Considered one of the more successful films of this past year (despite having a somewhat middling box office), Snow White and the Huntsman is now on a Blu-ray combo pack that includes an extended version of the film not shown in theaters as well as a Digital Copy (compatible with all those mobile screens you have in your pocket or backpack) and UltraViolet (cloud-based streaming) access to the film in addition to the DVD and Blu-ray versions. Add to this Universal’s Second Screen experience, which allows you to experience behind the scenes features synced on your tablet or computer with watching the film on your TV, and it’s quite a package. Robert Ebert raved in the Chicago Sun Times that the theatrical release of the film was of “astonishing beauty and imagination.” Imagine what he might say about this extended cut and features.
Starring a Charlize Theron who lives up to the Queen required by the story to be both raving beauty and aging crone, an appropriately scruffy Chris Hemsworth and numerous fine actors, this is maybe not the darkest telling of the fairytale we’ve seen, but it is certainly action packed and epic, bringing new ideas to a story that’s tempting to think we know all too well. There are some amazing effects, most of which look great, though there is the occasional rendering that doesn’t look as good on Blu-ray as it did on the movie screen (such as one of the Queen’s transformations). The only weakness in the film is the casting of Kristen Stewart, who doesn’t quite seem to live up to the designation of fairest in the land (unless “fairest” means something other than physical beauty).
Now before all you Twihards write me nasty emails, let’s just step back for a moment and be honest. Stewart’s casting seems a strategic move more than any sort of typecasting. She has a huge fan base as a result of the Twilight movies, and while she makes an empathetic vampire-in-the-making, she seems a bit miscast in this film. Yes, she’s pretty, but it’s hard to see her at any point being a rival to Theron’s queen, at least in the beauty department. Her performance also seems a bit too mannered at times (or maybe just vacant), and her best performance moments here are probably those last 30 seconds or so of the film. This may be why discussions of a sequel for the film have moved away from a second film with Snow White and towards a Huntsman-only version with Hemsworth.
Regardless of whether a sequel is made and despite afore mentioned casting issues, the film is enjoyable, and Universal has put together a solid Blu-ray/DVD package that fans of the film and new viewers will not be disappointed in.