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Snow White and the Huntsman (Blu-ray Review)

6 Sep, 2012 By: John Latchem

Street 9/11/12
Box Office $155.11 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and brief sensuality.
Stars Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris
Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan.

Unlike the lighthearted Snow White adaptation Mirror Mirror earlier in the year, Snow White and the Huntsman harkens back to a time when fairy tales were not just bright stories for kids, but fearful reminders about the dangers of life.

This is a thoroughly modern re-telling of the Snow White story that layers a “Lord of the Rings” style quest narrative on top of the traditional tale, which emerges more or less recognizable. Instead of merely having to survive the queen’s machinations, this Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is much more a woman of action, first engineering a daring escape from her long captivity by the queen, and then orchestrating a plan to unite with her father’s allies to take back her kingdom.

The vain queen, Ravenna (Charlize Theron), maintains her youth by consuming the beauty of girls and is told by her magic mirror that consuming the heart of Snow White will grant her immortality. When Snow escapes, Ravenna hires the Huntsman, whose role in the original Grimm story only covered the few paragraphs needed to convey his mission to kill Snow White, which he cannot bring himself to do. In his greatly expanded role in this adaptation, the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) betrays the queen and joins Snow White as her protector alongside the dwarfs they encounter in the woods.

The film does a decent job re-imagining all the familiar elements of Snow White, but sometimes gets bogged down by uninspired performances and a repetitious cycle of fight scenes. The Blu-ray includes not only the theatrical cut, but an extended cut with four minutes of additional scenes that mostly add character depth.

The Blu-ray includes not only the theatrical cut, but an extended cut with four minutes of additional scenes that mostly add character depth.

The best extra is a commentary with the filmmakers that provides an in-depth analysis of the storytelling and technical aspects of the production. Also included are several mostly routine behind-the-scenes featurettes about the writing, characters production design, costuming and visual effects. The most fascinating aspects of these segments involve how much the filmmakers were trying not to emulate the Disney version while at the same time playing off viewers’ familiarity with it. Also interesting is a glimpse at the visual effects behind the creation of the dwarfs, for which the faces of a cadre of well-known British actors were superimposed upon real little people.

The featurettes and commentary contain numerous instances of Stewart and director Rupert Sanders (whose wife plays Snow’s mother) discussing their working relationship, which takes on a much different (and slightly awkward) context in light of the revelation of their affair while filming the movie.

About the Author: John Latchem

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