This deliciously dark fairytale is only vaguely familiar to Disney’s Snow White. This story is frightening, surprising, and intriguing to watch. This is not a love story. Snow White and The Huntsman is a desperate power struggle of a queen obsessed by beauty and the influence beauty gave her over men. Charlize Theron has an on screen presence that gives everyone goosebumps, her conversations with the mirror are haunting and have forever spoiled the innocence of Disney’s version. This film was not afraid to shock and certainly didn’t hold back on the violence – it’s a grown up fairytale that leaves you with a sickly sweet taste in your mouth.
Snow White’s father’s kingdom was taken over and she was imprisoned in a tower for most of her life. This film is about her journey to another kingdom to regain peace, turning the fairy tale into a quest. Throw in some impressive special effects and battle scenes and you don’t want to blink incase you miss something. The journey is gripping to watch and although there is a romance element in this film it is not the focus. The amount of mythology in there was surprising – think Pan’s Labyrinth meets Lord of the Rings. The focus on magic and the supernatural changed the story – the plot goes into more depth and was more of a fantasy film than expected. There might not be a happy ever after for everyone in this story.
Snow White is not conventionally beautiful in this film. It’s her inner strength and pure heart that makes her the fairest in the land. Kristen Stewart’s acting was lazy, and for the most part she coasted through the film with the same awkward facial expressions she used in Twilight. Her performance was effortlessly over shadowed by Charlize Theron.
This version also elaborates on how the queen became seduced by power during her childhood and why her life became so centered around evil to preserve her own youth and beauty. Remakes are only impressive if something new is added to the original, and Snow White and The Huntsman definitely achieved that. This film raised some serious questions about the emphasis we place on beauty and how the desperation to cling on to it over anything else is ugly. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is clean to the bone.