Snow White and the Huntsman had me when Charlize Theron got cast as the evil queen. I mean, seriously - she's absolutely gorgeous and she got the Oscar for playing Eileen Wournos. Shit just got real. Admittedly, I was not as enthusiastic about KStew playing Snow White. She looks the part, granted, but I haven't been impressed with her acting since Speak and that's going back a ways. The rest of the cast (Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, and the always-ready-to-play-a-supporting-Dad-role Vincent Regan) had me intrigued.
And then the stills were released - yes, this was an opening weekend movie for me.
I really liked it. Yes, the story is predictable, and, yes, KStew didn't blow me out of the water with her acting but it was better than her performances in the Twilight films. But Charlize Theron makes this movie - she's not just a bat-shit crazy queen, behind all that she's a woman determined to never let a man rule her again, obsessed with beauty as her only "power". There's a depth to the character that isn't seen in the fairy tale.
The cinematography was excellent. There was an amazing shot of the castle in the morning light. It had to be a composite - the sun on the water was real but the castle had to be CGI - and you really couldn't tell the difference. The SFX work with the "glass" soldiers was inspired and this movie needs an Oscar nomination at minimum for the make-up work on Charlize Theron. I also liked they way the fairy tale was manipulated to be less prince-saves-princess and more princess-saves-her-own-skin (with the exception of the kiss to wake her up, but there's a twist on that, too) and the set-up of a love triangle.
I have a few quibbles. One, the overt Christian/Catholic religion stuff clashed badly with the overt paganistic/child-of-nature overtones and also went nowhere. If you're going to have Snow White say the Lord's Prayer and have cardinals at her coronation, then throw in a priest or two trying to condemn Ravenna as a witch or something. Two, the Ravenna's castle take-over makes little sense timeline wise - wouldn't it be better to wait until the wedding guests leave? Then you can kill the King in private and no one is the wiser...unless you're a bat-shit crazy evil queen with a revenge streak a mile wide (I guess this is less of a quibble and more of a logistics thing). Three, I find it ridiculous that they did face-replacement, etc. to put normal-height actors' faces on little peoples' bodies. I recognized Eddie Marsan, Nick Frost, Ian McShane, etc. but their presence didn't seem integral to their parts. There had to be eight (or more) male actors of the little people persuasion available - if Willow can find a whole movie full, there have to be enough for Snow's dwarves (hey, Mirror, Mirror managed).
1. House at the End of the Street - Jennifer Lawrence, suitably creepy, not quite ready to view Elizabeth Shue as a mom of a teenager.
2. Step Up Revolution - the story is secondary to the dancing, definitely a talent showcase for different dance forms (and it looks slick)
3. Katy Perry: Part Of Me - I dunno...meh?
4. Les Miserables - um, heck yes! I am a little worried about Russell Crowe as Javert...will Stars be the same? (and no, Taylor Swift is NOT Eponine)
5. The Bourne Legacy - Jeremy Renner! Looks like a great action flick