Our Score: 1 out of 5 stars
Some fairy tales are best left alone. In doing some quick research I learned that there are no less than thirty filmed versions of the tale of Snow White. And I’m willing to bet that all of them (well, maybe not the X-rated version entitled “Once Upon A Girl”) are better than “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
As the film begins we are told, via narration, the story of a happy couple that wanted a happy baby. The missus pricks her finger on a rose and three drops of blood escape. Apparently the drops of blood signify red lips, black hair and white skin. Turns out the couple in question are actually the king and queen of a happy kingdom. The queen has a beautiful baby girl, who they name Snow White. And they live happily ever after. Just kidding!
I hardly know where to begin.
Apparently when the film was cast the actors were told that they either needed to speak like “this” or like “THIS!” Both the evil queen (Theron) and the fair Snow White (Stewart) either mumble their lines to their fellow actors or SCREAM them! As the magic mirror-loving, bird heart-eating queen who has apparently been done wrong by one man too many, Theron comes off as a better dressed version of Aileen Wuornos, the man-hating serial killer she won an Oscar portraying in 2003’s “Monster.” Her makeup makes her features fluctuate from a blindingly beautiful queen to a weathered hag who eerily resembles Courtney Love’s Althea Flynt at the end of “The People vs Larry Flynt.”
The queen also has a creepy relationship with her brother, Finn (Sam Spruell). And by creepy I mean “Angelina Jolie and her brother at the 2000 Oscars” creepy.
As Snow White, Stewart doesn’t have much to do while she’s locked in a tower. Once she escapes she proves herself to be quite feisty. However, she too is a shouter. And then there’s Hemsworth, who apparently was the only actor that was trying when the film was shot. Burdened with the only accent in the film, the kind that makes the word “three” sound like “tree,” and wielding a large axe much like he wielded his Hammer as Thor, Hemsworth gives the only layered performance in the film. Even the seven dwarves, played by who’s who of British actors including Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins and Nick Frost, couldn’t bring this film to life. It’s like everybody on set, sans Hemsworth, took a bite of the famed poisoned apple and drifted off to sleep. And since these aren’t Disney’s dwarves they’re saddled with such un-cute names like Beith, Nion and Gort. One of them bore a striking resemblance to Mel Brooks’ Yogurt in “Spaceballs,” but since he’s apparently blind I just call him “Blindy,” in memory of Walt.
The pacing is horrible, making a two hour-plus film feel EXACTLY LIKE a two hour-plus film. The script is cobbled together from pretty much every different version of the Snow White tale you remember from your childhood. Somebody better call John Lee Hancock, who wrote such films as “The Blind Side” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and tell him somebody added his name to the other two taking credit for the screenplay. Thankfully I have to watch “A Perfect World” this weekend so I can be reminded of what a talented writer he truly is. On the plus side, the musical score by James Newton Howard is a pleasant distraction from the action on screen.
Thanks to my crack research I’ve learned that two of the actors featured in “Once Upon a Girl” were Hal Smith, who played the loveable town drunk Otis on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and Frank Welker, one of the best voice-over actors EVER. Armed with that knowledge I think “Once Upon a Girl” may also be better than “Snow White and the Huntsman.”