Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Review by James Colt Harrison

If you are expecting to see cute bunny rabbits, lambs and chirping birds in Universal Pictures and producer Joe Roth’s new, updated version of the classic fairy tale, forget it. You had better go rent the original 1937 Walt Disney version for all things sugary and adorable.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a breathtakingly paced and stunningly photographed film (cinematographer Greig Fraser) that will, itself, become a classic. Production values are all superb, from  the Production Design by Dominic Watkins to the Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. The film is a treat to the eye. Design professionals will want to eye this film for every aspect of its contribution to architecture, decorative artifacts, and jewelry.

Charlize Theron gets to chew the scenery in her role as The Wicked Queen. It’s not bad-mannered chewing, but almost over-the-top which stops just short of being campy. Ms. Theron knows how to act and she has an Oscar® to prove it. The South African actress squeezes every drop of drama out of her character--- a vain, hateful, mean-spirited woman who will do anything to remain the “fairest of them all” in the magic mirror. When she hears that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is more beautiful and virginal than she, she goes berserk and hires hunky Chris Hemsworth to go out and kill the poor little Snow White.

Not counting on Hemsworth to see through her evil plans, the Queen is not ready for him to begin protecting Snow White. He teaches her to become a warrior so she can protect herself against the Queen.

Not all is doom and gloom, and the dwarfs add a touch of humor in their brief, but memorable, scenes. See if you can spot British actors Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Bob Hoskins. There are some quick-hand magical special effects here.

I was happily surprised at Kristen Stewart’s performance. To be perfectly honest, I never liked her glum demeanor in the Twilight movies and could never fathom why in the world she was in films at all. She always looked disengaged and not wanting to be there. But in this film she has changed all that. She even managed a small smile, but it did seem tough for her to manage---like prying open a frozen banana.

Chris Hemsworth is, of course, the male star of the year. The Melbourne, Australia native is 28 years old (his birthday is coming up on August 11). He is the older brother of Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) and the younger brother of Luke Hemsworth, both actors.

Chris began his show business career with small parts on Australian TV. He hit the jackpot when he was cast in the show Home and Away and stayed for 171 episodes. He began making plans to move to the United States so he could conquer Hollywood. After being in Hollywood only six weeks he snagged a role in the film CA$H in 2008. Director Stephen Milburn Anderson said, “I was very impressed. Let’s face it, he’s beautiful.”

Hemsworth was quickly cast in J. J. Abrams’ 2009  Star Trek and did a couple of small independent films. He really didn’t have much of a film resume when he snagged the great break of all-time—that of the title role in the Marvel Comic film Thor. The film was a box-office smash and he became an overnight sensation. This led to reprising his role in this year’s biggest film, The Avengers with Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson.

Chris Hemsworth has indeed become a major star, and Snow White and the Huntsman will only further his popularity. Universal Pictures/ Roth Films.

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