If you’re a football (soccer) fan you know that there are those teams that, when you ask someone who they support and they say that team, you don’t feel anything. You don’t feel upset they support that team – it’s not a rival of the team you support for instance. You don’t feel like they’re the sort of team you can take the piss out of this person for supporting. They’re just a sort of ‘nothing’ team. Mid-table, don’t really win much, aren’t rubbish enough that they’re losing each week either.
That’s kind of how I feel about Snow White and the Huntsman, or SWATH. It’s not great, it’s far from the worst movie I’ve seen either. It’s just ‘meh’.
The bad points first: the dialogue, or lack of it. Kristen Stewart, the titular Snow White, says all of 10 words in the movie and most of these are ‘rousing’ speeches or mutterings. Charlize Theron has the most to say but most of her dialogue seems to be around shouting things at people, or asking the mirror on the wall.
Next is direction. This is Rupert Sanders directorial debut, it’s fast paced and dark. But the main issue is the ‘shaky cam’ action. Now regular readers will know I hate shaky cam action footage, it sucks. But this is a new level of shaky cam action, this feels more like a man with a Sony Handycam has filmed it. Urgggh! Outside the shaky cam it’s long sweeping shot after long sweeping shot, which is, well, boring.
So no dialogue and bad directing doesn’t make for a great film I’ll grant you. Also not a good sign when there are four writers on the movie either! As there are here. However what manages to raise the movie over being bad are the cast, and the performances they put in.
Charlize Theron is stunning as the evil queen, Chris Hemsworth doesn’t do bad as the Huntsman and then we have: Ian McShane, Sam Spruell, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris and Brian Gleeson as the dwarves. It’s a stellar cast and whilst they’re not given much to say (or do if I’m honest) what they are given they do well with.
But really this is Charlize Theron’s movie, if Sanders hadn’t put her in the film (more correctly if the casting director Lucy Bevan hadn’t) this movie would have flopped massively. Luckily she did though and so Theron raises the bar which is in much need of raising.
Worryingly they have announced that there will be a SWATH 2. Trust Hollywood, not content with rewriting a fairytale they’re making a sequel to one they’ve made up…that wasn’t very good…oh joy.