Quick Hit: A movie that starts strong, but loses the threads of what could have been a very interesting story.
As I sat and watched the credits role, I found myself very disappointed and in a very different mood from when the film began. I thought the the first… third of the film was very interesting. It’s fun to see a backstory to the evil queen, much like a show like Once Upon a Time has done for its interpretation of the evil queen.
The movie is what I would say is the first of the dark, gritty Disney reboots we have seen (though this wasn’t a Disney film- it was Universal). Giving a more violent take and asking questions about one of the most famous fairy tales was a fun way to do things. Since this came out around the same time as the more humorous Mirror Mirror, I think that was a good way to go. The scene with the mirror (once you figure out it’s not a shield that is) is sufficiently creepy and powerful. It’s reminiscent of death in a multitude of movies, not the least of which would be A Christmas Carol, where it appears as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The metallic ooze is also oddly similar to Terminator.
And oh my… Charlize Theron. Wow. I can’t tell how much her performance was hammed – it’s that intense. She is so loud and captivating every time she takes the screen. There is, admittedly, plenty of questions about her (some of which I’ll get to later), but you can’t help but want to see more of her, despite the fact that she spends most of her screen time yelling, crying, sucking youth essence like some weird Dementor, or eating bird hearts (for some unexplained reason).
My main problems with this film… well, there’s a lot. Let’s start with this: why ask and present so many interesting ideas and then just leave them to float into the breeze. Why doesn’t the Queen just kill Snow White? When did Snow White learn the Lord’s prayer? Why do the Queen and her brother have a strange incestuous relationship? Why do some people have accents and some people don’t? Why doesn’t Snow use her magical animal control powers to wipe out the Queen and her glass army? Why is CGI used when real dwarf actors could have been used? How did you get the dwarf scenes from the LOTR series without rights issues?
Ok, so admittedly, a few of those questions are slightly tongue in cheek. But, I think I have a valid point on several of them. The movie is predictable, and that’s ok because we are talking about a story that is one that we know from many, many, many tellings. But if you have a chance to make it fresh, stick with it! Your audience will thank you for it. Keep in mind that we aren't stupid as an audience. We know when you are reusing fantasy tropes from other movies (like the helicopter filming up a mountain). Also, if you want to see a much better scene of dwarfs singing, check this out. Probably one of the best things to come out of the entire Hobbit trilogy.
I had a hard time seeing Thor swing an axe instead of a hammer, and I had a hard time with Kristen Stewart at all in this movie. She is just ok in this film. I think there are films she has excelled (like Panic Room, an underrated great), but at lot of the time she seems to float through her big budget roles. Maybe she seems to excel more when the spotlight is off her because it is just more comfortable.
Sorry, I know this review was all over the place. Here are some fun movie memes to take your mind off of it.
I give Snow White and the Huntsman a “C-“ and that is mostly because, for the most part, the CGI was good (if at times unnecessary) and Charlize Theron is thoroughly entertaining.
Check out IMDB for more on this film.
Quick Hit: Jokes that fall flat, and a topsy turvy plot that relies too much on going “HAHAHA” really loudly.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is everywhere in film right now. He is somehow managing to be in movie, after movie, after movie. It’s easy to see why he is being cast – he’s personable, he’s got an on-screen charm, and he is, after all, “The Rock”. That makes him a natural fit for action heroes (see San Andreas) as well as comedy-action heroes (Central Intelligence and Journey to the Center of the Earth 2).
However, he can’t save this film. I don’t know why I didn’t love this film. I thought it had a pretty good premise coming in (the trailers showed way too many of the funny moments, but that is what trailers do these days). It follows Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart – also in lots of movies right now) who has gone from the top of the heap in high school to the middle of the pack, in middle management. Despite the fact that he has a beautiful home and a beautiful wife, he’s not content with things. That’s when he receives a message from Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) who was previously Robby Weirdicht (sp). Robby was an overweight loser who was bullied in high school, but Calvin stood up for him. Calvin agrees to meet with Bob, probably in order to boost his own self-confidence.
It fails, predictably, because Bob now looks like the Rock.
It turns out he’s also some kind of agent, and there is a big conspiracy. The agency in question wants to bring Bob in, because they say that he is a “Bad Guy”, but Bob says that they are the “Bad Guys”. Whatever will poor Calvin do!
I may have dumbed down the plot slightly, because there is this main fact: it gets really, really confusing towards the end. So many characters get thrown into the “who’s bad, you’re bad, I’m bad” fold that you almost end up forgetting that this is a comedy. I think they just had the ratio between the scenes like these and the scenes of comedy wrong.
The best part of the film is undoubtedly Dwayne Johnson’s performance. There’s an easy comparison to draw here to Jim Carrey’s Chip Douglas in The Cable Guy. Both are characters who have a minor obsession with a character, both toe the line between being likeable characters and very creepy. However, The Cable Guy allows Jim Carrey to dive into a deeper, darker place, whereas the script inside Central Intelligence causes most of the dark humor to be glossed over. Hart does a good job too, but he isn’t given enough lines throughout the movie. This causes some of the lines he does give to fall flat, and I didn’t laugh nearly enough.
The person who stole the show? Jason Bateman as the snarky ex-high school bully who somehow manages to be a giant tool and hilariously funny at the same time.
I’m giving it a “C-“.
Check out IMDB for more on this film.
Quick Hit: A movie that improves on its predecessor, but only barely.
Snow White and The Huntsman somehow made enough money, despite being middling, in order to make this sequel. But, they decided that Kristen Stewart, and Snow White, no longer needed to be in it. So, in order to further capitalize on its stars, they recruited more stars. They kept Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, and somehow attracted Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the project. The star power alone raises eyebrows, because there are some tremendous actors and some Oscars in that group.
That’s the best thing about the movie: it has some older Hollywood feel to it - If you take a movie, no matter how dull, and dress up Hollywood’s biggest stars in fancy costumes and surround them with effects, people will inevitably see it. I think that the box office proved this theory wrong for our current generation, as this 115 million dollar movie only made back about 48 million.
It’s not hard to see why. Despite the fact that this movie skirts better than the first film, there isn’t much in the film to recommend it. The plot is borrowed from other more successful films – as are several death fake-outs and plot “twists”. Let me do a brief summary of the plot, and we’ll see if you can find some similarities.
In an odd combination of prequel and sequel, we first see the forging of the evil Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) after she begins to not believe in love. Her sister is Ravenna (Charlize Theron) from the first movie. After she finally discovers her icy powers, she retreats away and forges her own kingdom made of ice. Along with this, she creates an army. Of this army of Huntsmen (why they are called that, I’ll let you guess), are Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain). Sara is a bow wielding redhead with a Scottish accent. They fall in love, and try to escape. Freya catches them and they are split apart by Sara’s death. Fast forward seven years after the events of Snow White and now the mirror is being sought after by Freya.
As you can see, at least two famous Disney princesses pop up in this sequel, and neither of them is Snow White. The Elsa comparisons are everywhere (Blunt at times does everything except belt out “Let It Go”), and Sara is a stand-in for a more sexualized Merida. I think that is the main problem with this film: there is some originality within it, but it’s buried deep. Even when people are killed, you know immediately what’s going to happen because it has been so slammed into your face via dialogue.
However, this movie does feature Blunt and Theron both camping it up gloriously. It features some very funny comedic delivery by Hemsworth, as well as his dwarf companions. Some of the actions scenes, though a bit overly stylized to the point they seem a different movie, are entertaining. It was like the new director looked at everything that was enjoyable with the previous film and decided to continue forward with those specific things.
However, when I think of this film, I will continually think of a missed mark. There is an underlying darkness to this film that is only hinted at (mainly because of the movie’s PG-13 rating), but you continually find yourself wishing for more of the darker fairytale world that is lurking at the corners of the camera.
I’m going to give The Huntsman a “C+”.
For more on this film check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"