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The darker side of white

Paul Peterson

For the last few months we’ve been inundated with rather remarkable previews for Universal Pictures’ Snow White and the Huntsman. It lost the battle for release dates, ceding the first jump to Mirror Mirror, a relatively light-hearted rendering of the classic tale. It focused on outfits and happy endings for the most part.
The Huntsman is not only not your parent’s fable, it’s not even Mirror Mirror’s fable.
This is dark.
Deliciously dark.
Charlize Therion is over-the-top nasty in her portrayal of the evil queen obsessed with her own youth and beauty and willing to do anything to not age.
She uses the blood of virgins to keep herself from showing the vagaries of age but these are only temporary solutions. Eventually her power and looks will fade, but the mirror shows her another way. Immortality is just a minor detail away. If she has the heart of  Snow White, she will never fade away, because Snow is truly the fairest of all.
Therion is obviously having fun here. She has no redeeming qualities and seems quite proud of that fact. I’m guessing that for inspiration she channeled  Kim Kardashian  and Imelda Marcos, with just a touch of Lady MacBeth thrown in. Mostly Kim Kardashian though.
Ya, that’s a little dark.
Chris Hemsworth is the Huntsman, hired to retrieve White from the forest, and William is her childhood sweetheart who thinks he can help. Ah, the delusions of royalty.
Ok look you don’t need me to tell you the story of Snow White although this has enough twists and turns from first time director Rupert Sanders.
What you do need to hear from me is how spectacular this film is. The mirror is a terminator type transformation from the usual gold oval portal of self indulgence. It’s otherworldly and ghost-of-Christmas-future-nasty.
Hemsworth is a flawed hero, mourning the death of his wife and drowning the horrors of the forest in mass amounts of medieval adult beverages.
I have to admit since Thor I’ve had a bit of a man crush on Hemsworth. The guy can carry a film, or at least deliver on that leading man charisma.
Kristen Stewart was a curious choice. I know she’s been box office gold in the past but I don’t see the range here. Obviously the director went for an older Snow White, which gives her more credibility in fighting the darkness that the queen has in store for her, so I get that. I’m just not a fan.
There are eight dwarfs but one of them assumes room temperature which may just be a little bit of directorial showing off. Hey, let’s kill a dwarf.
The dwarfs are an interesting creation. A host of old English character actors have been rendered dwarfish by CGI, which gives them a familiar flavor but just shorter versions. It’s a bit distracting seeing the teeny tiny version of Bob Hoskins, but I’m guessing all the usual suspects in the dwarf acting pool were busy with the endless reality TV shows they seem to have on the Life channel or one of those also ran stations.
Look just go see Snow White and the Huntsman.
It’s visually stunning and the story has enough for both sexes. This is not for kids, unless you routinely tell your children bedtime horror stories.
Strong performances, a story we know but with a few new wrinkles, and enough visuals alone to justify the price of admission make this film a nice surprise. When I was previewing it I really wondered who the audience for this film would be so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be me.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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