Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012) -- D-
Snow White and the Huntsman is an insufferable mix of empty solemnity and Lord of the Rings dress-up. In fact, Rupert Sanders' directorial debut (he came from commercials) often plays like a high school play on steroids, the entirety of it limp and amateur, from its incoherent narrative progression to the aped, hackneyed "dark" visual style. Everything about Snow White is drowning with insignificance, no matter how forcefully Sanders tries to convince that his "revisionist" take should be met with with unreserved approbation and awe. There is nothing "epic" about anything here. Call it a (Snow) White Elephant film of the highest order, bloated and self-aggrandizing, as if filmmaking is a concoction rather than an assemblage of various convictions. Humorless too, to make matters worse, the film is horribly miscast. Kristen Stewart embarrassingly tries-on a British accent to ear-screeching, retina-scorching failure. When she gives a supposedly rousing speech to rally the troops to go to war on the evil queen (Charlize Theron), it's risible. Speaking of Theron, her accent isn't so hot either, as both actresses struggle when they aren't playing contemporary women. These roles needed Carey Mulligan and Jessica Chastain, women who can comfortably slip in-and-out of new and old. As the titular Huntsman, Chris Hemsworth is also misplaced - more just because Hemsworth isn't much of a presence, period. Sure, his physique is impressive and often cinematic, but his grunty-voice and burly-grin don't hold a candle to bad-ass extraordinaires Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler, and Jason Statham. While the actors botch nearly every scene, all of this must go on the shoulders of Sanders, his "craft" so stolen you can see the stitching. Unable to sustain any sense of movement or kinesis during action sequences, he's an assembly line filmmaker, with no distinct style, tone, or vision, which makes any claim that Snow White and the Huntsman is a "revisionist" film (see David Edelstein's review) all the more infuriating. How can a discerning eye not call bullshit from frame one? A black hole of Snow White noise.