Rupert Sanders, director of Snow White and the Huntsman, is from the world of advertising. This has been discussed a lot in the many preview articles and reviews of this film – the second big-screen adaptation of the classic fairytale to reach screens this year. It’s understandable why people are making a song and dance about Sanders’s background. He has an enviable career, has scooped major awards, and has now directed a big Hollywood feature film. It’s just a shame that, despite looking utterly gorgeous, Snow White and the Huntsman is a big disappointment.
The story doesn’t radically shake up the original tale of Snow White. The role of the huntsman is brought more to the forefront (in order to provide a dashing, romantic lead who is present for the majority of the picture), and the dwarves are somewhat sidelined. But apart from that, this is classic Snow White on a grand scale.
Anyone hoping for a script that matches the film’s visual intelligence will feel short-changed. For every pretty image (and there are a lot of them, the best featuring wicked stepmother Charlize Theron dipping herself in some white milky-cream-type substance) there is a dreadfully clunky line of dialogue.
Chris Hemsworth as the gruff, rugged Huntsman is lots of fun. Kristen Stewart, as our title heroine, is rather weak in comparison, but that’s probably because the script doesn’t give her many lines to say. If you ask me, this is probably a good thing.
The film doesn’t move quickly enough, and I ended up feeling that I was watching a lot of things happen without anything actually happening. It’s a strange experience, but not a particularly favourable one.
Throughout the film, the screen is always busy and bursting with action, but it’s empty, vacuous action. Although Sanders and his cinematographers do their best to make this a rich, beautiful film to look at, they can’t save it from being drowned in a distinctly un-enchanted pond of boredom by its dead, crudely written screenplay.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), directed by Rupert Sanders, is distributed in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate 12A.