyed expression in the wedding scene where most of the people present in the wedding are looking at Snow White instead of her while walking towards the altar, is priceless.

Ravenna's brutal stabbing of King Magnus provides a foretelling of her utter wickedness.  She threw Snow White in the dungeons and claimed the whole kingdom for herself.  Death ensued, figuratively and literally.  

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of us all?"  The mirror as a polished metal is excellent.  It's not glass which is befitting of the time and setting.  Instead of a seeming reflection, the Magic Mirror appeared to melt and the liquid metal shaped into a faceless human form.   I can't help remember Sedako coming out of the television set in the Japanese horror flick, The Ring.  Then when the Magic Mirror formed into a human form, I was reminded of Terminator and the statuette of the Film Academy Awards, Oscar.  Obviously, I do not know whether I should be amazed, terrified, or blurt out a laugh.  But you cannot deny the film's new take on the infamous Magic Mirror.

The film continued on and showed how Ravenna needed to suck the life force off of young women to remain youthful.  She needed the "fairest of them all" in order to become immortal.  She needed to take Snow White's heart because Snow White is also the reason for her weakening and later undoing.  Snow White came of age inside the dungeon and she escaped into the Dark Forrest.  Kristen Stewart in so many ways is perfect as Snow White.  I just wish that the film isn't shown very close to her other movies as I tend to think of her other roles especially with that vampire movie that distracted me from fully appreciating and enjoying her performance.

I am afraid that the huntsman is another story.  Chris Hemsworth is brilliant in his scene with the dead Snow White.  A lot of times I cannot understand what he is saying.  Is it me?  I don't think so.  He speaks like Arnold Scwarzeneger and at times like Sylvester Stalone.  He is better off with those fight scenes and scenes with fewer dialogues.

All in all the movie is a refreshing retelling of the tale we have heard or seen a million times.  The special effects are outstanding - the troll, the nature god, transmogrification of Ravenna, and others.  The thing that I really liked about the film aside form the cinematography is the SCORING.  It should invite an Oscar nod.  I wish I could tell you more about how Snow White was resurrected, how one of the dwarves died, how Snow White learned that one defense move that saved her life and her kingdom,  how the movie ended, and other major scenes of the movie.  But I would like you to see them for yourself.  I can assure you that they are marvelous.

It is obvious that I very much liked the film.  Well, you should go now and see it.  Even if you do not agree with what I said here, one thing is for sure - the movie is worth your money.

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