Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who seized control of her kingdom by marrying and killing its rightful ruler King Magnus (Noah Huntley), needs the life force of young maidens to maintain her beauty. However, to become truly immortal, Ravenna must consume the heart of her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Snow escapes, and Ravenna dispatches a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture her. But Snow, the Huntsman and a rebel army join forces to destroy Ravenna and restore the balance of life and death.
Well, since I haven’t seen this film and I’m seeing its sequel (which is really a prequel) soon, I thought I’d find out what I am getting myself into. I don’t really remember why I skipped this one 4 years ago, but after having watched the film, that decision was warranted. In terms of whether or not there are connections between this film and the next, you will have to wait for my review of the series’ next film The Huntsman: Winter’s War. I will say that since the next film is a prequel, I have a feeling they wanted to distance themselves from this film. Whether or not they go back to this time remains to be seen but based on this effort and the backstage drama which occurred afterwards (Google it), I doubt it.
The story here involves Queen Ravenna (Theron), who seized her kingdom by quickly marrying and killing its former king, King Magnus (Huntley). In order to maintain her beauty, she needs the life force of young maidens. To be truly immortal, Ravenna must consume the heart of her stepdaughter Snow White (Stewart). After she later escapes, Ravenna enlists the help of a huntsman (Hemsworth) to capture her. But he, along with Snow align with a rebel army to destroy Ravenna and restore the balance of life and death.
So the film started off very promising when we learned about the old kingdom and how that came to be as well as how it was later seized by Ravenna. We also got to see the young Snow White and followed her around for a little bit. This was all kind of interesting and then Snow White grew up and became Kristen Stewart. This definitely was not an upgrade and brought along many problems. I’ve never considered her as a terrible actress (she was decent in American Ultra) but I’ve never considered her to be a great actress either (I haven’t seen Clouds of Sils Maria where I hear she’s actually good in). This will not come as much of a surprise to most but this is not one of her finest moments.
Like I just said, she wasn’t the best here which is kind of disappointing considering she plays the most central role in the entire film. Because of that, we get to see a lot of her thus she has to provide reason for us to want to keep seeing her. She did not do that here. I did not find her to be very compelling to watch. This was because I did not find her character to be very likeable, it just felt like she was being carried by every other character throughout the film, seemingly never contributing to it whatsoever. She did not seem very motivated here by her constant blank stares and her general lack of emotion which in return, did not motivate me either. Her performance just did not have much of an impact with me.
I did not find the plot as a whole overly exciting as I found it to be quite slow at times and I also found myself bored. The pacing felt off to me as well as I found that the plot did not flow. What also got to me was little things in the plot that didn’t make sense to me. I’m not sure if they were quite holes but I found myself questioning what I was seeing. Sure, the technical aspects of the film were good such as the visual effects and the score but didn’t have as much of an impact with me as it didn’t change the mediocrity that was happening in front of me.
The other performances were okay and made this film a little more bearable. Hemsworth was a serviceable companion to Stewart, often making up for her shortcomings but there wasn’t really much to him here other than a weird accent. Of course we will learn more about him in the next film but that doesn’t count here. Theron was okay as well here as Ravenna, a little over-the-top for me most of the time but that was okay since she was an evil queen after all. What certainly didn’t help their case was the dialogue which was mostly bad and laughable at times with the worst offense being a speech from Snow near the end which was intended to inspire but was just unbelievable and bad.
Overall, this film does a decent job at setting up the world but doesn’t quite build on it with a mediocre story with mediocre direction and performances.