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Rupert Sanders 'Snow White and the Huntsman' Reviews

Rupert Sanders Snow White and the HuntsmanRupert Sanders director Snow White and the Huntsman reviews.

Snow White and the Huntsman reviews have been mixed in the British and American media. (Please see link below.) Most critics have enthusiastically praised the film's visuals and fairy-tale atmosphere, while complaining about its length and lack of dramatic cohesiveness. Directed by feature-film newcomer Rupert Sanders, previously a director of commercials, and starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Sam Claflin, Snow White and the Huntsman opened today in the UK and Ireland.

Reviews for the film's stellar cast have also been wildly mixed. If noticed at all, Thor / The Avengers' Chris Hemsworth has mostly gotten his Scottish accent dismissed as artificial. Some critics found Oscar winner Charlize Theron's presence a welcome relief to Snow White and the Huntsman's gloomy tones; others, however, found Theron either too campy or not campy enough. (Theron, by the way, has another movie that has just opened in the UK: Ridley Scott's Prometheus.)

As for Kristen Stewart, comparisons to The Twilight Saga's Bella Swan were all but inevitable. Some thought Stewart was playing Bella dressed up as Joan of Arc; others thought she had finally been able to step out of her iconic role. Others yet felt that Stewart began the film as Bella, but later on grew into Snow White and the Huntsman's Joan of Arc'ed Snow White.

Several also remarked on SWATH's Twilight-like romantic triangle: Kristen Stewart / Bella / Snow White + refined and handsome suitor (Robert Pattinson's vampire; Sam Claflin's Prince Charming) + hunky and earthy suitor (Taylor Lautner's werewolf; Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman). Something else not left unnoticed: the fact that one of the producers of Tim Burton's visually grandiose Alice in Wonderland, Joe Roth, was also one of the producers of Snow White and the Huntsman.

If you choose to read only one Snow White and the Huntsman review, I'd suggest Andrew O'Hehir's at Salon.com. Although O'Hehir liked the movie overall, he had strong reservations. Whether or not you agree with him, his likes and dislikes are carefully and clearly sketched out in his review.

Snow White and the Huntsman's Rotten Tomatoes rating currently is 60 percent positive; 80 percent among that site's top critics (out of only 10 reviews), and a 6.7 average. Now, remember, these percentages will be changing quite frequently in the next few days; a mere 15 minutes ago, Snow White and the Huntsman had a “rotten” rating: 59 percent. Now at 60 percent, it has a “fresh” tomato next to it.

Written by Evan Daugherty (Killing Season), John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), and Hossein Amini (Drive), Snow White and the Huntsman release date in the United States is next Friday, June 1. That same day SWATH opens in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Indonesia, Switzerland, and about two dozen other countries.

Also in the SWATH cast are Mrs. Henderson Presents' Bob Hoskins, The Departed's Ray Winstone, Shrek the Third's Ian McShane, The Hunger Games' Toby Jones, and Vera Drake's Eddie Marsan.

In addition to: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' Lily Cole, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance's Vincent Regan, 28 Days Later's Noah Huntley, Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost, and Salmon Fishing in Yemen's Rachael Stirling.

Snow White and the Huntsman Liberty Ross Snow White's Mother
Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White's Mother (Liberty Ross)

The first feature film by former commercials director Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman stars Twilight's Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Prometheus' Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen Ravenna, The Avengers' Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Sam Claflin as Prince William.

So far, the Snow White and the Huntsman reviews have been decidedly mixed. Those who enjoyed it have strong reservations; those who didn't, offer praise for one or more cast members, and particularly for the film's visual appeal. Check out several review snippets below.

“English commercial director Rupert Sanders makes his feature debut with a splash, launching a fantasy-adventure franchise that probably isn't as good as any of the things it references — the classic Walt Disney film, of course, but also The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia series, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Shakespeare and countless other works besides — but comes close enough, I'd guess, to carve out its own niche and create its own fan base.” Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com.

“… debut feature director Rupert Sanders comes up with some suitably stylish moments and is blessed with a deliciously evil performance by Charlize Theron as the cruel queen, his film can never quite find the balance between fairy tale and Joan of Arc-style fable and gets bogged down in questing when it should be delivering magic and adventure.” Mark Adams, Screen Daily.

“[Rupert Sanders] has talent, conviction, and a knack for the arresting image; what he doesn't have yet is any sense of how to craft a seamless two-hour narrative. Snow White and the Huntsman plays like a dozen pretty good short films and a couple of clinkers hitched together like boxcars. When it aims for dramatic ambiguity, it just seems confused. Is the movie entertaining? In its schizophrenic fashion, yes.” Ty Burr, The Boston Globe.

“It's too long, and the many new characters and settings make Snow White and the Huntsman lose track of its main thread for stretches. On the whole, it's a more engrossing, more lively re-imagining of the classic tale than Mirror Mirror. But it's not going to make anybody forget the Disney version. Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

“Astonishingly beautiful and breathtaking in its brutal imagery, Snow White & the Huntsman is thrilling and frightening in equal measure, yet as bereft of satisfying substance as a poisoned apple.” Christy Lemire, AP.

“But is it destiny that truly empowers the girl [Snow White] or narrative convenience and expediency? Though the film intriguingly thumbs its nose at the Prince Charming fantasy, hinting that the huntsman, not the royal William (Sam Claflin), is her true beloved, the story remains curiously reticent about romance and what Snow White wants both as a woman and a warrior. And that it's ultimately revealed that Ravenna need not die by Snow White's hand makes Stewart's limp Joan of Arc routine all the more beside the point.” Ed Gonzalez, Slate.

“Had it trusted to the native charm of its cast and the sensory seduction of its often-astonishing images to humbly, naively retell its story, this Snow White might have been something special. Instead, it's defined by an overall bagginess that betrays a lack of any abiding authorial pattern. Commercials director Rupert Sanders is credited with his first feature here, but producer Joe Roth's is the name above the title, and the rampant, pricey production design is given such star treatment that it's almost awkward when the actors butt in.” Nick Pinkerton, L.A. Weekly.

Sam Claflin Prince Charming Snow White and the Huntsman 2012
Sam Claflin / Prince Charming, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Directed by Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman stars On the Road / Breaking Dawn - Part 2's Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Prometheus / Young Adult's Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen Ravenna, The Cabin in the Woods / The Avengers' Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Sam Claflin as Prince Charming (William). To date, Snow White and the Huntsman reviews have been mixed – without extremes of “love” and “hate.” Those who enjoyed it have strong reservations; those who didn't enjoy it, have given good notices to one or more cast members. Additionally, the film's look has been generally singled out for extravagant praise. See below.

“Haunted woods, Theron bathing in a vat of creamy milk, then smashing apart into dozens of flapping ravens… The images are stark and effective, and SWATH heaves with tangibly craggy landscapes that are part Dagobah, part Winterfell, entirely believable. Sadly, the story never matches the exhilarating optics. While Theron's mental, soul-sucking queen offers theatrical menace, and the numerous action clashes easily get pulses pumping, the plot's limited to a series of encounters between Snow and often unremarkable B characters.” Josh Winning, Total Film.

Snow White & the Huntsman turns out to be one of the best of the bunch. That's due largely to the obvious toil and trouble taken to build such a darkly imagined fantasy world … The amazing visuals and set pieces are evocative and stunning, from the misty-shrouded Dark Forest and its gnarled limbs to the stark bird-infested chambers of the castle that's home to the tyrannical queen.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News.

“A too-bustling prologue shows how Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron, camping it up) usurped power, poisoned the land and imprisoned her stepdaughter rival, Snow White (Kristen Stewart, a delight). But then the film finds surer footing and proceeds with a deliberateness rare in a big-budget franchise starter; you can sense the hand of coscreenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive) in the story's always involving, slow-build structure.” Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York.

“This, his first feature film (graduating from commercials) is chockfull of gorgeous, ethereal imagery and spellbinding effects - including the eerie sight of Theron withering with age and reverting to youth in a matter of seconds. Every shot is beautifully composed and Sanders is able to create an atmosphere that draws you into a scene. It's just that, once inside, there are no great reveals.
It may have been asking too much of the director to extrapolate a mythology of true depth and meaning from a simple children's fairytale. Only Theron comes close with her tragic portrayal of the Queen.” Stella Papamichael, Digital Spy.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a tastefully overbearing franchise fairy tale with a handful of ravishing touches. It's also a world-class illustration of how, in the age of the global blockbuster, the lust for demographics — for coralling the largest possible audience — can determine aesthetics. The movie works so hard to transform a quintessential girl story into a girl-and-guy story that it's like three movies in one.” Owen Gleiberman, EW.com.

“The overwhelming result is an exquisite-looking, but somehow empty fantasy adventure. Huntsman isn't quite mad enough to be The Neverending Story, and it's far too earnest to be Labyrinth, but sits somewhere on a par with the Narnia adaptations. While we're talking comparisons, Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the most obvious reference, from Huntsman's battle scenes to its sweeping mountainside helicopter shots. Unlike that trilogy, though, Sanders is working from source material that could be told in full during one bedtime story; thin soup compared to the rich stew Jackson had to work with.” Louisa Mellor, Den of Geek.

Sam Claflin as Prince Charming / Snow White and the Huntsman picture: Alex Bailey / Universal Pictures.

Liberty Ross / Snow White and the Huntsman picture: Alex Bailey / Universal Pictures.

Snow White and the Huntsman Rupert Sanders director picture: Alex Bailey / Universal Pictures.

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