In her monthly column, guff-film buff Diane Spencer sorts the cinematic wheat from the chaff, then throws all the wheat away. This month it’s pantomimic nonsense a-go-go in Charlize Theron vehicle Snow White and the Huntsman.
My mum asked what film I was watching, so I attempted to summarise Snow White and the Huntsman (2012, dir. Rupert Sanders). It went something like this: “Christian Dior perfume woman hates that girl from Twilight so she hires Thor to capture her by travelling through Middle Earth meeting a dwarf Lovejoy and the Harry Potter stag. Twilight girl delivers a rousing speech reminiscent of a public school head girl before a hockey match, and then it’s like Saving Private Ryan but on horseback.” So if you like the sound of that, watch this film.
Charlize Theron is wonderful as the Evil Queen, though clearly this was her audition piece for Lady Macbeth, which I think she would also be great at. The Queen is a looks-obsessed misandrist who keeps her beauty through a selection of ‘organic’ treatments including bathing in milk and sucking on the faces of any supermodels who have happened to wander on set.
Her costumes are great, featuring vast gruesome rings and bird skulls on feathery dresses – this is from legendary Hollywood costume designer Colleen ‘Chicago’ Atwood, who gained her 10th (YEAH, TENTH) Oscar nomination for her work on the film. When Colleen’s sat at the sewing machine, you know that no matter what happens in the film, you’ll spend your next free day investigating charity shops and vintage outlets in an effort to cobble together something Atwood-esque.
“If this weren’t a fairytale, Snow White would have rickets, anaemia and no conversation skills. She’d also probably be prone to pooing in the corner of rooms.”
The Evil Queen uses her black magic and misandry to woo the king and kill him. Then nine-year-old Snow White is locked in a tower. Theron is in brilliant full-on pantomime villain mode here, sending her voice booming round the castle and shrieking at underlings.
Fast-forward about a decade and the child has become Kristen Stewart, still in the tower. This makes no sense. I mean… what has she been doing? She’s not exactly Sarah Connor in an asylum, turning her bed upright so that she can do chin-ups. The room is tiny, and her daily routine appears to consist solely of staring out of the window before lighting a fire. I imagine that if this weren’t a fairytale, Snow White would have rickets, anaemia and no conversation skills. She’d also probably be prone to pooing in the corner of rooms.
The dwarfs, meanwhile, are played by actors such as Nick Frost, Ian McShane and the now departed Bob Hoskins. The CGI is amazing, and I’m sure Adobe now produces some kind of ‘Hobbitify’ button in Photoshop. This means that I spend perhaps a bit too much time repeating the words “Lovejoy is a dwarf.”
(Fun thing to do during the film – mute it while the dwarfs, Snow White and Thor are running over the mountains, then sing the music from Lord of the Rings over the top.)
Thor (aka Chris Hemsworth) is our emotionally scarred, roguish hero who gets into bar fights, but will make good in the yawn… sorry, end. Yawn. It’s a character we’ve seen over and over again, and I wonder about the impact the message – that basically it’s okay to start off as a gross, dirty, drunk jerk, as long as you save the day in the end – will have on young men. I find that if you start out gross, dirty and drunk, you don’t end up swinging a sword in a castle: you end up dropping your food down your shirt in Wetherspoons.
In summary it’s an enjoyable film with a cracking central performance from Theron. It’s also just the right side of scary and gory for those with kids.
Would I watch it again: Yeah, but only with a fungus spotters’ handbook.
Would I recommend it: Yes, especially to those with children over the age of 11.
Twitter summary: Just watched Snow White and the Huntsman. Working title was Twilight and Thor vs Aileen Wuornos With a Makeover.1819 Views
Diane Spencer is a standup comedian and writer. Her favourite genres include comedy, horror and sci-fi. Loves halloumi.