Snow White and the Huntsman

Rating: 3.25 of 5 ★★★¼☆ 

I’m predisposed not to like Kristen Stewart. But I really wanted to like Snow White and the Huntsman so I hoped, at the very least, she’d be good enough not to ruin it. I thought: Please let her be flat. Please let her be unemotional. I’m ok with either of those. (I ought to have just come out and said, let her be Jessica Biel but it only just occured to me). If I’d had any foresight I would have thought: Please don’t let her be Bella.

The movie opened well enough with laying the foundation of the story. But as soon as the queen took over it was just shot after shot from the trailer. Don’t get wrong, they’re very cool shots. But I’ve seen them in the trailer – I came to the movie to give them context and depth but I didn’t get any of that. And the brief moments from the trailer piled on top of one another with no story in between are pretty, but not interesting.

Still, I decided, this is a two hour movie. It’s not going to take long before it expands beyond the trailer. Don’t be so cynical.

Then Kristen Stewart showed up. And as much as I genuinely liked the actress who played her when she was younger, I couldn’t like Kristen Stewart. And I feel horrible for being so derisive of her. But they give her this gift of precious little dialog (smart move) so she spends the first twenty minutes running around breathless and still all I can think is this is the exact same breathless Stewart we’ve seen in Twilight. And then she’s writhing in pain and they could have taken her audio track directly from the end of Twilight because it was exactly the same. And all the parts in between – where she had hardly any lines – relied on her facial expressions. All three if them: childlike wonder, breathless fear and pained angst. You cannot build an entire movie off such limited emotional range but they tried valiantly.

And then, she had to give the rousing speech toward the end and she was just speaking nonsense. I know she didn’t write the words. But Charlize Theron would have given them meaning. She would have been able to pull off an impassioned speech that is more than shouting. Even in that, Stewart was nothing more than one note.

And I hate being this person – all snarky and cynical. I dislike her even more for making me this person because I feel like I’d be lying if I said anything else. Though to be fair, she wasn’t the only thing I didn’t like. The creepy brother was really creepy

I loved Charlize Theron. She was brilliant as an incredibly complex character who is crazy and smart and powerful and tortured. It was beautifully done.

Sam Claflin was also good. I didn’t think his character required much until that scene where he completely surprised me with how interesting his performance really was.

And I mostly like Chris Hemsworth, except almost all his scenes were with Kristen so he really didn’t have anything to work with. I liked the scene with him and the queen. That was nuanced and interesting. But I didn’t believe any piece of him having fallen in love with Snow White because there was nothing there to love. Hemsworth did a fine job looking entranced (because, fine, she’s pretty and looked the part) but that wasn’t enough. And I felt bad for him because I can’t help myself – I pity actors I like when they have to portray romantic relationships with actresses I can’t stand. Admittedly it breaks the fourth wall but it also means I don’t buy into the central romance of the whole film so none of it really works for me.

But the costumes were great. I loved the twists on the fairy tale, especially the fairest of all. And the writer’s did a great job giving the queen context that really deepened the character. And Ian McShane! How did they get all the other casting so right and Stewart so wrong? It was a little over scored and under edited. But mostly it was a really decent movie with a colossal weak spot.

Writing:★★★☆☆ 
Characters:★★★☆☆ 
Performances:★★★¾☆ 
Kristen Stewart's Performance:★½☆☆☆ 
Directing:★★★¼☆ 
Production:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★¼☆ 

fyi – this would be an easy 3.5 without Kristen Stewart pulling it down

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