I didn't like this movie as much as I had hoped to.
I appreciate that it did a lot of interesting stuff, but I felt like it didn't cohere/develop as much as I might have liked.
(Nitpickily, I was really distracted by the fact that when Snow White is running away, her dress keeps shifting whether it's on or off her shoulders.)
There is no reason for Ravenna to not have just killed Snow White when she killed everyone else right after she first took power -- the impression we get is that she doesn't know Snow White's heart will save her until the Mirror Man tells her.
I don't know why The Huntsman did the opening narration other than that Chris Hemsworth has an enjoyable voice.
Ravenna's brother is incredibly foolhardy to yell at the Huntsman that Ravenna can't bring his wife back. Dude, convince him to hand over the princess, THEN demoralize him and kill him.
I really liked that the fairies weren't the classic Disney, that they looked somewhat alien.
I was really hoping that the confrontation with the troll would call back "The [Dark] Forest gains strength from your weakness." The fact that she has magic fairy tale kinship with all living creatures also worked, though. (And I do think she had a moment of ... not necessarily of NOT being afraid, but of choosing to face the frightening thing anyway, and it was in that moment of her willingness to face it, that they were able to connect.)
I have mixed feelings about Snow White being "life itself." It doesn't fit well with her enchanted sleep for one, but also I think it makes her bigger than she is, bigger than she needs to be. Her mother tells her at the beginning of the film that her real beauty is in her heart, and I think that's the core of it. I think her line, "I used to hate her" re: Ravenna is really powerful. She isn't consumed by hatred or vengeance or lust for power... she has retained THAT purity of heart (and of course children can be petty and cruel, so calling it a childhood innocence is misleading -- plus, she USED to hate her; she's grown and matured).
Thinking back to the birds guiding her to a means for her escape, I think there's something about Life Itself inviting her, wooing her (hi, process theology) because it knows that she is the means to its salvation ... it wants Ravenna's rule ended (she's tipped the balance, desolated the land) and so it provides help along the way to the one it knows can do that.
[Edit: musesfool is pithier than I: I could have done without "she's life itself." That was going over the top, to me. I think the idea that the land recognized her as its salvation was good enough. /edit]
I started crying when the White Hart got shot and was REALLY crying as Gus died.
I did think the fake!William was well done -- we don't know much about him, but we do know he's totally committed to Snow White, so what he says is believable ... and then when we realize it's Ravenna it's so "of course" -- her paradigm is that men follow beauty but will betray it when a younger beauty surpasses it ... and she has no concept that people would follow a leader for reasons other than the powers she knows.
I don't entirely understand why Snow White wakes up. We saw that William's kiss didn't work, and I was wondering how the filmmakers were going to work it. They'd echoed/done interesting things with the classic/Disney in other ways... I don't want to believe that it was the Huntsman's kiss that woke her up. I disliked the heteronormativity of the film (though I was willing to grant it for the sake of the story it was trying to tell), but I appreciated that the romances were understated. Snow White is defined by her own power. When the Huntsman calls to William for them to go follow Snow White I was like, "She told you she knows how to kill her. Plus, this is the kind of story where she's the only one who CAN kill her."
I knew she was gonna [have to] use what the Huntsman taught her about killing (I was expecting it earlier, during the mass battles, but it makes sense that it wouldn't happen until the final confrontation with Ravenna). When the blade comes out of Ravenna I whispered, "Don't take it out until you see their soul."
I liked the idea that she and Ravenna had had this sort of psychic union during Snow White's enchanted sleep, but Snow White doesn't use any super sekrit knowledge to defeat her, which disappointed me -- though I suppose there is that key part that she's the only one who can defeat Ravenna.
Back to her waking up ... I want it to be something about the strength of something worth fighting for, something about the power of a changed heart (because the Huntsman talks about his wife made him a new man and after she died he returned to the old self he didn't much like, and being with Snow White has remade him back into that better man), or even the cumulative effect of tears ... not that the Huntsman gives her the kiss of True Love because she so reminds him of his dead wife (though I do really appreciate that they did that in a non-sketchy way, making about her fighting spirit &c.).
[And back to the heteronormativity... gender roles: I'm uncomfortable that virginal Snow White is the Good Queen and seductress Ravenna is the Bad Queen, but I do like that if you actually think about it, Ravenna becomes who she is because of the brutality of men ... there's a certain "reap what you sow;" it's really unfortunate that she so internalizes that she just assumes all men will be awful in the ways she has experienced them being.]
I didn't love Snow White's inspiring speech, and it didn't feel organic to me. Yes, I believe that the people will follow her and will rise up against Ravenna, but the speech really didn't work for me.
I had forgotten, until that first shot of Snow White in the armor, that oh yeah, she's in armor in the promo poster.
While I don't like that there's an implicit romantic choice at the end of the film (though given that they had it, I do appreciate that they really downplayed it), given that it exists, I think I prefer that it's the Huntsman -- someone she's had a growing relationship with -- rather than William, whom she barely knows ("We were children"), who would seem the classic choice just because they're both royalty and he's been oh so devoted to her [memory] and they have that childhood history that in movies tells us they'll be together forever in the end. Though she does kiss him in the snow, which one might have thought was indicative of her having that sort of interest in him -- though of course it might also be Ravenna's charism, and/or she does have an attraction to him, given their history, plus she's had so little human contact and is coming into her adulthood that she's having feelings she wants to direct somewhere. (Just because you kiss someone doesn't mean you have to marry them.)