Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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At The Picture Show
June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Conflict of interest

'Snow White and the Huntsman' tries to be too much for too many

Snow White and the Huntsman
Universal Pictures
Director: Rupert Sanders
Screenplay: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Spruell, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Bob Hoskins
Rated PG-13 / 2 hours, 7 minutes
Opened June 1, 2012
(out of four)

Well, here is a patchwork film if I've ever seen one. Snow White and the Huntsman attempts to hit so many targets with its narrative that it winds up hitting none of them, the resulting product being a quagmire of prototypes and styles. Each creative decision seems to have been inspired by the desire to reach one particular focus group.

Here was the approximate thought process for this film, from what I can gather. This could be imagined as a one-on-one conversation between executives, or perhaps a series of emails. Take your pick:

1. "Let's make a new "Snow White" movie!"

2. "But let's make it dark and gritty this time. People love dark and gritty these days!"

3. "Yeah, but we should still make sure we have a part where there's lots of bright colors and flowers and fairies and stuff."

4. "Hey, I've got another idea. How about a movie about a loveable drunk who's also a fierce warrior?"

5. "Hey wait - let's just combine that idea with our 'Snow White' idea!"

6. "Yeah!"

7. "Yeah!"

8. "Hey, I know -- let's give Snow White, like, a sword or something. For some reason."

9. "Yeah, that's, like, feminism, right? Did we just accidentally make Snow White a feminist icon? Hell yeah we did!"

10. "Yeah, but let's not make it too feministy. Let's just throw in a little bit of dialogue to make it seem that way."

11. "Perfect!"

12. "Yeah, dialogue like about how men take advantage of women, and how women are unfairly judged by their youth and beauty and exploited by a male-dominated power structure. But don't worry, we won't really mean it."

13. "Yeah!"

14. "Yeah!"

15. "Hey, let's hire Kristen Stewart so people will think they're watching a Twilight movie."

16. "Yeah, and the warrior dude can totally fall in love with her."

17. "Is he a werewolf, too?"

18. "Wait, what? No, he's just a dude."

19. "OK, but does he sparkle?"

20. "I don't think he sparkles."

21. "Wait, so you're sure he's not a werewolf?"

22. "Dude, we're not making him a werewolf. Or a vampire. I think he'll probably just be a huntsman."

23. "Wait, what's a huntsman?"

24. "He hunts. He hunts men. He hunts, man. Really, I could go lots of different directions with this pun, trust me."

25. "Wait, so why can't we just call him a hunter? Won't strange words confuse people?"

26. "Yeah, but they used to call them 'huntsmen' back then."

27. "Back when?"

28. "I don't know. Back when they had castles and princesses."

29. "And huntsmen?"

30. "Exactly!"

31. "Wait, can there be two huntsmen?"

32. "Why do we need two huntsmen?"

33. "So they can fight over Kristen Stewart! Maybe one of the huntsmen can be a werewolf."

34. "Dude, we're not making either of them a werewolf!"

35. "Fine!"

36. "I'll tell you what, though - we can make him a childhood sweetheart or something. People love that crap."

37. "And does he get to fight the huntsman?"

38. "Nah, they'll just stare at each other angrily."

39. "Wait, weren't we making this like a feminist movie? Now this movie is just about two dudes in love with a princess."

40. "Crap, you're right."

41. "Wait, can we inexplicably make Snow White a warrior who knows how to fight and ride horses and lead an army?"

42. "Of course! That makes absolute, perfect sense."

43. "Can she basically be like Braveheart?"

44. "Yeah, she's basically like Braveheart, but a chick."

45. "Can we call her Xena?"

46. "No way, because Xena didn't have an army of dwarf friends. Idiot. Our character has an army of dwarf friends."

47. "Yeah, but let's not hire any actual dwarves. Let's just Fred Claus some full-size actors onto small bodies."

48. "Perfect!"

49. "Wait, isn't there supposed to be an Evil Queen?"

50. "Crap! You're right again. Don't worry about it, we'll hire a hot Oscar winner and force her to overact because of our terrible dialogue."

51. "Hold on, wait a second. I just remembered something. We're the studio who made Alice in Wonderland."

52. "So?"

53. "So people will be expecting some more of that visual splendor!"

54. "Argh!"

55. "Is Tim Burton available?"

56. "No, but we can hire his production designer. That way, the movie will have some brilliant visuals and special effects to make up for its complete trainwreck of a narrative."

57. "Phew!"

58. "I think this movie is going to be really good."

59. "I think you're right."

60. "Can it be in 3D?"

61. "That's it, you're fired."

Read more by Chris Bellamy

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