Ever since the first age of cinema, the 1812 fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm has been adapted on numerous occasions into feature films and television programmes - most notably the 1937 animated Disney classic Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. Yet, there has not been any major hit of the story since then. However, 2012 became a rather lucky year for the Brothers Grimm as their work on this story was put to the big screen not only once but twice resulting in two separate feature films. Snow White And The Huntsman became the second of the two to be released. Initial expectations for this film were rather mixed but amazingly, it became a surprisingly intense, fun, exciting and at times terrifying ride as it solidly renovates the Brothers Grimm’s dark tale.
To be able to pull off a successful film based on a classic tale is a very difficult task and upon learning that director Rupert Sanders was making his directorial debut, there were speculations of how close it was going to be to the Disney animated version, let alone the original tale. In many ways, it is told as a traditional 1800s fairy tale but at the same time, it had certain aspects where it was just like a brand new fantasy film that wasn’t previously connected to any other works. Although Sanders’ work was impressive and has been a solid debut for him, entering the world of Snow White, the Evil Queen and the Huntsman had its rather familiar environmental and characteristic concepts to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and even Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Nevertheless, it was more or less a welcomed return to a vintage fictional, countryside world.
Kristen Stewart bridged a gap directly between her roles as Bella Swan in the final Twilight films as she portrayed the Princess with “skin white as snow”. Quite frankly, casting Stewart as Snow White, the protagonist of the story, is a rather typical move as due to Stewart’s current Hollywood star status and portraying what became a Disney Princess character, it’ll help the film gain more financial success. With this in mind, Stewart is not the perfect match for Snow White in terms of beauty and heroism but to a huge surprise, she pulls off a more than satisfactory performance. Following his breakthrough performances as Thor in the film of the same time and The Avengers, Chris Hemsworth takes the role of Eric the Huntsman. His performance was another typical ‘macho’ and heroic one that we have seen before. In fact, in certain ways, the Huntsman has his similar characteristics to the heroic outlaw Robin Hood. Following Snow White And The Huntsman and his performances as Thor, Hemsworth has expressed what he is truly remarkable at achieving.
Finding a suitable actress to portray a dangerously disturbed, deranged but young and beautiful woman does not come round the corner very often. South African actress Charlize Theron had already won an Academy Award for Best Actress in her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster back in 2003. Further to that, Theron still had a tremendous amount of beauty, which was an essential requirement as part of the Evil Queen. For the role in this film, Charlize Theron was perhaps the best choice purely because she was not only beautiful and rather terrifying to watch, but she also established an emotional connection between the Evil Queen and the audience. There was a background storyline about her young life, which revolutionized that she has feelings as a human being, as well as an evil witch and Queen. As told in the story, the dwarfs made appearances too, but this time there were eight of them instead of seven. As opposed to real-life dwarves, the roles were portrayed by Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan and Brian Gleeson respectively.
Overall, Snow White And The Huntsman is perhaps one of the most surprising films that you could see in 2012 and became a film that perhaps does not come close to the Disney version, but it is still a solid effort all-round. It is filled with lots of charm, dazzling effects, exciting action and most of all – the terror and scares within. Nevertheless, this is really not for the kids to see and is a dark telling of the story that is aimed preferably towards teenagers and adults.