Watching Snow White and the Huntsman is a bit like going on a date with a very attractive member of the opposite sex, only to realize that this person you were so taken with is actually shallow and boring.
It is a beautiful film. If it was a music video, it would be amazing. There is a distinct visual style to the film and a collection of really great visual effects. When Ravenna (Charlize Theron) transforms into a flock of ravens, it is a great effect to behold. Likewise, the dwarves in the film, who are all actors of average height who have been morphed into little people though special effects, look amazing. I’m not sure how the film pulled off such a distinct and effective visual, but it really worked and it allowed them to use some great actors in the role, like Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost. (Which is not to say that accomplished actors like Peter Dinklage or Warwick Davis couldn’t have played the roles.)
The problem is that, as beautiful as the film is, it has no substance. Narratively, it is a complete mess. The entire story feels unoriginal and disjointed, as if the writers simply ripped off their favorite scenes from a variety of different films. A large-scale battle sequence here, a symbolic, well-lit stag there and, for good measure, a battle with an ogre. None of it really makes any sense and it always feels more like a collection of random sequences than an actual movie with any sort of flow to it.
The story, as best I can determine is that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) has been locked away in a dungeon by her wicked stepmother Ravenna ever since the death of her father. Snow White stages and escape and runs off into the Dark Forrest, which, as the name suggests, is not a pleasant place. Ravenna has an entire kingdom at her disposal, but she elects to send one man to lead a small search party to bring Snow White back, so that she can eat the girl’s heart and unlock the secrets of eternal youth. (Yes, I’m serious.) The man she sends it the titular Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), a tortured soul still reeling from the untimely death of his wife. Of course, he turns out to be a poor choice for a lead tracker since, upon first meeting Snow White, he immediately sympathizes with her and decides to join her side against the queen. Hijinks and dwarf alliances ensue.