Kristen Stewart (“Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1”) returns to the silver screen in “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Fortunately, so do Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers”) and Charlize Theron (“Prometheus”), which almost makes up for Stewart’s horrible acting.
The key word here is almost; because Stewart plays the iconic role of Snow White, she and her mostly vacant expressions are on the screen constantly. To be fair, her acting has improved from her stint as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” movies, but not by much. Her emotions are nearly as flat as ever, but there are two scenes in which she does the role proud. The first is a moment of serenity and beauty in an enchanted area, and Stewart manages to show a genuine level of wonderment and innocence befitting her character. The second scene where she does well is the final one, in which her acting is subtle but easy to interpret.
The evil queen, played by Theron, is as beautiful as she is evil. In fact, she is so much more glamorous than Stewart (even at her finest), that it is almost laughable that her magic mirror predicts that Snow White will ever be the fairest in the land. It just isn’t believable. Looks aside, Theron’s acting is absolutely wonderful. She is as grand as she is subtle, she is angry and twisted, but manages to garner some audience sympathy with her backstory, which is well fleshed out for a villain. She is so explosive and sensual that she dominates the movie, a far cry from her withdrawn, virtually emotionless character in “Prometheus.”
Hemsworth, who plays the huntsman, serves as beautiful eye candy despite the dirt and grime we find him covered in. He also manages to save some of the scenes that Stewart stars in due by drawing attention away from her. Hemsworth has recently appeared in both “The Avengers” and “Cabin in the Woods,” and his character is vastly different in each of the roles he plays. He shows himself to be versatile and dynamic even within this single character, allowing for a smooth and believable character arc.
One of the biggest letdowns is the writing, which is strong for most of the movie. Near the end it tapers off, leaving things ambiguous and unfinished in some respects. There is a definite ending, but certain side stories that are made a big deal of throughout the movie are left completely unresolved.
“Snow White and the Huntsman” is definitely worth seeing, but don’t go with high expectations. See it when it’s in the cheap theaters, or on DVD.