"Snow White & the Huntsman" was one of the most advertised and promoted movies of the summer - at least to me it seemed that way, as the trailers and clips were inescapable on every entertainment medium. With that in mind, I was looking forward to taking a look at the film when Universal Home Entertainment sent the Blu-Ray version my way.
"Snow White & the Huntsman" is a re-imagined retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. Not necessarily children's fare, in that it has a rather dark and brooding look and atmosphere, this film is tells the story how Snow White's stepmother, an evil witch, is violently seizing the throne and banishes the young child to a tower, where Snow White is growing up.
The evil queen uses young girls to drink their life essence to stay young forever and she hopes that one day, once Snow White comes of age, she will devour her untainted energy and become immortal and young forever.
One day, however, Snow White manages to escape and flees into the country side, and despite her dark magical powers, the evil witch is forced to hire a huntsman to track Snow White in the Dark Forest. Her plan backfires, however, when the huntsman finds Snow White and realizes that the evil witch has betrayed him. Together, the hunter and Snow White try to escape the clutches of the evil queen, but the witch is using her vast assortment of tricks to hunt them.
There is nothing cuddly about this story or the film. Yes, you have the seven dwarves, but they are more like "Lord of the Rings" dwarves - grumpy suspicious men with minds of their own. You have fairies also, but again, they are not the altogether whimsical sort that Disney has indelibly burned into our minds. The entire world of Snow White is dark, dangerous and gritty.
While this could have been a great recipe for a great film, ultimately, "Snow White & the Huntsman" was a let down for me. So much so, in fact, that in the ned I decided to fast-forward through it, because it just became so tedious to watch.
The film is extremely predictable - which I could live with. What I had problems with is the tedium, how everything is stretched out ad nauseam. Characters keep talking and talking and talking, and it is all irrelevant to the story. There is at least 30+ minutes of backfill in the movie that serves absolutely no purpose and instead of showing it in exciting sequences, it is either narrated or discussed by characters. The show don't tell rule went completely out the window in this film.
In addition, I found the cast very uninspired. Only Charlize Theron gives the part her all, and she makes her witch wickedly evil and menacing. Her portrayal is the sole highlight of the film, I'm afraid. Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, is a complete miscast, as she has the emotional range of a teaspoon (Hermione's words, not mine...), and simply does not have the beauty that you would associate with such luminous a character who is supposedly the most fairest girl in the entire world. Sorry, no, Kristen is not it.
Chris Hemsworth makes a good Avenger, but please don't try to cast him in parts with real dialogue. His delivery is just not there and while he might be nice bulk in action scenes, the rest of the time he just gets in the way.
On the upside, the film did have some nice visual effects. From sizing actors down to dwarf size in a believable manner to the creation of some cool fantasy creatures, the visual beauty of the film is really all there is to behold and enjoy.
Coming straight from a digital source, the high definition transfer on this Blu-Ray release is pristine and without any blemishes or defects. The level of detail is incredible, rendering the lush scenes with mesmerizing textures and definition. Black levels are deep and solid and the colors are fascinatingly rich.
The DTS Master Audio track on the disc is solid and very aggressive, bringing to life the action scenes, as well as the dark, ominous scenes of the evil witch's magic to life with powerful surround effects. The low bass extension gives the track plenty of body, while the high ends remain clean and clear throughout.
The release offers up the original theatrical cut of the film, along with an extended version that adds a whole four minutes of addition footage to the movie. Yes, I am being sarcastic here...
A number of bonus materials are also part of the release, including a Second Screen feature with behind the scenes info, as well as featurettes on the reinvention of the fairy tale, and a 360 degree set tour. Also look for a commentary track on the disc, but since I didn't care for the film to begin with, I did not really take much time to listen to it.
to me "Snow White & the Huntsman" was a big let down. I had expected a film that was engaging and inspired, and instead watched something that was tedious and boring. If it hadn't been for the grand visuals at times, I am not sure I would even have watched the film to the end. So, caveat emptor, your mileage on this release may truly vary.