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Snow White and the Huntsman - Blu-ray Review

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Snow White and the Huntsman - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

Fairy tales are all the rage in Hollywood.  As source material, the 19th century Brothers Grimm tales are dark and, visually, make for exciting worlds to explore.  First-time director Rupert Sanders capitalizes on his stylized commercial and music video experiences and gives Snow White and the Huntsman a visual palette that is both grim and imaginative.  Unfortunately, the heavy metal medieval spectacle is populated with too many one-dimensional characters and has far too little emotional impact for its fantasy structure to make it a completely satisfying outing.

Written by first-time screenwriter Evan Daugherty and veterans John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) and Hossein Amini (Drive), Snow White and the Huntsman follows the first half of the Brothers Grimm tale well.  King Magnus (Noah Huntley), after the death of his wife, Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross), is tricked into marrying the beautifully evil witch, Ravenna (Charlize Theron).  She promptly kills him and takes over his now vacant throne while concentrating on protecting her beauty by sucking the souls out of men and women.

As the King’s daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), comes of age, she is considered a threat to the Queen due to her beauty and is imprisoned.  The only way out for Snow White is an elaborate escape through the sewers and a long dive into the waters that surround the castle.  Eventually, she slips into the Dark Forest and disappears from the Queen’s henchmen.

When Ravenna learns that she can gain immortal beauty by eating Snow White’s young heart, she immediately enlists the aid of a drunk Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down and kill her.  But, with the aid of seven dwarves and all sorts of creatures, Snow White and the Huntsman have other plans concerning her destiny and the future of the Kingdom.

The film starts with promise as Theron dominates the moody spectacle with campy muscle and a great sense of darkly realized physical embodiment.  Her character is twisted and her prowess is literally felt through the screen.  She knows the mood of the picture better than the director.  The CGI surrounding her, including bleeding eyes, a nice collection of figure-forming ravens, a demented version of a milk bath, and a golden cloaked mirror, also sets the audience up for a rather serious take on the Snow White fairy tale.  Snow White’s darkly disturbing trek through the Dark Forest and the inclusion of Hemsworth, who shows a good emotional side in this production, as her eventual protector are also solid touches.

The first act is as good as the picture ever gets.  With the inclusion of the poorly shot and poorly rendered (yes, they do change sizes throughout the film) seven dwarves (including such recognizable actors as Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, and Toby Jones), the movie simply falls apart in bizarrely sequenced scenes that don’t flow and a sudden romance that has no business existing. There’s also a weird mythological creature that somehow gives Snow White the power to unite the kingdom against the Queen.  Pasty-faced faeries and the inclusion of childhood best friend, William (Sam Claflin), round out the sudden fluff and all magic is gone.

With the film unfortunately resting on the young shoulders of Stewart to inspire an army uprising after awakening from her poison apple-induced slumber, the third act practically trips over itself with her contemporary acting sensibilities.  Good acting from Kristen Stewart can be found in films like Panic Room, The Runaways, Welcome to the Rileys, and Adventureland, but not here.  Not at all.  There’s serious pain in simply watching her ride a horse across a beach.  The third act is a badly shot and badly edited action scene ripe for parody.

Snow White and the Huntsman displays darkly good CGI and a couple of good performances from Theron and Hemsworth but, even as mindless entertainment, the movie won’t rouse anyone’s sense of adventure and disappoints its target audience with vapid heroics.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Snow White and the Huntsman - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.
Runtime:
127 mins.
Director
: Rupert Sanders
Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock
Cast: Kristen Stewart; Chris Hemsworth; Charlize Theron; Ian McShane; Bob Hoskins
Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Tagline:
Snow White and the Huntsman
Memorable Movie Quote: "You have eyes huntsman, but you can not see! She is the One! I see an end to darkness!"
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
www.snowwhiteandthehuntsman.com
Release Date: June 1, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 11, 2012

Synopsis: In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Snow White and the Huntsman - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 11, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
Playback: Region-free

Snow White and the Huntsman is presented with a wonderfully engaging 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer (in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1). The video quality is excellent, with detail that is quite sharp. The shadow levels are deep and always maintain their edges.  Even when Snow White is in the murky dark forest, every tree branch and drop of oily mud can be seen clearly. The bright colors of the loopy enchanted forest pop nicely. There’s a nice contrast in the look of the environments.  The skin tones look very natural, with Snow’s paleness contrasting with darker complexions.  The sound is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. The lossless soundtrack provides an immersive experience with thundering hooves, the clatter of swords, and the booming voice of the mirror.  The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.  Overall the audio and video presentation is outstanding.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith, the topics of conversation in the commentary cover everything from the film’s casting to the visual effects.  While interesting, it’s a track for die-hards only as its just not that interesting of a listen; anyone looking for juicy tidbits concerning Sanders fling with Stewart need to scratch elsewhere.

Special Features:

First and foremost, there are two versions of the film included with this release, a 127-minute theatrical cut and a 131-minute extended edition that doesn’t really offer anything eventful.  Key mistakes are still mistakes and no real story is added to help sell its audience on the fact that it’s a decent film.  It’s still heavily flawed.  The U-Control picture-in-picture is decent and has good pop-up information and behind the scenes information.  The Set Tour is fun in that you get to explore Pinewood Studios and the major sets of the film.  With A New Legend is Born, various cast and crew members discuss the production, the story and characters, Sanders' approach, the costumes, the film's blend of history, fantasy archetypes and other versions of Snow White, and, in another, fairy tales are briefly explored.  Concluding the release is a brief featurette that covers the visual effects.

  • A New Legend is Born (21 min)
  • Reinventing the Fairy Tale (6 min)
  • Citizens of the Kingdom (23 min)
  • The Magic of Snow White and the Huntsman (13 min)
  • Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour

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