I’m continuing my fairy-tale addiction today and reviewing one of the most recent recreations of classic fairy tales: Snow White and the Huntsman. I have watched this movie three times and I still don’t completely understand it. There are so many mistakes you’d think the editors were drunk children (only slightly worse than normal children). But before I plunge into the vast depths of what-the-fuck?, I will point of the positives because I’m not a bully.
This movie is unquestionably stunning. Visually this film fits to the perfect fairy tale. The costumes are amazing, especially the outfits worn by the evil queen Ravenna. The sweeping landscape shots are breathtaking and indulgent. The special effects help with some great parts, like the bad acid-trip in the dark forest or Ravenna turning into a flock of ravens. All of these aspects make the movie too beautiful to ignore. And, of course, Charlize Theron. I was so entranced by her portrayal of the queen that I was disappointed whenever she was off screen. I found myself rooting for the baddie to win, and not just because I didn’t want to be “mainstream”.
Okay, that’s enough sugar-coating it. I’m going to go through a few problems that go beyond the crazy notion that Kristen Stewart is hotter than Charlize Theron. That casting director should hire either an optometrist or a therapist before his next decision.
1. They ignored the most basic rule of the Snow White fairy tale right after introducing it. The first minute of the movie tells the origin of the name Snow White: a woman pricked her finger and three drops of blood fell onto snow, and then she wished for a child with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ravens wings. Three very easy qualifications that were immediately ignored. Right after the origin tale, we see Snow White as a young girl with hair as black as amber, because it’s not freaking black at all. With such an extensive costume and make-up department set up for Charlize Theron, you’d think they would be able to spare a wig or some hair dye to follow the rules that they just mentioned. And even when she’s older, Snow White still appears to have dark brown hair at times. She also has pale lips. It’s a silly problem because hair dye and lipstick should be really close-by during a big budget movie.
2. Snow White being locked in a tower for most of her life should have done more than make her a little bit dirty. First of all, I have no idea how someone manages to have perfectly arched eyebrows with no tweezers or mirror in a locked tower. Secondly, Snow White’s social skills should have been absolute crap after having been kept away for so long. The only explanation for Snow White’s ability to inspire friendship and followers after imprisonment is that she was really just in the tower for a week and had a baffling growth spurt.
3. The sexual tension between Ravenna and her brother. I have mentioned in a previous article that fairy tales are pretty ripe with incest or bestiality, but we don’t have to continue that tradition. Some traditions are wrong, and incest is definitely, definitely wrong.
4. Why is William there? To be honest, I don’t really mind William existing in the movie, because his adult self is a fox. I think it’s an unwritten rule that as an archer you have to be sexy or you’re kicked out of the group. What’s weird about William’s presence is that Snow White cares about him, but the kiss that revives her is from the Huntsman. Seeing as the kiss is supposed to be true love’s kiss, then it seems her feelings for William aren’t there, making him one of the most tragic friend-zoned characters besides Duckie from Pretty in Pink. The character feels like a sad attempt to create a love-triangle, I guess because we’re so used to seeing Kristen Stewart being fought over in Twilight. I end up feeling sorry for William, especially because he seems more honest and well-adjusted than the Huntsman who is a drunk with a lot of baggage (aka dead wife). A love triangle is supposed to create tension, but it only left me confused.
5. This is the climactic speech that Snow White uses to inspire an attack on Ravenna: “Frost to fire and fire to frost. Iron will melt. But it will writhe inside of itself! All these years, all I’ve known is darkness. But I have never seen a brighter light than when my eyes just opened. And I know that light burns in all of you! Those embers must turn to flame. Iron into sword. I will become your weapon! Forged by the fierce fire that I know is in your hearts! For I have seen what she sees. I know what she knows. I can kill her. And I’d rather die today than live another day of this death!” This speech makes no sense.
6. The dwarves were not played by little people, but instead medium and tall-sized people who were made to appear smaller through magic (technology). This apparently upset some little-people in the acting profession, including Warwick Davis who has played dwarves, goblins and elves in multiple films (Willow, Labyrinth, Harry Potter, The 10th Kingdom, etc). Davis called the process of pretending dwarfism “shrinking up” an actor, and compared it to the inappropriateness of a white actor using blackface to be a black character. I can see how that feels like a jab at the little-people community, especially because they don’t have very many roles offered to them because of their size. Taking away a role they are better suited for must feel like a slap in the face. So, shame on Snow White and the Huntsman for upsetting little people and for especially upsetting Willow.
This is movie was gorgeous, but it was lacking in substance and general logic. It was like seeing an attractive person across the room at a party, gathering up the courage to talk to them, then having your attraction slowly dissipate as they start to babble incoherent nonsense. It’s such a shame.