Snow White is a small child, playing with her friend William and climbing trees and rescuing birds, when her mother dies. After his wife’s tragic death Snow’s father King Magnus does not intend to remarry but, out hunting, he comes upon a battered cart. When he opens the door, he finds a beautiful woman chained to the walls. She enchants him and he falls in love with her. When he announces that he is going to marry her, the innocent Snow White is oblivious to the fact that Ravenna is evil and intends to steal her father’s throne and rule the land. She sees her stepmother as a kindly person, being to young to see past the façade the new queen has adopted. On their wedding night, Ravenna murders King Magnus and her soldiers storm the castle, setting fire to everything they can lay their hands on. Snow’s playmate William and his father Duke Hammond escape the burning castle, but William fails to persuade his father to turn back to save Snow. They ride away, leaving her in the hands of Ravenna, who is joined by her evil brother Finn.
Seven years later, Snow is still imprisoned in the tower where she was first taken. The castle is grey and dreary and its inhabitants are gloomy and dispirited. The land, once green and lush, has been poisoned by Ravenna’s evil reign and is black and charred. Even the sky is grey. Ravenna’s magical powers enable her to absorb young women’s beauty by breathing it in and leaving them lying dead with grey hair and wrinkles. This way she can make herself almost immortal. She has a magic mirror, which can melt off the wall and turn into a faceless golden man. This magic mirror reveals to the queen that Snow White will become fairer than her, and if the queen can kill her she will be indestructible, immortal. If not Snow White was the power to destroy her forever. On learning this she sends Finn to Snow’s tower to bring Snow to her. Snow has been looking out of a window and sees a bird very like the one she once rescued. The bird hops along the windowsill and lands on a big metal nail. Snow manages to pull it out of the wall and is lying on her bed with it hidden in her hand when Finn comes in to take her away. He sits on the bed and talks to her, trying to make her trust him so that he can get his hands on her. Thankfully she doesn’t believe him for a moment and she stabs him with the nail before running to the open cell door as fast as she can.
Finn alerts the guards and they chase her, and as she runs out into the open courtyard she can see no other option but to escape through a sewer. From there she jumps off a cliff into the sea that surrounds the castle and finds herself on a rocky beach with a white horse by her side. She mounts it and rides for the Dark Forest. The Dark Forest is the most feared place in the kingdom, and understandably so. Terrifying creatures lurk inside, and the ground is unsteady and dry one second but muddy the next. Snow can hear the knights on horseback coming up behind her and so when the white horse gets stuck in a mud hole she has to abandon it and carry on on her own. The knights fear the Dark Forest, so they turn back and she makes her way through the Dark Forest slowly and fearfully. Ravenna is furious when the knights tell her what happened, so she sends them to find somebody who does not fear the Dark Forest so they can hunt her down. The knights and Finn arrive at a small village where a drunk man has got into a fight. He is Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and he is somebody who is known to venture into the Dark Forest often. The knights take him to the queen and because he, like everybody else, hates her, he challenges her and asks what she’ll do if he refuses. The knights around him immediately turn on him, but the queen offers something better than anything else he could wish for. He is a widower- his wife has recently passed away. Knowing that she will never do anything of the sort, she tells him that she can bring his wife back to life, but he does not believe her. To avoid getting killed, he goes into the Dark Forest to search for Snow, but when he finds her instead of capturing her he helps her get away and looks after her in the Dark Forest which she does not know her way around.
The Duke and William talk in the Duke’s castle, and William says he has to go and save Snow White. The Duke lets him go, and William joins Finn’s soldiers as an archer to go to search for Snow White. Meanwhile the Huntsman and Snow spend the night in an all-female village where everybody has cut their faces to prevent themselves from being any use to the evil queen. Without beauty, they are not noticeable. The Huntsman leaves Snow sleeping and walks away, hoping to leave her to be cared for in the village while he goes back home. He’s not gone far when he realises that Finn’s men have managed to track them there. They burn the village to the ground, and, against his better judgment the Huntsman returns to save her. William sees Snow being led by the hand by the Huntsman, and although he calls her she doesn’t hear and doesn’t turn around. The Huntsman and Snow escape by boat and are left in a forest, where eight dwarves find them. The dwarves join the cause to help Snow save the kingdom from Ravenna and they take her through their mine to a hidden enchanted forest, where there are fairies and other woodland animals and everything is green. There Snow White is blessed by the woodland spirit- a white deer with huge horns. The dwarves tell the Huntsman that she will be the one to end the darkness.
Finn, his men and William manage to find them there too though, and before they can all escape Gus, one of the eight dwarves is killed. William joins Snow White’s side and the Huntsman kills Finn. The rest of the knights run away. That evening the dwarves, Snow, the Huntsman and William have an emotional funeral for him late at night before going to sleep in preparation for the long walk to the Duke’s castle the next day. Snow wakes up early and goes into the woods, where she meets Ravenna disguised as William. ‘William’ offers Snow an poisoned apple and she takes it and eats it, which sends her into a death-like state. Even a kiss from William cannot break the spell, but when she has been carried back to Duke Hammond’s castle and laid in the church for the funeral the next day, the Huntsman appears, distraught and inconsolable. He kisses her goodbye and leaves the church. The kiss wakes Snow White and she walks into the courtyard where everyone is mourning her. The speech she then makes converts everyone who is still unsure about following her and they plan a full-scale attack on the castle the next day.
Huge numbers of Duke Hammond’s nights charge across the beach, led by Snow White, and the dwarves sneak into the sewer that Snow used to escape to open the gates for them. Ravenna uses her magic to conjure up black knights from glass shards and sends them to deal with the Duke’s men whilst she tries to kill Snow. Ravenna is just about to stab in the heart when Snow uses the small dagger that the Huntsman gave her to deal the queen a death wound. The queen’s magic mirror shatters as she dies, and Snow White is crowned queen. The last scene is at her coronation, where she stares down the long line of people, and at the very end the Huntsman appears from the crowd.
The reasons why this is one of my favourite films:
- Kristen Stewart, who plays Snow White, is one of my favourite actresses.
- It has a good plot with an interesting twist at the end and is unlike any other Snow White film I have seen.
- I like the idea that Snow White is not only a princess but a warrior as well.
There may or may not be a sequel to this film, and if there is it is likely to me more about the Huntsman than Snow White.
There’s something in this film for everyone. There were a lot of special effects but they fitted in with the movie really well, so it wasn’t like they were just doing them for the sake of it. There are knights on horseback and trolls for boys, which meant my brother really enjoyed it as well. I found it a really enjoyable experience to go and see it in the cinema because it’s the kind of thing that looks amazing on a big screen, but I would also watch it with my friends at sleepovers etc.
The enchanted forest was well thought through, with enough fairies and pixies to make it a fairy tale but lots of natural beauty too. All the acting was very strong, apart from that of Chris Hemsworth, the Huntsman, who’s Australian but for some reason attempted a Scottish accent, somewhat unsuccessfully. I liked the girl power aspect of it, with Snow White being a fighter, because it’s not something that has been done before. It’s not a slow moving film at all- every crucial thing happens a very short time after the one before. Charlize Theron does really well as the evil queen, not pantomime evil but properly scary stuff! It’s got a bit of romance but not too much, just the right amount. The scenery was really good and I particularly liked the parts set in the Dark Forest. One complaint is that the Dark Forest wasn’t at all scary- it just looked like some plasticy trees and smoke machines. Other than that it was all amazing. Another good thing about it- no Prince Charming!
Estimated watching age: It is a twelve but it is also a fairytale, and apart from the special effects there’s nothing in it that could be disturbing to anybody from eight and up.
Price on Amazon: £9.99 for normal DVD, £15.00 for Blu-Ray.
Producer: Sam Mercer, Palak Patel, Joe Roth and Helen Hayden
Director: Rupert Sanders
Film certificate: 12
Names of the people who play the main characters: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth.