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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 3, 2012
Oho! I knew it was only a matter of time before Kristen Stewart and I would cross paths. I've avoided the Twilight saga like the cooties, and so I've missed out on the fuss and the furor about her. But I couldn't pass up on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN like I passed up on MIRROR MIRROR, and, it turns out, I sort of fancy Stewart's performance. Skin white as snow, lips red as roses, hair black as a raven's wing. That fleshes out Kristen Stewart to a tee. Still, it's nigh impossible to trump Charlize Theron's turn as Snow White's rather... self-absorbed... step-mother. Theron simply mesmerizes. She's so good there are moments you sympathize with her - that poor, gorgeous, demented queen who as a girl was cursed by a mother's dark gift. Evil begets evil, and you sense that Ravenna must have endured some unspeakable sh--. Not that that makes up for her nasty practice of sucking the beauty and vitality out of innocent girls... Queen Ravenna is like the grim fairy tale version of Project Runway.

It's a darker iteration, grittier, moodier, more full-blooded. I think the Brothers Grimm would've approved of this interpretation; it matches their gristly sensibilities more. If you've brushed up on the fairy tale, then you know the kernel of the story. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN tweaks and embellishes on that. When the vain and vile but oh-so-beautiful witch Ravenna (Theron) murders her husband, the king, on their wedding night, it upends the kingdom, sinks it into a realm of despair and oppression. We also learn that this is only the most recent in a long series of regicides that Ravenna has committed. The king had one young daughter, Snow White, lovely and bright and pure, whom Ravenna promptly sentences to incarceration in the castle dungeons. For years Snow White languishes in wretched confinement.

I don't know how I feel about how the magic mirror is presented, the film granting it the ability to metamorphose, liquid metal like, into a faceless, flowing figure that stands before Ravenna whenever she extends that one familiar question. I get that they were trying to change it up with the mirror, but then they forgot the follow-thru. so, the mirror can assume a form. And then what? And then nothing.

In the story I read ages ago, the huntsman takes Snow White into the woods, at the Queen's behest, and in the woods the huntsman was tasked with carving out Snow White's lungs and liver (if I remember it right) as proof of her demise. But the huntsman demonstrates mercy and allows Snow White to flee. He instead presents to the queen the lungs and liver of a boar, and so the queen comes to believe that Snow White was indeed deaders. And so the huntsman exits the tale. But you only have to glance at the film's title to get a whiff that the huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), this time out, lands a meatier role, sticks around a bit longer.

Another fashion in which this film veers away from the fairy tale we know (**coughDisneyAnimatedFilmcough**): I like that there's only a smidgen of romance, but I like that the smidge that IS there is crucial to the plot. Not to get all Twilighty, but the story does force you to choose a camp to follow: that of the surly, drunken huntsman What'shisface or Snow White's childhood pal and the Duke's dashing son, William (Sam Claflin). Note that William is a bowman who seems to rival the Avengers' Hawkeye in uncanny marksmanship. Meanwhile, I think Chris Hemsworth exhibits solid acting chops, lending tortured depth and melancholia to his huntsman. He takes a Scottish accent out for a spin, and I'm gullible enough or listened to James Doohan enough to be convinced by it. But the trailers to ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER put Hemsworth's axe-work to shame.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN flaunts a secret weapon, or rather, eight secret weapons, in the shapes of dwarves. It kinda sucks for actual dwarf actors out there, because the film employs normal-height actors who then were CG'd down to Gimli-size. But, then again, Peter Dinklage is damn busy nowadays. These contentious dwarves - as played by the likes of Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost - end up stealing many scenes.

It's a stunning-looking movie, or to quote my date: "Ohhh, so pretty!" Rupert Sanders, after a career of helming snazzy advertisements, makes his debut as a feature film director. He brings along that same eye for spectacular visuals. He lends a spooky and foreboding atmosphere to the twisted Black Forest, and it marks Snow White's abject desperation that she elects to seek dubious sanctuary within its sickly boughs. When tree branches make it a habit to transform into serpents, I tend to wonder where I left my chainsaw (sorry, tree huggers). Conversely, Sanders' depiction of the fairyland is pretty damn wondrous and speaks to that inner child still in you (yes, even you). The narrative further expands to allow for Snow's encounter (or yell-off) with a bridge troll, and, later, with a tribe of females that had committed self-mutilation rather than face the Queen's attention. The film's final action flourish consists of the almost requisite epic battle. I've gotta credit Kristen Stewart. She does have presence and she does have charisma. Or maybe those eyes suckered me in. She rolls off that hokey rousing rally speech and just about pulls it off, and that with a British accent (that, okay, occasionally strays). Still, maybe my favorite bit - and I realize I kind of pooh-poohed the romantic angle earlier - concerns the kiss that galvanizes the poisoned princess. I saw it coming, I'm sure you'll see it coming, but it was still a very strong scene. An "Oh, yeah!" kinda scene. Crap, there goes my mushy side. Great. Now even my date is telling me to man up.

The DVD's bonus stuff:

- Option to view the film in either the Theatrical version (02:07:12 hours) or the Extended Edition (02:11:30 hours)
- Audio Commentary by director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, and co-editor Neil Smith
- "A New Legend is Born: Director's Vision Comes to Life" - behind-the-scenes featurette that explores various elements of the film such as the incredible art design, the stunts, the locations, the special effects, etc. (00:20:53 minutes)
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on September 13, 2012
I just want to start off by saying that I wanted to like this movie. I really did. However, this film is depressingly skin deep.

The good. The camerawork is absolutely stunning, the special effects as well. Your eyes tell you that there is a marvelous film before you, but that is as far as it goes. I have to say, before I start the bashing, that Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth try their absolute hardest making something out of the lines that they are given. Their performances were touching (Theron more so than the rest) and they at least gave some substance to it. Hemsworth carried most of the film when Theron wasn't in the picture. If it were just a story between the two of them, even with the horrible lines that they were given, it would have been at least a four star film.

Now for the bad, and when I say bad, I mean terrible. I never had much of an opinion about Kristen Stewart before this movie. I steadfastly stayed away from Twilight so I thought I had a pretty clean slate to judge going into this. Stewart, who plays Snow White, has been locked in a tower for years only to escape right before the Queen (Theron), who killed her father the King, kills her and takes her heart. Needless to say, after somehow finding this out in a slightly perverted scene, Snow White runs away. Then she runs away again after she loses her magic pony (actually, she abandons him). Then the Huntsman joins in and he runs away with her too. At some point there's a Troll for all of 30 seconds, then scarred women for another minute or so. At about the 1 hour mark we finally meet the dwarves. Throughout all of this, we maybe get 10 mumbled lines from Stewart. I can't say that this is entirely her fault. It is the writing that is terrible. But then we get to the acting. I swear, every single time Hemsworth spoke to Stewart you could see the pleading in his eyes. It's as if he were trying to say, "Please, give me some sort of emotion to go on!!" Alas, Stewart just stares back at him and breathes. Literally. This is the Snow White we get. A breathing, slightly constipated looking girl who squints off into the distance looking slightly befuddled. You can almost tell that the director is obsessed with Stewart from all of the closeups you get of her. I mean after about the 20th time I get it. She's beautiful. Now show me something MORE. I mean, Snow White, you were LOCKED AWAY in a TOWER for YEARS after witnessing the DEATH of your FATHER and the FALL of your KINGDOM. Any human being would have had some sort of melt down, but all we get is Stewart, looking beautiful. Hasn't anyone told these people that looks can only get you so far?

It was the wooden lead that sealed it for me. No matter how good the surrounding cast, you need a great lead to carry such a heavy weight of a film. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the patch work editing and dead dialogue that made it even worse. I was literally writhing in pain and hitting my forehead with my fist by the time it ended. Truly, it was pure agony to sit through for anyone who likes backstory and acting.

If you want to watch a visually stunning film, this is the movie for you. Before you go watch it though, I strongly suggest that you just mute out the scenes with Stewart, which is most of the film. After all, wasn't it only visual beauty that the director was trying to portray?

The fairest of them all truly is only skin deep.
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on September 15, 2012
I was hesitant because of all the Kristen Stewart bashing going around these days. I am a big fan of Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. I mean, on paper this should have been a good movie.

It's not.

The script is disjointed and forced. The plot has so many holes it would give a Humvee problems. Kristen Stewart is actually pretty bad. Very odd expressions and her emotional range is as bad as the internet memes indicate. She delivered a few of her lines fine, but I get the feeling the director gave up about half way through the movie.

Even Charlize and Chris aren't at their best here. Some sparks of brilliance showing through.

The best part of this movie is the 7 dwarves. I wish they had spent more time on these guys and less time on a senseless love triangle that never resolves anyway.

Also, the fantasy elements seem very slapdash. Even a good fantasy system has some rules and some definition. You never really get that here. I mean, I still am not really sure what gives Snow White any ability here to charm a troll? Maybe there was something I missed with the fairies... i fell asleep for about 10 min in the middle.

What is with Kristen Stewart, I mean, every time she seems to be summoning some kind of emotion, she usually just looks like she is passing some really bad gas.

Anyway, if you want to watch Snow White, stick with the animated version, its still the best. If you want to see Charlize, watch 7 Days in the Valley and if you want to see Chris at his best, watch the first 10 min of Star Trek (2009). If you want to see Kristen Stewart, I can't help you, maybe go see an eye doctor or a shrink.
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on August 1, 2012
Charlize Theron is stunningly beautiful and equally talented (as always). I could go on forever, but nothing needs to be said. Film-stealing in both appearance and performance; a wise decision to give the villain more than her fair share of screen time. I so wanted the queen to win.

Chris Hemsworth gave an excellent performance and was easy on the eyes. Rugged on the outside with a soft heart, just the way I like them. I hope we continue to see more of him in the future.

Kristen did what she does best, look the part. Damsel in distress, don't say much, play dead, good job. It's a shame she's so lovely and so talent-less at the same time. It's like Keanu Reeves had a little sister. Thank you to all involved who kept the title character from having to say more than one sentence at a time for almost the whole film. She had one big speech, which she delivered expectantly mediocre, but they had to let her talk some time. I hope her Twilight role doesn't carry her career much further.

All in all a definite go-see. Beautiful effects and a great interpretation of a classic story. Theron 5 stars, Hemsworth 5 stars, Stewart 3.
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on August 29, 2012
I'll admit, the theatrical trailer made this movie seem exciting and worthwhile, however, the actual movie experience was a major let down. The film itself seemed to drag on without a deep plot to justify the additional length. It felt like the film could have ended 30 to 45 minutes sooner than it did with the second half of the film being a chore just to get through. Additionally, while I thought Kristen Stewart would show some improved acting outside of the Twilight series, this film proved to me once again that she is a C- actress at best. There's a scene near the end of the film where Stewart gives an impassioned plea to rally the troops for a final battle. However, her poor acting skills were only magnified by this scene with Stewart being so overly dramatic to the point where it was just ridiculous. In fact, several people in the theater actually busted out in laughter during this scene. I'm sure the director did multiple cuts of this scene and if this was the best they could get out of Stewart then she has no hope of ever becoming an elite actress.
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on November 11, 2012
Thank you Kristen Stewart for ruining another movie.

There really isn't a plot line, the love story sucks, Kristen Stewart can't act, and basically this is just not a good movie. Save your money for something better.
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on September 13, 2012
I give this two stars instead of one based on Charlize Theron's performance. She was the one light in this boring poorly written snore fest of a movie. I am very glad that I did not pay to see this at the movies. Reading the reviews I thought the blasting of Kristen Stewart was just mad Twilight fans who wanted to get back at her for cheating. Turns out Kristen is just about the worst actor I've ever seen. Even given the weak script her performance brought the movie to a new low. The speech she gave near the end of the movie was so badly delivered it had me and my 14 yr old daughter laughing. My wife, always the smart one, had already given up on the movie and left the room to do something more interesting with her time. I feel like this could have been such a good movie that just missed the mark.
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on June 3, 2012
Alright, I'm going to keep this review as short and sweet as possible.

The Fantastic:

The environments that have been re-imagined are absolutely gorgeous, in fact, I would go so far as to say they top that of Alice in Wonderland and nearly rival Avatar.

Performances by Theron, Hemsworth, and just about every supporting actor are superb. Believable characters who, at some points, you can relate to on a very personal level.

Action sequences are fairly well played out, although in a couple of areas you have a severe 'are you kidding me' moment, like when Snow White rouses the Duke's troops to storm the queen's castle, then refuses to call them back despite the fact that they're locked out and being slain while waiting on the dwarves to raise the gate. Never let a princes lead a tactical military advance, right?

The imagery is very dark and in some places relatively creepy, some memorable moments are Snow White's initial journey into the Dark Forest and the Queen's knack for sucking the youth out of other people.

The poor:

Kristin Stewart. I'm sorry, but she's not an actress. I have no idea who in Hollywood thought she was a profitable individual, but her acting in general, and especially in this movie, are sub-par (ESPECIALLY in comparison to Hemsworth and Theron). That aside, I personally feel she wasn't even a proper cast for Snow White. I don't find her particularly attractive and her features don't compliment the character's very well. Half-way through the movie, I was so tired of seeing her I wanted to leave, save for the hope that her screen-time would become limited.

I understand that the character was to be one who has been alienated from humanity for over a decade, and has had to endure severe hardships; rather than feel these elements in Stewart's performance, I mostly got exactly what came out of Twilight- nothing. She has as much charisma as a 2x4 plank.

To her credit, she does break away from the Twilight mold in a couple of scenes and appears to attempt to act, but it fails horribly. The scene in which she is rousing the kings troops left me smacking my face with my palm in disbelieve that such a sensitive moment could have been portrayed so poorly, and her one-liner after killing the queen that the queen would "never take [her] heart" was just... Just atrociously depicted.

For every other aspect of the movie, I would give a solid 5 stars, the supporting acting, artistic design, music, and script are all well done.

Kristin Stewart's job earned a full 2 stars simply because she at least made the attempt to act in a scene or two.

Overall, I give the movie 3 stars. If you REALLY want to, see it in a theater in 2-d (not worth the extra price for the 3-d one), and wait for the dvd price to drop to 10 or 15 bucks if you feel the need to own it.
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on September 11, 2012
At the end of an epic movie like this, I should be smiling wide enough to split my cheeks. I wasn't.

Charlize Theron is beautiful and poisonous as the queen. Chris Hemsworth is strong and rugged and handsome as the huntsman, although he was a little light on the emotion. The photography was lush and wonderful and perfect for a story like this. The lack is Kristin Stewart.

Kristin Stewart is pretty, but she should never wear her hair slicked back from her face. It makes her look like she has jug ears. That aside, her acting is limited and she made me feel nothing for her. Her wonder was pitiful, her anger forced, her rousing speech pretty lame in delivery, and otherwise, she was just . . . lacking. What this movie needed was a Snow White that would do justice to the rest of the cast and the photography. Kristin Stewart just doesn't have it. I should have been cheering the end of the Queen. Instead, I felt more oh, well, that's over. It was all right. Lukewarm is not what I want from an epic movie and one of my favorite fairy tales.
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on November 12, 2012
I never got why anyone liked Stewart in the Twilight movies. I never thought she was anything more than average looking and never saw any acting from her that Jane Doe couldn't do.
My daughter pestered me to see this movie, so one saturday when my wife was gone visiting her sister I made popcorn and sat down to watch this movie with my 10 year old baby girl.
It was a decent adventure for awhile as Chris Hemsworth fronted the first half of the movie and Stewart kept her mouth shut.
But then, she began to try and act.
Kristen Stewart was horrible giving her little "we have to fight" speech. Granted, the writers were as much at fault for that dialogue, but in my opinion, she just cannot act. I picture her trying to do Shakespear and cringe.
I thought my daughter wanted to see the movie because she was a Stewart fan, but it turned out it was Chris Hemsworth she was into. We had a good laugh over that.
It was a pity that Charleze Theron played the role as the evil queen. I didn't like her character, but she, at least, CAN act. And she's far better looking than Stewart.
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