You have probably noticed as I have, that occasionally Hollywood releases the same types of movies at the same time. For example, in 2010 there was Knight & Day and Killers, two very similar movies released within a month of each other. There are other examples, but the most recent would be earlier this season when both Disney’s Mirror Mirror (starring Julia Roberts) and Universal’s Snow White & The Huntsman were released. The former looked like children’s fare, while the latter appeared to put a different, darker twist on the classic fairy tale. I was also drawn in by the cast, which included blonde beauties Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) and Charlize Theron (Hancock).
Theron stars as Ravenna, the evil queen that we’re all familiar with. In the movie she is both beautiful and cunning, a narcissist who will stop at nothing to maintain her beauty. Kristen Stewart (Twilight) is Snow White, princess of a thriving kingdom. When she is just a young girl her mother dies, leaving Snow White and her father behind. Distraught and vulnerable after his immense loss, the King falls prey to the to the beauty of a prisoner his men encounter on a sojourn in the woods. He marries the beguiling dame, thus making her queen of his kingdom. The honeymoon is over almost instantly, and the new queen reveals her true motives. She murders the king, drawing youth and beauty from the taking of another life. She banishes Snow White, imprisoning her within the castle walls. Everyone thinks she is dead, and years go by. The once thriving kingdom has grown black and joyless. Every day the Queen asks her “mirror” who is the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. One day it tells her that another has emerged who is more beautiful. It is Snow White, and her life is in danger. She has supplanted her nemesis, a woman who views beauty as power and will stop at nothing to keep it. Each life taken by the Queen restores and freshens her beauty and youth, ensuring that she is the fairest in the land. Her mother instilled in her at a young age the importance of her beauty, and now there is a sort of supernatural force enabling her. Snow White gets wind of the Queen’s plans for her and escapes into the Enchanted Forest. Unable to retrieve her, the Queen enlists the help of the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth. This guy might end up being typecast as the big brawny hero in all of his movies, because other than Thor I don’t know what else he can do. Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with using your physical attributes in character portrayals. If he’s capable of greater thespian feats, I’m sure we’ll see it eventually. Dispatched by the Queen to capture Snow White, The Huntsman intends to follow her orders but changes his mind when he meets Snow White and has cause to question the Queen’s motives. He ends up protecting her, and they navigate the Enchanted Forest together, along with the dwarves they have befriended. The longer Snow White lives, the weaker the Queen becomes – because Snow White threatens her beauty and thereby her vitality. The Queen’s true age is beginning to show and she will stop at nothing to remain eternally beautiful.
That’s the basic plot of the movie, which for the most part was very good. I’ll admit that my eyelids got heavy at one point, but I attribute that to the warm weather and a momentary lull in the action. Snow White and The Huntsman spent a lot of inconsequential time in the woods, and it was at that point that I nodded off briefly. I enjoyed the movie, because I appreciated the more independent, warrior-like dimension they added to the classic character. Snow White was not a helpless damsel in distress; she was a princess who fought for her kingdom fearlessly. The Queen was a more complex villain, and Charlize Theron is so beautiful that her natural attributes lent themselves perfectly to the storyline. Was it the best movie of the season? Of course not, but Snow White & The Huntsman made for an enjoyable day at the movies. Grade: B+