Maintaining the fantastical but dropping any semblance of whimsy Snow White and the Huntsman transforms the classic fairy tale into a bleak Lord of the Rings-esque hero's tale full of sword fights monsters and forces of evil bent on wiping out humanity. Instead of creating a unique world or conflict for its revamped characters to explore SWATH plays it safe and sticks to the familiar beats coming off like an amalgamation of every fantasy film that's ever graced the silver screen. Director Rupert Sanders sticks to flashy special effects (some of which are truly stunning) over his greatest asset: the charismatic cast. Kristen Stewart Charlize Theron Chris Hemsworth and eight familiar-faced dwarves try their best to elevate the thin material on display but the film is under a sleeping spell — and no one steps in to wake it up.
Once again an evil queen manipulates her way into the castle and heart of a widower king only to cut his throat and throw his beautiful young daughter Snow into the tower to rot. Years later a magic mirror reveals to the wicked Ravenna (Theron) that the now-of-age Snow White (Stewart) is the answer to her waning magic and wrinkly skin. But as Ravenna's slimy brother Finn comes knocking at Snow's door the imprisoned princess pulls a fast one escaping and opening the door for a large-scale adventure through the forests mountains and swamps of the mystical kingdom.
SWATH's action feel particularly shoehorned in each set piece drifting by without any weight or purpose. After fleeing the tower Snow takes shelter in The Dark Forest (there wasn't a better name? or a name at all?) where she's tracked by the Queen's freelancer The Huntsman (Hemsworth). A few fleeting character moments later the two are on the run together duking it out with otherworldly trolls and joining forces with a group of pint-sized ex-gold miners who believe Snow White is "the one." The epic speak commonplace in fantasy films plagues SWATH — without any details as to how or why the world works the way it does most of the dialogue amounts to characters screaming about "destiny." The lack of specifics filters into the journey too: at one point Snow White stumbles upon a forbidden forest bustling with fairies moss-covered turtles and an antlered creature that's never been seen by humans. The beast is a sign that Snow is savior of their world. Why? Anyone's guess.
The generic quality brings down the talent on screen namely Theron's delightfully wicked Ravenna who goes full on Joan Crawford/Mommie Dearest as she pulls strings to entrap Snow White. Naysayers of Kristen Stewart will have plenty of fuel after SWATH but it's the material that fails to serve the actress in this case. The actors in the film barely get to smile — the drab overcast look of the movie clouding even the performances — but the moments when Stewart's Snow brightens up things suddenly come alive. Hemsworth lightens the mood too showing off a sliver of his comedic prowess from Thor. Between the movie's instance for doom and gloom the patchwork script and Sanders' overuse of up-close-and-personal shakycam there's rarely a moment for the actors to do their thing. It's barely worth mentioning the handful of British character actors who pop up as the Dwarves who hobble around mumbling unintelligible quips. They quickly form a bond with Snow White — or so the movie strong-arms us into believing.
Snow White and the Huntsman is stuffed with imaginative spectacle but the artistry is lost on a hollow story. Crystalline mirror shard warriors the Queen's youth-sucking powers or landscapes that look like live-action Miyazaki animation — it all looks amazing but they're never more than spiffy special effects. The movie wants to be above the visuals teasing a smart tough Snow White but the potential is squandered by never allowing the heroine to stride beyond the conventional world. If Snow White's tale is a shiny red apple then modern tropes of fantasy are the poison.
Teen comedy Superbad is leading the nominations for the 2008 MTV Movie Awards after picking up five nods, including Best Movie.
The high school comedy, directed by Greg Mottola, also scooped nominations for the film's stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, who will compete in the Breakthrough Performance category along with their co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Hill is also up for Best Comedic Performance.
But Superbad will be going up against Oscar-winning Juno--which Cera also stars in--for the Best Movie prize, while the actor is also recognized for his efforts in the teen pregnancy film with a nomination for Best Male Performance.
Meanwhile, the big-screen adaptation of Transformers is nominated for three gongs: Best Movie, Best Male Performance for Shia LaBeouf and Breakthrough Performance for Megan Fox. And Enchanted star Amy Adams also received a trio of nods for the Disney film--Best Female Performance, Best Comedic Performance and Best Kiss for her smooch with Patrick Dempsey.
The winners for the 17th Annual MTV Movie Awards will be unveiled on June 1 at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, California.
The full list of nominees is as follows:
I Am Legend
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Best Comedic Performance:
Amy Adams - Enchanted
Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Jonah Hill - Superbad
Seth Rogen - Knocked Up
Adam Sandler - I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Best Male Performance:
Michael Cera - Juno
Matt Damon - The Bourne Ultimatum
Shia LaBeouf - Transformers
Will Smith - I Am Legend
Denzel Washington - American Gangster
Best Female Performance:
Amy Adams - Enchanted
Jessica Biel - I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Katherine Heigl - Knocked Up
Keira Knightley - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Ellen Page - Juno
Nikki Blonsky - Hairspray
Chris Brown - This Christmas
Michael Cera - Superbad
Zac Efron - Hairspray
Megan Fox - Transformers
Jonah Hill - Superbad
Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Superbad
Seth Rogen - Knocked Up
Alien vs. Predator - Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
Hayden Christensen vs. Jamie Bell - Jumper
Matt Damon vs. Joey Ansah - The Bourne Ultimatum
Sean Faris vs. Cam Gigandet - Never Back Down
Tobey Maguire vs. James Franco - Spider-Man 3
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan vs. Sun Ming Ming - Rush Hour 3
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Topher Grace - Spider-Man 3
Angelina Jolie - Beowulf
Denzel Washington - American Gangster
Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey - Enchanted
Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman - Step Up 2 the Streets
Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer - Disturbia
Ellen Page and Michael Cera - Juno
Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Best Summer Movie So Far:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Sex and the City
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
As a thinking man’s actioner Ultimatum continues the franchise’s firm grasp on how spy games are actually played. The film starts at the point where Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is in Moscow having killed the assassin from Bourne Supremacy in a car crash. He has exacted his revenge for his girlfriend’s death but he is still haunted and needs to know how the hell he got into this predicament in the first place. Plus he’s got a new CIA schmuck Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) after him. Vosen has reopened the Treadstone project--now called Blackbriar--and is using a new cache of highly trained assassins to do his dirty work. Luckily for Bourne he’s got two women on his side: CIA lackey Pam Landy (Joan Allen) who while in the situation room tries to thwart Vosen at every turn; and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) the young logistician who covers for Bourne whenever she runs into him. With their help our intrepid assassin circumvents the globe in typical Bourne fashion so he can hunt down his past in order to find a future. Damon has truly perfected his Bourne alter ego in this third go-around. With his cool demeanor he really makes it all look so effortless--jet-setting around the world fighting enemies off with pens books towels cars whatever he can get his hands on and covertly obtaining the information he needs. Damon is an accomplished actor no doubt able to take on a variety of roles--but he may never quite top Bourne. Damon is also surrounded by a top-notch supporting cast. In both Supremacy and Ultimatum Allen as Landy stands out in the crowd of power-hungry men she works for and with infusing the proceedings with a steely intelligence--and ultimately compassion. Stiles too is a breath of fresh air in the otherwise testosterone-filled environment and her Nicky may actually have more of connection to Bourne than we previously thought. The stellar Strathairn a character actor who can play both hero and villain with relative ease adds the sneaky Vosen to his list of bad guys while Albert Finney makes a brief but memorable appearance as a link to Bourne’s past. Helming his second Bourne installment after getting our hearts pounding with Supremacy Paul Greengrass (United 93) gets it. Although the Bournes sprouted from the furtive mind of spy-thriller author Robert Ludlum the director seems keyed into the whole spy genre as well handing us what feels to be a genuine look at how covert operations might work. From the operations center in which CIA personnel can find ways to tap into a target’s life via any number of ways to the action on the streets Greengrass keeps it moving at a whiplash pace. We’ve now come to expect the seat-clenching car chases along with at least one hand-to-hand combat scene between Bourne and some other super assassin in which Bourne kills his attacker with sheer brute force aided by some everyday item. Still they never seem redundant flowing nicely into the storyline. Greengrass’ filmmaking style however can be a tad jolting at times. He loves putting the audience in the middle of the action swinging the camera around fast-cutting between shots keeping things slightly confusing on who’s doing what to whom. But that real-time look and feel is what makes the Bourne movies unique from other actioners. Could there be room for a fourth Bourne? One can only hope.