“Snow White and the Huntsman” has been so successful after its first week that, apparently, the sequel has been green-lighted to begin production. We’re hopeful that be the time production begins, Kristen Stewart as the eponymous heroine (and better known for her roles as the love-struck Bella Swan in the “Twilight” series) will have taken a few acting lessons. Of all the feisty action heroines to have leapt, kicked and sweated their ways onto our screen recently, Kristen’s Snow White is the least persuasive of being able to do anything more active than to lounge around a pool in LA (under a wide umbrella), sipping mai-tais or whatever they sip in LA.
No matter, this retelling of the Brothers Grimm story is an action-packed saga that’s a far cry from the Disney version; though the elements of the basic tale (you know, mirror mirror… evil queen; poisoned apple; haunted woods etc) are all there. The good news is, despite Kristen’s vacuousness, this version has Charlize as the wicked queen, Ravenna. She clearly relished this role and pretty much commands every scene she’s in. She also essentially turns the mirror into a liar. In that land, hell, in any land, ain’t no-one fairer than her.
“…Huntsman” was director Rupert Sanders’ first major movie – it augers well: though the movie sagged a bit here and there (it’s over two hours long), generally he keeps the story flowing at a fast clip, propulsively aided by James Howard’s notable musical score. This ex-roadie for Elton John, who also worked on “The Sixth Sense and “The Fugitive” gives us the kind of edgy nervous violins that are reminiscent of the Bourne trilogy.
And, clever man, what’s notable with “…Huntsman” is that we’ve sort of seen it all before. Sanders gives us a fresh take on an old story through a lens we’ve looked through before. With production designer, Dominic Watkins (a master cheese-maker turned production designer, who also did “The Bourne Supremacy”), these two bring a visual energy that sometimes simply steals, but often improves on work from masters of the craft. The movie is visually a nice mash up of “Lord of the Rings” (lots of it… Peter Jackson should earn a royalty), early Disney, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” and “The Game of Thrones”. I guess if you’re going to steal styles, might as well steal from the best.
And as for “Huntsman, part two”, we’re left dangling with the real…deeply existential… questions the movie offers us: will she make out with the sapsy prince or will the rugged huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, of “Thor” fame) steal her innocent heart?