Videogum

The Videogum Movie Club: Snow White And The Huntsman

When the Snow White and the Huntsman trailer was released in November of 2011 it seemed to surprise a lot of people, including me, because, my goodness, that trailer was so good! So fresh, so beautiful, so exciting! And all from a Kristen Stewart action adventure version of Snow White? C’mon. C’MON. The last time I remember being that surprised by a movie trailer I had previously thought was just going to be another boring, old movie trailer was when I saw The Social Network trailer before a screening of Inception. (Remember how good THAT trailer was?) (What a great trailer!) But the difference between The Social Network and Snow White and the Huntsman — the one tiny difference, I’m not sure if you guys spotted this or not — is that The Social Network then actually turned out to be a good movie and Snow White and the Huntsman didn’t so much turn out to be a good movie. Oops. Which kind of makes sense! It’s honestly a little hard to feel too surprised or upset to find out that the Kristen Stewart-helmed action movie adaptation of Snow White wasn’t great. We did this to ourselves. We chose this. But one thing that we can be upset about it the widely jumped-to conclusion that the movie failed due to poor casting choices. Yes, Charlize is for sure more beautiful than Kristen Stewart. And yes, Kristen Stewart is 100% Kristen Stewart the whole time. But that wasn’t where the movie failed — the move failed in how it refused to acknowledge either of those things. 

Not to say that Kristen Stewart wasn’t bad in this movie. Just as much as I believe that the movie could’ve worked well with a charmingly odd Snow White, which I will get to in a second, I do believe that an actress who was cast as Snow White should’ve been able to act like a normal Snow White who doesn’t make you feel like maybe we should just give her a few minutes by herself and see if that makes her feel better. You know? Kristen Stewart should’ve been able to play the part of the classic sweet and charming Snow White, if that’s the part that she signed on to play. You’re an actress! Just stop making that face, speak up, and act like someone who doesn’t have the world’s shittiest life! But she, as was expected, played it through the dead-eyes and half-smirking mumble of Twilight’s Bella Swan, which made the whole thing a lot more confusing than I think it was intended to be. Like at the end when she was in the chair after being crowned queen, and it looked like she was going to murder everyone? It’s possible that that was just a lead-in to Snow White and the Huntsman 2: The One Where Snow White Is The Evil Queen Now, but mostly I think it was just because that’s the face Kristen Stewart has. Which is confusing. Also she sometimes had an English accent and sometimes didn’t. Which, you know. She wasn’t good!

BUT I don’t think that the movie would have been better if they cast a more classically sweet and beautiful Snow White. I do think the movie would’ve been better if the classically sweet and beautiful Snow White hadn’t just been dropped into a darker, action-oriented version of the fairy tale and given a sword. She didn’t need to be sweet and outwardly more beautiful than the queen to defeat her in the end (and certainly people have been able to usher others into war in the past without being beautiful princesses), so why spend so much time trying to convince the audience that she is sweet and more outwardly beautiful than Charlize Theron? When we can SEE that she is not? No offense? The updated take on the story should’ve included an updated take on the perception of Snow White — she can be charming, but she doesn’t have to prove it by running around with gross looking demon fairies and dancing with dwarves. And she can be beautiful, but she shouldn’t have to compete with the beauty of Charlize Theron using deceptive, dewy morning close-ups. We know what she looks like. We know what she acts like. And they could each have been ok — MORE than ok, even — if they gave us a reason to believe that, even with these odd attributes, this was OUR Snow White. Our Generation’s Snow White.™ The stronger, interesting, kind of weird one. Instead, though, she fell flat in a roll that didn’t fit, and wouldn’t have been interesting even if it did. Which was a bummer.

The Kristen Stewart Problem, though, wasn’t the only problem with Snow White and the Huntsman. Another, arguably equally large problem was the pacing. There was a lot of time spent on the scenery — which was beautiful! And nice to watch! — and a lot of time spent, like, explaining all the stuff we already knew about the queen draining the life from young women, but not nearly enough time spent on what seemed to be the most promising parts of the story. The land of women who mutilated their faces so the queen wouldn’t kill them, for instance, was a VERY cool part that was given very little time and almost no relevance to the story. As was the entire dwarves plot line. We met those characters — all of whom could’ve been very interesting! They seemed interesting! I wanted to know more about them! — and were given a bullshit reason to care about one of them so it was sad when he died and then watched them bumbling along, trying to open the tower, at a pace that felt like the director had someplace else to be. And with each of these examples, if they were given a little more room to breathe, I feel like the element of guilt Snow White felt for a split second when the Mutilated Women island was being burned down could’ve been explored further — guilt that all of these people were being murdered because she was trying to save her own life. (And that guilt could’ve served to propel her more once she found out that there was a significant reason for her life to be saved — that she was the only one who could kill the evil queen.)

Also there were some other annoying things like HOW DID SHE GET A COAT WHEN IT STARTED SNOWING AND SUDDENLY SHE HAD A COAT? And also, why was the queen so desperate for Snow White’s heart at the end? That is to say: Why did she allow herself to become so sickly and weak at multiple points? I mean, I know she wanted Snow White because once she had Snow White’s heart she wouldn’t have to kill any other young ladies anymore and she’d be immortal, etc., but it’s not like she couldn’t have just kept killing young ladies? Right? Like? Did she run out of them, or something? Just keep sucking out their lives! Who cares! Not you! And also: It was super dumb how her brother kept giving silly “this is the reason why you should be mad and try to kill me now” monologues before he had to do anything important. Also: His haircut. Also: Milk.

With all that said, though, I do think it was an enjoyable movie! It certainly wasn’t a GREAT movie, no duh, I just spent the past few paragraphs explaining how it was not a great movie, but it was beautiful and parts of it were exciting and I didn’t regret seeing it. So it’s kind of like, you know, what more can you ask for? It’s kind of a bleak way to view life but, really, WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR FROM THIS WORLD THAN A MOVIE THAT WAS JUST OK? It was fun! And one thing I really liked was the True Love’s Kiss moment. I may not even be right about this, but I was under the impression that Chris Hemsworth’s kiss that brought Snow White back to life did so because of how deeply in love he was with his deceased wife, rather than how deeply in love he was with Snow White. Right? I said that to the friends I saw the movie with and they said that they thought the kiss brought her back to life just because Chris Hemsworth also loved Snow White, and that they thought that was a particularly upsetting part of the movie. But I think it was because he loved his wife. Right? HELLO? If that is the case, then that was a very good new take on the story and I liked it a lot! So beautiful and touching! He loved his wife so much! Also I liked the mirror:

What did you think? Did you see it? It was the highest grossing movie of the weekend so I think there’s a good chance that you did! Did you like it? What do you think about the True Love’s Kiss question? Hmmmmm?