Snow White and the Huntsman (Blu-ray / DVD)
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Distributed by Universal Home Entertainment
Snow White and the Huntsman is about as bland and generic as any blockbuster I've ever seen. A movie that's constantly asking us to believe in our titular hero without any real reason to. The entire film violates the cardinal show, don't tell rule of screenwriting, giving us two hours of leaden exposition interrupted by the occasionally weightless action scene. It's a nearly interminable experience saved by lavish production design and a genuinely wicked performance by Charlize Theron.
This is a disastrous script and it pretty much torpedoes the entire movie before it can get out of the gate. Snow White escapes captivity at the end of the first act, and is pursued by minions of the Evil Queen. Except, it's revealed later on that the queen can transform into anyone/anything to find the girl she so desperately needs to maintain her Charlize-ian good looks. But it's lazy screenwriting to have this happen later, when it could've circumvented a whole lot of headache for our villainess. And the script is literally brimming with these types of inconsistencies.
Worst of all, our two leads have zero chemistry. Probably because the script doesn't ever allow their characters to connect in any meaningful way. The Huntsman is such an inconsequential part of the story that it's absolutely baffling to find his name included in the film's title. Chris Hemsworth has a natural likability about him, but there's absolutely no reason to care about him, or anything else in this epitome of empty filmmaking.
And director Rupert Sanders, who was inexplicably handed the reins to a $170 million dollar feature for his debut, can't do a damn thing to make any of this work. His battle scenes are boring, the staging is lazy (there's almost no way to tell character's proximities to one another in the final battle) and everything unfolds in lethargy. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to recall another blockbuster as empty as this.
It's a shame because Universal did sink a few pretty pennies into it. But they should've made sure it was a story worth telling. This screenplay (credited to three writers) wouldn't have been worth reading, let alone filming. Sadly, Theron is utterly wasted and it's a shame because she's having a great time with the part. Kristen Stewart looks as if she's ready for a nap and Hemsworth is reduced to a non-factor by the time act three rolls around. I don't know why Universal slapped this together with suck reckless abandon. In the right hands it could've been a terrific update of a well-known story. As it stands, I have a hard time imaging anyone wants a sequel.
Universal brings Snow White and the Huntsman to Blu-ray in a perfect high-definition transfer. Details are sharp, colors are blindingly vibrant and the hue/saturation looks pitch-perfect. Black levels are deep, but offer fantastic details within. This is absolute demo material, as long as you don't care about the quality of the movie itself.
On the audio front, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track boasts staggering clarity and an aggressive sound mix. Rear-speakers are working overtime to make sure this remains an all-encompassing experience. Ambient sounds are pretty much always ringing in the ear: from castle sounds to forest wildlife, there's always something happening. And the battles are alive with clashing steel and constant shouts. Dialogue is always clear and well-separated from music and sound FX. This is well-balanced and perfectly executed.
Universal has also given this a pretty swell compilation of supplements. Two cuts of the film (127 and 131 minutes), a commentary with director Rupert Sanders, FX man Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith (an informative, if unspectacular listen) and a U-control picture-in-picture are the main thrusts here. There's also an HD set tour, a twenty minute making-of piece, a six minute discussion of the film's fairy tale elements and a few EPK pieces for good measure.
If you're a fan of the film, Universal has given you no reason not to jump on this disc. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing, and the supplements are fine, if a bit workmanlike. It's a great-looking movie that never manages anything more. Poorly paced, badly written and indifferently acted by its leading lady, this is a movie that should've been excellent, but is completely forgettable instead.
Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features
- A New Legend Is Born
- Feature Commentary with director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, and co-editor Neil Smith
Bonus Features Exclusive to the Blu-ray
- Reinventing the Fairy Tale
- Citizens of the Kingdom
- The Magic of Snow White and the Huntsman
- Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour
- Universal’s Second Screen: An innovative viewing experience that allows viewers to control, interact with and explore Snow White and the Huntsman with groundbreaking features on a networked tablet or computer, in synch with the movie on the television screen! As the movie plays, experience features such as:
- Flick View: Move content from the tablet to the TV screen, and compare storyboards, animatics, and other exciting bonus material with a “flick” of the fingers.
- Behind the Scenes (Picture in Picture)
- Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour
- Virtual Flip books
- Cast of Characters
- UltraViolet™: The revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and instantly stream and download to TV’s, computers, tablets, and smartphones.
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