Director Rupert Sanders spins the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale into a grim fantasy epic.
There are battles like those in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The visuals are breathtaking, from Queen Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) costumes to the terrifying Dark Forest.
The movie, however, is dragged down by poor character development.
Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame plays a rather bland Snow White, who just goes through the motions of escaping her evil stepmother and leading a revolution against her.
Stewart wears a perpetual frown throughout the movie, whether she is rousing her countrymen to battle, or responding to the Huntsman’s (Chris Hemsworth) compliment that she looks “fetching” in mail.
Most of the time, Snow is running, jumping, rolling away from danger, with little time for reflection on her mission to overthrow the Queen.
Snow’s relationship with the Huntsman is pretty much stagnant; it is unclear why he falls in love with her in the first place, unless of course, it is her fair beauty that enchanted him.
The Queen has the most developed character out of the lot with a tragic back-story and burning determination to immortalise her youth. This is the most interesting point of the movie.
Snow White and the Huntsman hits uncomfortably close to home with a woman’s obsession with beauty. The most resonant line in the movie is spoken by the Queen before she kills her husband on their wedding night – “Men use women. They ruin us and when they are finished with us, they throw us to their dogs like scraps.”
“When a woman stays young and beautiful, the world is hers.”
Recent sex scandals of top-ranking Singaporean civil servants using their positions to gain sexual favours illustrate this point. An MNC vice-president also said she uses sex to seal deals; brains are not enough.
Why does the question of sex even come up when women want to get ahead in the corporate world?
It is simply because majority of decision-makers are men. And men want sex. So, if you have something that your client wants, which your competitor does not have or is unwilling to give, you are bound to get on top (no pun intended). If most decision-makers are women, men would probably still not be hard-pressed into giving sex because women can obtain sex more easily than men.
It’s just a matter of supply and demand.
This situation will likely remain until there are more women at the top. And since women may need to use sex to get there, it becomes a vicious cycle.
Besides the corporate world, the issue of women’s beauty remains prevalent in romantic relationships between men and women. How often do women feel the need to preserve their beauty to prevent their husbands from straying? Even in polygamous marriages, the subsequent wives are usually younger.
There may be more female superheroes and heroines now like Black Widow (The Avengers), Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Clarice Starling (Hannibal; The Silence of the Lambs), and Alice (Resident Evil). But their brains come with beauty.
Women can save the world, but they must look good doing it. Just look at the posters emphasising the Black Widow’s butt.
Coming back to Snow White and the Huntsman, the movie attempts to show that it is Snow’s inner beauty that matters.
That point, however, is buried underneath her lacklustre character.
In the end, it is Snow’s fair skin, long black hair and bright red lips that save the day.