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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman - Rupert Sanders

Having read the original screenplay two years ago I have not bothered to see SWATH. yet understanding why Kristen Stewart chose Snow White to play an active, physical role was a good choice for her. I was not inclined to see it for that or for what I knew would be a fabulous Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. Lately I don't go to a movie just to see one outstanding performance. I want to see excellence in all of its details. 

So I almost missed it on the big screen. Another example of a quick judgement based on little evidence almost ruined an astonishing experience for me. Why I went was to observe what influence Rupert Sanders as a director had on Kristen Stewart and I went to read that interaction. My disclosure. 

It is an absolutely beautiful and breathtaking film. Yes, I have read the bits of literal observations that reviewers have noticed and commented about. Me, I drop my brains in the chair next to me for a fantasy of this type.  I say YES  and I don't care if accents are off, if a sword appears in the wrong hand, or anything else as long as I stay inside the film. Mirror, Mirror had me packing up and leaving before  30 minutes had passed with its funny ironic cynicism and asides that were so boring to me, but required you to pay attention to to get it. 

I didn't expect much from Snow white and the Huntsman but after this furor I did want to see the dynamics of what a smitten director might draw forth from Stewart. Awesome. Snow White's script does not give her too much range, but more than usual in some past films. And it was by far so well directed, seen, and opulently lush that it pulled me in. The discount audience around me was hushed for the entire film, quite unusual in a fringe town growing to be a city on the fringe of the Ozarks.

There isn't a woman, child, man or any other actor that won't want to work with Sanders. He knows exactly how he wants a scene framed, how he wants an actor framed. Charlize has never, never been more lovely or more subtly evil. Stewart is absolutely beautiful in some frames, and utterly fierce in others while maintaining her beauty. She now knows how to be in a rage and be beautiful at the same moment. Not easy as we all well know how distorted our faces can get in rage. Of course Charlize knows how in her sleep. Chris Hemsworth is ruggedly handsome, and is not used as a prop. Sam Claflin's Prince has something off about him in his first adult scene. I felt as if he were ill cast, but not so. He just slightly smacks of some insincerity that is in his performance, not an acting discrepancy.

And that reminds me that this director is a genius in casting. Not an off one in the bunch and there are a lot of them. Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones for two.

Beautiful and Smart

Stewart has another film for  
Love Letter in addition to Remember Me. Only it is a much bigger one, a lusher one, but perhaps not quite as subtle as Pattinson's fingerprints all over his film in the script. This love letter is all visual and musical. the music does not intrude and yet it enhances. 

It is a beautiful film that children will love and that adults will quite likely re-enter in a timeless zone of fantasy. Is it a great artistic film such as The Cronenberg is touted to make and doesn't deliver with Cosmopolis? No it isn't, but it's not meant to be, yet it still feels like art in a nostalgic way of recently earlier times. It is lovely.

At the end looking forward to a future film in the series, Kristen is crowned queen and her face is no longer innocent. She knows now that there are enemies in her court, and some very close to her who would kill her. Much as the young Elizabeth I knew when she was crowned queen. And who knows about the young Elizabeth II.
Fierce and lovely all at once

The Prince in Armor


The "feminist" Snow White has been accused of having to get men to fight her battle for her. What a stupid comment. She resonates with Jeanne d'Arc, who led the army of the Dauphin. ALL MEN! Doesn't anyone know anything anymore!

Sam Claflin - The Prince Who Betrays Her Hmmmmm.

The Test and The Affirmation

The Troll 
Just before Snow White faces the Troll the Huntsman has showed her how to use her dagger. He tells her that before she kills she must look into their eyes to see their Soul. 

This is what she is doing with the Troll, looking into his eyes and seeing his Soul. She sees a monster who is frightened. Missed by all reviewers I have read. A nice touch too. I expect - hope? - that children will get it.

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