Snow White and The Huntsman

There’s a decent movie in here somewhere. “Snow White and the Huntsman” has a classic story, memorable characters, great special effects, spectacular settings and thrilling scenes. Yep, it has all the stuff we go to movies for.

But it gets off to a very slow start. I honestly found myself writing “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” type lines in my head during the first half of the movie. Some were funny. Trust me.

Also, while watching SWATH, there were numerous scenes and elements that made me think of other movies, from “Da Vinci Code” to “Shawshank Redemption” to “Star Wars” to “Narnia” to “Lord of the Rings” to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” That’s not a good thing.

Let me add that it’s hard to watch Kristen Stewart (as Snow White) without thinking of her portrayal of Bella in the “Twilight” movies. She has talent and shows stronger acting chops in “Snow White and…” than in those vampire flicks.

One more complaint: the mirror in this movie looks more like a big gong.

Chris Hemsworth plays the Huntsman. While we know him as Thor, he (unlike Bella, um, Kristen Stewart) was more convincing in his performance. He’s a bit of a ruffian redneck, but brings the romantic charm at the key moment. Charlize Theron as the Queen is simmering with wickedness and allows it to boil over in the film’s climax. If you’re a Charlize fan, don’t miss SWATH.

As with “Mirror, Mirror,” the light-hearted Snow White movie that came out two months ago, I LOVED the dwarfs! Very smart to cast top British character actors, all normal sized men, and cinematically shrink them.

SWATH’s director is a rookie, Rupert Sanders, a veteran commercial director. His feature film debut, while far from perfect, is an impressive effort. “Snow White and the Huntsman” has much to offer that will be more greatly appreciated on the big screen than on TV (even if you do have an 80-inch HDTV). If you can tolerate a few shortcomings, there is (as I mentioned at the top) a decent movie in here somewhere.

Advertisements

“Young Adult”—(Grow Up, Already!)

The lead character in “Young Adult” is not especially likable. The movie, though, has a lot to like.

We all know people who have moved from a small town to a big city, enjoyed some career success and felt somehow superior to those back home. When they return home, they are sometimes amazed to see folks who are satisfied with their simple small town lives.

Charlize Theron plays Mavis. She’s a divorced writer of young adult novels who leaves Minneapolis to return to her small hometown in outstate Minnesota. Turns out she was a bit of a jerk to most of her classmates in high school. She is not exactly welcomed back with open arms.

Her goal is to reunite with her old hometown boyfriend who is now married and a new dad. She also encounters the class nerd at a bar in the hometown. Patton Oswalt gives an award-worthy performance as the nerd, who becomes a drinking buddy of Mavis.

Another character in the movie is the fictional small town of Mercury, Minnesota. Unlike Garrison Keillor’s fantasy Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon, Mercury has undergone the same transformations many American small towns have experienced. Diablo Cody wrote the script and offers commentary on the fast food chains that dominate the main drag and the attitudes of those who live in Mercury, either by choice or lack of choice.

There are some good laughs in “Young Adult.” Charlize Theron, not exactly known for comedy, can bring it.

The movie also serves up a memorable and seriously flawed character in Mavis. Will you feel sorry for her or will you feel she deserves all her fates? That’s for discussion on the way home from the movie.

The movie is directed by Jason Reitman of “Up in the Air,” “Thank You For Smoking” and “Juno” fame. He again delivers a trademark cool title sequence. “Young Adult,” like those listed, is funny, but also shares viewpoints on modern American life that stay with you after the credits roll.