FILM FANS: 'Snow White and the Huntsman' lacks in every way

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Snow White and the Huntsman." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

1 and 1/2 stars out of 4

Did you ever make the mistake of buying a car based on its beauty alone, but forgot to pop the hood to see what was underneath all that glitz? That's how I felt when I went to see "Snow White and The Huntsman."

A visually stunning movie with breathtaking scenery (shot mostly in the mountains of Wales) and spectacular CGI effects, "Snow White and The Huntsman" is like a Ferrari powered by a lawn mower engine -- great looking outside, but sadly underpowered where it counts in terms of plot and character development. It's like the director filmed about three different movies, couldn't make any of them work alone, so he spliced them together and came up with this mishmash.

Snow White is played by Kristen Stewart ("Twilight" films), but she doesn't really seem to be the star of the show. That's left to Charlize Theron as the evil Ravenna, who connives to replace Snow White's deceased mother by marrying her father the king, then murdering him and grabbing the throne for herself. Queen Ravenna is out to get Snow White, and uses dark powers that, while intriguing, are never really explained. And boy, does Theron chew up the scenery as Ravenna -- ranting, raving, screaming, eyes bulging, etc. The movie seems to spend more time telling about her story than it does about Snow White.

And the Huntsman? That's Chris Hemsworth, of "Thor" and "The Avengers," who trades in his twirling hammer for a honkin' big ax. Hemsworth scowls his way through the movie, but has some of the best lines and thus turns in the best performance of this film. But there is ZERO chemistry or attraction between Snow White and the Huntsman, so why even title the movie that way? Thrown in for minor comic relief are some veteran British actors (including Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and Ray Winstone) as CGI-rendered dwarfs in mostly wasted supporting roles.

I walked out of the theater scratching my head on this one. What was it about? And the bigger question: Who cares?

-- Tim Weekley, Suwanee

2 and 1/2 stars

It's been a dude summer at the movies so far, but when the women have shown up (see "Hunger Games"), they have roared. Last weekend "Snow White and the Huntsman" bowed with monster opening. But did it earn its crown?

The trailers promised an enticing combination of visual pop and visceral terror all in the guise of a rousing update to a beloved classic. The pop is there in droves, and the terror makes the occasional appearance, but something is lacking in the pacing and characterization that refuses to let the mood match the art. The audience is expected to root for the heroine, Snow White, played by the woefully uninteresting Kristen Stewart, to engineer her revenge on the menacing, and mostly fascinating, Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron. Unfortunately, our lead never really inspires, which is maddening when she delivers her climactic speech meant to rouse a group of soldiers to battle with all of the ferocity of a ewe lamb.

Despite Snow White's lack of passion, there are redeeming factors to this movie. The most impressive is the imagination that went into creating the look of this film. It was reminiscent of "What Dreams May Come" and "Pan's Labyrinth." Another plus is the commitment of Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman and the well-known actors who crackle on screen as Snow White's famous dwarfs. Rename this movie "The Huntsman and the Seven Dwarfs," and you'd really have a fun two hours plus. Left alone, you get imagination, terror, laughs, Thor and the girl from "Twilight." A bit of a mixed bag.

-- Jeremy D. Beauchamp, Lawrenceville