Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of Snow White & the Huntsman

I've not done a movie review on here, but I've been very much into fairy tales and archetypes lately and this movie dug into the heart of that material.  So here goes:

It would be so very easy to identify Ravenna as the villain in this tale, but I believe she played a dual role of villain/victim.  Her gift of magic (given to her as a child by her mother or grandmother) instead became her curse.  Her mirror was the closest thing to a lover she allowed as she could love no one truly but herself.  Her brother was a fairly accurate reflection of what she actually was - old, scared, and stuck.  And while her brother knew she was a sorceress, he could not "see" the mirror as she did.

There is much made of the idea of "reflection" in the film.  The mirror is the most obvious of course.  But Ravenna's army reflects what she is - an illusion which cannot last.  An illusion which will continue to fight because to stop is terrifying.  The land reflects the loss of the king.  There is some mythology that could be considered Arthurian here as the land dwindled once the king died and the king is married to the land.  There was also the White Hart (which is a quest symbol) later in the film.  

The princess could symbolize the re-birth of the land as well as purity.  I found it very interesting that Ravenna was the traditional Euro-American model of beauty (blonde hair, blue eyes) while Snow was the darker of the two (black hair, dark hazel eyes.)  Snow was able to access an area called the Sanctuary which I really believe pulled more from actual faery tales and fantasy fiction.  It would a gorgeous thing to look at, but I'm not sure how much relevance it had in the film itself.

On to the two men in Snow's adult life.  The Huntsman (whose name I don't think was ever given) was clearly the man of her present while William is the man of her past.  The ideal youth Snow preferred as a child can't quite compare to the complexity of the future.  While the film ended with no clear showing of the relational choice, it was quite clear that Snow's choice would have been the Huntsman.

Overall I was quite pleased with the film and am very glad I saw it in the theater.  Here's the song Florence and the Machine wrote specifically for the movie.  It is quite powerful & fitting.
Breath of Life

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