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Just as actress Kristen Stewart was closing out her run as Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga movies, she made the big decision to stay in the genre world, just swapping supernatural for fantasy by starring as Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman.
The 2012 film perhaps gets a bit lost in the dust of recent memory, maybe because it didn't have a successful sequel, perhaps because it didn't feature the return of Stewart in the titular role. But the original film is absolutely worth a watch or rewatch, especially for those who love Stewart's fantastic character choices, as well as a meaty villain role for Charlize Theron to chew on... while looking faaabulous doing all the terrible things.
With Snow White and the Huntsman streaming now on Peacock, SYFY WIRE revisits some of the many reasons why this reworking of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale works so well.
5 reasons why Snow White and the Huntsman is a memorable riff on the Snow White story
Queen Ravenna creates one of the best evil stepmother iterations
First and foremost, Theron looks amazing in this film. Every costume, every hairstyle, every crown... perfection. Her Ravenna is opulence personified, so there's a lot of joy watching her stomp and scream in frustration as little Snow White evades her grip, over and over. But Theron also brings some needed grounding and pathos to the role, revealing the pain and suffering that created this beauty-obsessed woman that she's become. The movie wouldn't work as well if it were just high camp from Theron (see the sequel), especially when the two women square off in the castle. There's great pain burbling under the skin of Ravenna, and the film is all the better for it.
Kristen Stewart carves out a singular Snow White depiction
Snow White's kindness has always been an integral personality trait for the character in all versions of her story. In this version of the story, Stewart is able to endow the character with a natural affinity and compassion for all creatures, while adding plenty of grit to her countenance too. Having grown up in an isolated tower, starved of love, Snow retains her heart (which makes it all the more a tasty temptation for Ravenna) and doesn't rely on anyone to save her. She slowly comes into her own across the span of the story, so that when she dons armor to go back into the castle and face her step-mother once more, her bravery and resolve feel earned.
The Queen's brother, Finn, is a creeper extraordinaire
From the unattractive, platinum bowl cut to his really uncomfortable fealty to his Queenly sister, Finn (Sam Spruell) is like a medieval Terminator with issues. As his sister's enforcer, he relishes disposing of anyone she deems an obstacle and tracks them mercilessly. Finn chases Snow and the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into the Dark Forest, wiping out sacred creatures and Snow's allies without mercy. He's a fresh addition to the fairy tale's lore and is a worthy extension in the field of Ravenna's obsessive nature.
Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman is a hot mess, and it works great
Photo: Snow White and the Huntsman (6/10) Movie CLIP - She is the One (2012) HD/Movieclips YouTube
Way before Hemsworth got the chance to show us messy Thor in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) or broken Tyler Rake in Extraction (2020), his turn as Eric the Huntsman was an early glimpse at the pathos, depth and humor he could weave into a character. As a drunken widower who's given up on life, he's initially not very heroic at all. Frankly, he's a major disappointment to Snow White, who's trying to save her hide while he's mostly an obstacle in the way. However, her empathy and compassion ignites a new light in his existence and reminds him of the man he used to be when his beloved wife was alive. The film allows for their rapport to grow over time, but he's never the sole savior of Snow's situation. In fact, his big confessional in the movie is that he's more saving by accident, which reflects the interesting choices this film takes throughout. Hemsworth's performance deserves far more praise for his nuanced take on the character.
Director Rupert Sanders landed the creative visuals in Snow White and the Huntsman
As a first time director, Rupert Sanders brought his art direction background and prowess to the fore in his envisioning of the Snow White tale. In every frame, there's something interesting to look at. From the glass army that opens the film to the Dark Forest to Ravenna's golden mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman is a visual tour de force that is imaginative and fun, all while remaining respectful to the tropes of the classic story.
Watch Snow White and the Huntsman streaming on Peacock now.