Film Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Visually alluring, Snow White and the Huntsman is a feast for the eyes. Unfortunately the rest of the film does not reach for the same apex as the art direction.

Following her father’s death, Snow White is locked away by her stepmother the Queen. A huntsman is sent to kill her when she escapes to the woods. Things get complicated, however, when the huntsman discovers Snow White’s true identity, and the implication this has on the kingdom…

In some ways, Snow White and the Huntsman reverts back to the traditional tale in terms of the brutality of the Queen. The film is more vicious than the Disney version of the tale. This works well to build an antagonist that is truly nasty; a good contrast to the fair heroine.

The main problem with Snow White and the Huntsman is that the first half of the film is very dull. Director Rupert Sanders gives the audience very little to spark the interest. The screenplay is lacklustre, and there is not even a decent set piece to capture the attention. The second half of the film fairs better, but Snow White and the Huntsman never quite recovers from the boredom of what precedes this.

Snow White and the Huntsman illustrates what appears to be some rich influences. Aside from the fairy tale itself, Snow White’s connection to nature evokes Excalibur, while the image of the strewn bodies on the Queen’s floor is suggestive of Elizabeth Bathory. Elsewhere, the troll and fairies seem an excessive exercise for a tale that already boasts a wealth of fantasy imagery.

The art direction of Snow White and the Huntsman is superb. David Warren and his team should be applauded for creating such a memorable and distinctive look for the film. Likewise, Colleen Atwood’s costumes are fantastic, as are the special effects.

Despite a strong cast, performances in Snow White and the Huntsman are lacking. Charlize Theron is a fine actress, but here her delivery is caricature; no doubt thanks to the direction she was given. Kristen Stewart does little to endear herself to audiences, while Chris Hemsworth also struggles with the material.

Snow White and the Huntsman is ultimately not as enjoyable as it should have been. On paper it has so much going for it, but sadly the realisation is different.

Stuff To Look At

There is still some time to go before the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is unleashed (4th May, to be shown before The Avengers in US cinemas). I am trying to avoid the TDKR scoops/spoilers like the plague. In the mean time, here is some stuff on other upcoming releases.

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows is out in cinemas on 11th may 2012 and I am really looking forward to it. Warner Brothers have released this fun featurette about vampire history and the film’s televisual past. Dark Shadows is Tim Burton’s first film since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. The director also has Frankenweenie coming out later this year.

Prometheus

It’s all about the build up to the trailer nowadays. It was announced yesterday that a brand new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus would air on television during Homeland on Sunday evening. I might have to wait a little longer than that, as I don’t actually watch Homeland. While we wait for that, here is a short featurette on Prometheus and Ridley Scott. Prometheus is out on 1st June 2012.

The Dictator

The Dictator is due for release on 18th May 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen is stepping up promotion for the film, which will hopefully bring the laughs. Above is footage of an Australian television interview with Cohen (in character). Needless to say, there are some silly jibes.

Snow White and the Huntsman

After Mirror Mirror was surprisingly good, Snow White and the Hunstman needs to step up its game. Above is the latest TV spot for the film. I am really looking forward to the film because I like fairy tales and Charlize Theron looks like an amazing Queen. The Florence + The Machine song ‘Breath of Life’, which features in the film, can be heard here. Snow White and the Huntsman is released on 1st June, with previews from the 31st May 2012.

Rock of Ages

I for one am hoping that Rock of Ages will be the hot mess Burlesque was supposed to be. It has all the right ingredients; Tom Cruise as an ageing rocker, an eighties rock soundtrack boasting Journey and Def Leppard, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I have never seen the musical, but I am looking forward to seeing the film. You can view the trailer hereRock of Ages will open on 15th June 2012.

Trailer Round-Up

I have four trailers from the past week to share. As well as the full Prometheus trailer which debuted last Sunday, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterThe Lucky One and Casa di mi Padre are all due for release in the next few months.

Prometheus

I was lucky enough to see this trailer in 3D this week, and it looks great. Prometheus is a prequel to Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. Scott’s last few films have not been overly memorable, so perhaps returning to one of his most successful films is a good thing. Prometheus stars Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, and is out on 1st June 2012.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Tim Burton, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a rather interesting prospect. Pitting the infamous US president as a Van Helsing-type vampire hunter sounds like a great idea for an action thriller. The film stars Dominic Cooper, Benjamin Walker, and Anthony Mackie, who does not get enough decent roles. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is out 3rd August 2012.

The Lucky One

From the first few moments of the trailer, it becomes immediately apparent that The Lucky One is based on a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. It just has that look. Zac Efron stars as a US marine who tries to track down a woman who’s photograph he credits with keeping him alive. The Lucky One is out on 2nd May 2012.

Casa di mi Padre

Will Ferrell Armando Alvarez in the Spanish-language Casa di mi Padre. According to the trailer, the comedy is from the same team behind Anchorman, which bodes well. The film looks to be a satire of Spanish-language soap operas; the trailer certainly plays on this. Casa di mi Padre is due for release in June 2012.

DogWatch 2012: Part 1

Following the mild success of last year’s Dogs on Film, as well as my growing obsession with cinematic canines, I have decided to regularly feature film dogs on the site. This is a round up of the notable dogs that have appeared in films out in the first two months of 2012…

Dolce

Dolce, played by Pomeranian Hummer, appears in the marvellous Young Adult as protagonist Mavis’ pet. Although Dolce has a small role in the film, there is an amusing scene where Mavis tries to hide him in her bag as she checks in at a hotel. Fluffy and cute, Dolce is enough of a draw to feature on Young Adult posters.

Young Adult is out in cinemas Friday 3rd February. See more images of Hummer and his photoshoot.

Red Dog

Red Dog, in the film of the same name, is played by the adorable Koko. As the title suggests, Red Dog is the key player in the film, with humans taking a secondary role as companions and friends. Red Dog’s origins are a bit of a mystery, but the film aims to detail his time in the small town of Dampier, Western Australia.

Red Dog is released in UK cinemas on Friday 24th February.

Lady and the Tramp

To celebrate the release of Lady and the Tramp on Blu-Ray for the first time, dogs were invited to a special screening of the film. From the looks of it, they all seem to be enjoying the film. I am particularly amused by the small dog in the second row on the left, who has to sit on a box. Give him/her a seat in the front row! Being quite short myself, maybe I should start taking a booster seat to screenings…

Lady and the Tramp is available on DVD and Blu-Ray now.

Film Review: Young Adult

With superlative writing, directing and performances, Young Adult is one of the best comedy dramas in recent years. Jason Reitman’s film is a must see.

Mavis Gary is an author of young adult literature living in Minneapolis. Following her recent divorce, Mavis decides to return to her small hometown in Minnesota to try to rekindle the flame with her high school boyfriend. He is, however, married with a newborn baby…

It is the erudite combination of skilful directing, magnificent writing and an astonishing central performance that makes Young Adult such a fantastic movie. Not only is Mavis such a well written character, but she is depicted with the upmost authenticity. Despite some rather unsavoury traits, Mavis still resonates with audiences because she is so believable. Thus, viewers will side with her precisely because she is a flawed character.

Young Adult is an acutely affecting film, thanks to this brilliant depiction. Even those who find it difficult to relate to Mavis’ actions should find the film resonant. This is due to the fact that the themes are depicted so convincingly. The return to a glorious past, an isolated life, depression and an uncertain future are all ideas that should resound with viewers both younger and older than the protagonist.

Diablo Cody’s screenplay is fantastic, and definitely her best work to date. The dialogue is great, expeically the conversations between Mavis and Matt. These scenes combine humour with refreshing honesty. Young Adult’s pacing is also good. The film never feels rushed or dragged out.

Jason Reitman’s directing is both stylish and subtle. Reitman seems to have his own style, one that is not glaringly obvious, but one that differentiates him from other contemporary directors of comedy drama. After the critical and commercial success of his previous efforts, it is a real shame that Young Adult has not received the recognition it deserves during the award season.

Charlize Theron is superb as Mavis Gary. It is a testament to Theron’s versatility that she is able to play the character so authentically. Patton Oswalt provides excellent support as Matt, while Patrick Wilson is well cast as Buddy.

Young Adult may not please those looking for a stereotypical Hollywood comedy drama. Everyone else should find it captivating. Young Adult is a fine piece of filmmaking.

Young Adult Clip

Charlize Theron plays a fiction writer who returns to her hometown in Young Adult. In what I have heard about it so far, Theron’s character is similar to Cameron Diaz’s in Bad Teacher. Young Adult is directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody, which gives certain expectations. I have also heard a rumour that Young Adult features a fluffy dog, which elevates it to must-see level. In the above clip, Mavis meets her ex-boyfriend’s baby for the first time. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I act just as awkwardly when people present me with their offspring. Young Adult reaches UK cinemas on 3rd February 2012.

2012’s Most Anticipated

As 2012 arrives imminently, I thought I would share some of my cinematic picks for next year. Below are the films I am most looking forward to seeing next year. These do not include films that I have already seen that are due for general release in the next few months, such as Shame or Martha Marcy May Marlene.

1. The Muppets

Although The Muppets was released in America months ago, it is not due for UK release until February. It seems that we have reverted back to the 1980s in that the UK is getting such a big movie as this months after the US. I love the Muppets, so cannot wait for the film. I have tried not to read too much about it, but all that I am hearing so far is positive. The Muppets is released on 10th February 2012.

2. The Raven

From the trailer, this film seems to have everything; macabre murder mystery, Edgar Allan Poe and John Cusack. I love Poe’s work and the premise of The Raven sounds great; Poe pursues a serial killer who bases his crimes on the author’s work. Hopefully the execution will do the idea justice. The Raven is released on 9th March 2012.

3. Prometheus

Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated new addition to the Alien franchise, the teaser trailer for Prometheus has recently been released. It does not give too much away, but it looks very interesting. Hopefully with Scott at the helm, Prometheus will return to Alien‘s combination of science fiction and horror. With a cast which boasts Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, Prometheus is very exciting on paper. The film is released on 1st June 2012.

4. The Dark Knight Rises

The grandaddy of them all, the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy will be one of the biggest movies of the summer. I recently watched the prologue, which was impressive on the Imax screen. Like others, I was concerned that I couldn’t understand Bane properly. The trailer looks magnificent, so as long as Bane’s voice becomes clearer, the film should be a fitting end to a fantastic franchise. The Dark Knight Rises is released 20th July 2012.

5. Frankenweenie

Another remake from Tim Burton, but at least this time he is remaking his own work. Frankenweenie was a live action short from the director’s time at Disney. Stills from the film were recently released; Burton aficionados are likely to find them reminiscent of Vincent, a short directed by the filmmaker around the same time as Frankenweenie. The stop-motion remake tells the story of a boy who tries to bring his dog back to life, a homage to Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frankenweenie is released 5th October 2012.

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings was a triumphant film series, and fans of the books were no doubt pleased when it was announced that the director would return for The Hobbit. On a personal level, I am excited for the film because I love Gollum. The trailer shows the return of familiar faces; hopefully the film will be of the same quality as the earlier series. The Hobbit is released 14th December 2012.

Mirror, Mirror Trailer

I’m a little tardy with this one. Hot on the heels of Snow White and The Huntsman, the trailer for Tarsem Singh’s Mirror, Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White was released last week. This version of the fairy tale takes a decidedly different approach to its rival, with a much camper feel. Like Snow White and The Huntsman, the central character seems to be the Evil Queen in Mirror, Mirror. It is Julia Roberts’ Evil Queen which makes the film less appealing; she is too over the top in this trailer at least. However, Mirror, Mirror does star Lily Collins as Snow White, and Armie Hammer as the Prince, so the casting is more promising in some respects. Perhaps the ideal version of Snow White features Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White? Mirror, Mirror is out on 16th March 2012.

 

Snow White and The Huntsman Trailer

The film may be called Snow White and The Huntsman, but this trailer is all about Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen. Directed by Rupert Sanders, this looks as if it will be a definitive live-action fairy tale. This is especially pertinent, as next year also sees the release of Mirror, Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White, starring Julia Roberts. I think it was a smart move to concentrate on the Evil Queen, who was always going to be the most fascinating character. Perhaps trailers focusing on Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman will also be released in due course. Snow White and The Huntsman will be released in the UK on 1st June 2012.