Director: Rupert Sanders
Nominated: Costume Design; Visual Effects
I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again this is by far the superior of the two Snow White films to come out of 2012. It’s more grounded in reality than the more fantastical Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White (Tarsem Singh) and I much prefer it.
The costumes utilize a much more natural palette consisting mainly of browns and greens. It’s a marked contrast to the vibrant, ridiculous, almost haute couture costumes in Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White. I especially love Snow’s costumes which have retained the classic elements associated with the character but adapted them to fit within this new world. Her main costume is beautiful – the classic period dress and yet at the same time practical. Again they fit perfectly within the new world. I have to confess that I was pleasantly surprised by Kristen Stewart as the eponymous Snow White. I’m not a fan of her, especially in the Twilight saga and cannot understand how it is as popular as it is, mainly because I never thought she could act before. Turns out it’s clearly only opposite Robert Pattinson that she cannot act. In this she is surprisingly good and compelling as the warrior Snow. And she didn’t annoy me once!
The costumes for Ravenna, the evil Queen, are sumptuous and again have a continuing motif of feathers. Her costumes while being rich and certainly striking avoid being outrageous. The craftsmanship is exquisite. And they are a natural extension of Ravenna’s personality. Charlize Theron is stunning as Ravenna. Not only is she starkly beautiful a must for someone being obsessed with being the ‘fairest of them all’, she is also wonderfully crazy. There is an insanity inside her that she barely keeps in check. She comes across as a much more dangerous than Julia Roberts‘ portrayal of the same character in Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White. A much darker Queen but then that fits perfectly with the darker, harsher and more muted world the story is situated in this time around. Her relationship with her brother is openly creepy, and not aided at all but his awful haircut!
Chris Hemsworth is solid as the flawed Huntsman giving another powerful performance both emotionally and physically. I love how conflicted he is about doing what he knows is right. And I found the twist on the pre-prescribed romance refreshing and think that it opens up the possibilities for how to continue the story in a multitude of interesting ways. I found Sam Claflin‘s William lack luster and rather annoying. He’s a constant reminder of the childhood and life Snow lost, which to me makes it almost impossible for them to have any relationship beyond friendship. It will always be tinged with that loss.
The dwarves are a brilliant collection of personalities, provided by some of the best British actors going including Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan and Ray Winstone. They form this kooky bunch of cockney geezers with a harsh facade that hides their tender hearts. It was a bold decision to go with the actors they did rather than using the multitude of talent found in the dwarf community. And it really shows off the excellent visual effects. They’ve seamlessly reduced the actors to the smaller stature needed to realistically play dwarves.
The visual effects are outstanding. The sanctuary is beautiful and vibrant and full of life, wonderful curiosities and oddities like mushrooms with eyes and fairies. Then there is the darkly disturbing hallucinogenic elements in the dark forest. By far the most terrifying visual effects surround the Queen and her various transformations, especially whenever she is surrounded by her multitude of ravens but then I have a thing about birds. I think that of all the categories Visual Effects has to be one of the most difficult to judge because almost every single film created today uses visual effects in some way. And they all use them in such different ways depending on the type of film.
I really enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman – and a lot more than I thought I would if I’m honest and I’m intrigued to see how the story is going to progress in future films.