Snow White Blu-ray Review: Style, No Substance

Some would describe Snow White and the Huntsman as a fun movie. Others would describe it as a glossy mess. Regardless, there’s no argument that director Rupert Sanders is as good at creating stunning visuals as he is at directing his way into Kristen Stewart’s pants. Unfortunately, the bonus features included on the new Blu-ray release – available in stores now – are immediately forgettable.

Back in June, I described the movie as “the essence of superficial, and I kind of like it. I kind of hate it, too. I can’t take my eyes off it.” (read the full movie reviewSnow White and the Huntsman is an intoxicating and gorgeous film to watch and features some of the best – if not the best – special effects of 2012. It quickly becomes clear that Sanders was so focused on the visual effects, however, that he forgot to double check whether his story made sense. And that Kristen Stewart looking sad and angry is the same as having emotional and fleshed out characters. He must have been thinking about something else while she was on set.

Several months later, I have generally fond memories of the film despite its many, many inadequacies.

The Blu-ray, however, is instantly forgettable.

Though the Blu-ray set includes an audio commentary, Ultraviolet and digital copies and some of those interactive features I still question whether anyone uses, each of the featurettes included on the disc range from five to 20 minutes in length and are the type of ra-ra-ra materials that make a cynical movie reviewer like me want to puke like Robert Pattinson while reading TLZ one lovely morning. Universal gives viewers, also known as spending customers, a bunch of marketing-driven featurettes that mainly have the cast and crew praising each other. There are nuggets of goodness in here, but they are fleeting and surface-level at best.

The visual effects featurette is almost worthwhile, but it barely dwells on one sequence before moving onto the next. For a movie that relies so heavily on special effects, it’s disappointing that Universal didn’t give audiences an hour-long documentary on the effects and an in-depth look at how the film’s style was developed and realized.

I’m also amazed Universal didn’t do something where it looked at the history of Snow White in more detail – including previous theatrical adaptations and compared how Huntsman paid homage or veered away from other incarnations. There are moments where the studio touches on these points – like mentioning the original Grimm fairy tale – but like everything else, it’s style over substance.

At least there was this quote, from director Rupert Sanders: “Kristen [Stewart] is like an unbroken racehorse. She’s kind of wild.” Maybe he was just trying to tame her.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Adventure Movies, DVD Releases, Fantasy Movies
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