On the weekend we went and saw Snow White and the Huntsman. My overall feeling leaving the cinema was that I was sad in general, because this movie had a chance to do something amazing with the Snow White story, and just failed in general.
I didn’t hate the movie, and there were a few parts that I truly enjoyed. I just thought it should have been more.
I’m going to cut this, since I am likely going to talk spoilers.
First of all, I am going to state it outright: I do not think Kristen Stewart was a good fit for Snow White at all. I don’t think she has the screen presence or the acting talent to carry the role. I also think the director was absolutely dreadful at filming her – the husband and I were actively laughing at how awful and stupid she looked when “dying” after eating the apple. I would have loved to have seen an actress who could really carry the role – who could embody strength while also being the beauty that Snow White is required to be (and in that, making her beauty redundant).
Much has been made of Snow White being badass in this – picking up a sword and fighting instead of being passive. But I honestly didn’t see her as being anything but passive. She gets locked up, and manages after how many years to notice a nail outside the window (that would have also been there for years, dammit), and yes she does fight her way free, but she gets free almost as much by luck as anything else. I like some of the subtle hints that the land itself is trying to get her free and save itself, but hell, she just ends up going along for the ride, pretty much just running from one place to another and looking pretty as she communes with nature. Even the fighting at the end – she just gets armour slapped on her (and more about that armour later) and only manages to defeat the Queen because someone else (a male, natch) told her how.
This is not the feminist fairy tale I wanted, dammit.
There are so many things that occurred to me as a writer which could have improved this. Like taking “and the Huntsman” out of the title, dammit, and maybe even getting rid of the Huntsman himself (and especially getting rid of the love triangle that goes nowhere). If you’re going to make a little tiny girl run around in fecking plate mail, make her have to train to use it. And don’t make her sprint up a zillion steps in it and barely get winded. That crap is heavy, guys. I’m a fairly small woman, and I’ve worn chainmaille, not even plate, and it kills you. Some sword training, would be handy, too, while you’re at it.
And also – it would have been nice for Snow White to not look like a thirteen-year old standing awkwardly in borrowed clothing while she was crowned, kthnxx. You’re becoming a queen, at least pretend to have some dignity.
I loved the Queen draining the land and people to sustain her magic, and I like some of what they tried to do with her character. I would honestly have rather seen her be under a curse, giving her a real reason other than generic king/man hating and what boils down to an obsession with being beautiful (because beauty is her power? wtf?) for invading a kingdom and taking over. Seriously, what is she actually doing with the kingdom, dammit, other than hanging out in her tower with ravens and occasionally killing people? Give her a damn reason, please. Also – why on earth the standing in the fire near the end? Too much grandstanding and monologuing and generally trying to be evil. I think Charlize Theron actually did a pretty good job with what she was given, and I can only imagine that she winced at some of the lines she had to read.
Things I would have liked to have seen: the land itself waking just by Snow White’s presence. Don’t tell us that people’s minor injuries have improved just by her being there? Show me flowers budding in her wake (which also gives a believable trail for the bad guys to follow). And show me realising her own power, and actively working to return her land to life. I would have loved to have seen all the vines growing through the castle return to life when she was crowned.
And other random wtf I’d almost forgotten about – why on earth does Snow White recite the Lord’s Prayer in a place where we’re shown no other evidence of the Christian religion? It would have been awesome to have her sing or recite some kind of nature-based thing, maybe taught to her by her mother.
All in all, this just makes me pretty much want to write my own Snow White story. Maybe I will.