Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman: Grimm goes glam!

The second Snow White adaptation of 2012 has now hit the screens at Majestic Cineplex in the form of Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman . Tarsem Singh's take on the Brothers Grimm's fable was of lighter vein. Mirror, Mirror ceased to live up to expectation and now, in comparison to Sanders' glamorous production, Singh's movies suffers further.

Snow White and the Huntsman opens with the prologue of how the princess was born. It later moves on to display how Queen Ravenna marries and kills off the widower king and holds the young princess, Snow White, captive in the tower. With the queen ruling over the land its life is shrouded by misery and strife. When Snow Whites comes of age the magic mirror declares her the fairest in the land. Enraged the queen decides to take the only option available to ensure everlasting power and beauty - consume Snow White's heart.

Realizing the danger that awaits her, Snow White escapes from the castle and takes refuge in the Dark Forest. The queen hires a huntsman to track her down but on realizing what is in store for the ill-fated princess he becomes Snow White's protector. With both on the run, Queen Revanna has to send another army of soldiers after them. Death is a constant threat in this cat and mouse game.

Snow White and the Huntsman is astonishingly beautiful in its grim landscapes as well as brutality. The queen's castle surrounded by gray clouds and strong winds enchants visually. The scene where she steals the youth of a young damsel is also alluring. Though they are in direct contrast to the beauty of the forest that the seven dwarfs infest and the spell binding moment when the reindeer blesses Snow White, they too have a mesmerizing effect on the viewers. The tone set here is close to that of Peter Jackson's magnum opus The Lord of the Rings.

The story embodies all the extractions that should be present from the fairytale with the presence of the seven dwarfs, the magic mirror, furry woodland creatures and the poisoned apple. Other elements such as the queen's image taking form from a pack of crows and a troll resembling a tree chasing Snow White and the Huntsman add to the excitement. Yet it does not indulge in fantasy alone. You get quite a number of realistic scenes in the film.
Casting the main role proves to be a problem because Kristen Stewart hardly seems to be the one 'more fairer' than Charlize Theron. Though she is not always convincing in her role of a warrior princess, Stewart attempts to portray Snow White's character with surprising maturity. Her role demands much acting talent. Unlike the character of Bella Swan in the Twilight saga, Sanders protagonist demands serious acting in portraying an innocent young lass who grows up into a brave young woman. One aspect that lets her down badly is the insecurity she displays even during the scenes that she leads the army into battle. The brave dialogs seem to be spoon fed to her rather than coming from within her.

Chris Hemsworth is even better looking as the huntsman than his Thor avatar. Sam Claflin's William is only a shadow compared to Hemsworth's role. The huntsman embodies immense bravery and masculinity yet shows his emotional side in moment when he begins caring for the young princess. Hemsworth takes control of these scenes superbly by displaying his affections through his eyes and gestures. Theron delivers a fine performance as the evil queen. She chills us with her cruelty as well as dazzles us with her beauty. Though we would love to hate her she evokes our pity especially when we find that her evil doings are a result of a spell cast on her by her mother. She is the energy behind the cast which keeps the film flowing and she is a startling vision to behold in Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood's dramatic dresses and crowns.

Interestingly both evil queens: Theron and Julia Roberts, outshine the Snow Whites, Stewart and Lily Collins, in Sanders' and Singh's productions.

The disappointment is that Snow White and the Huntsman leaves not room to explore the mounting attraction between the two protagonists. Viewers who have waited with bated breath for a romantic finish feel downcast to see that the only way in which the two lead characters acknowledge their victory and alliance is with a mere glance.
Ruwini JAYAWARDANA - Daily News