Snow White and the Huntsman Promises Fierce, Sexy Examination of Female Power

5 years ago

I've waited months for Snow White and the Huntsman to open, and finally on Friday it's time to find out who is the fairest of them all.

I'm excited because the extended release trailer shows a rich visual landscape worthy of escape. I don't know about you, but I am ready for a summer flick that sucks me into an alternate universe full of action, adventure and fantasy. 

I'm excited, too, because the film co-stars Charlize Theron, who is clearly the superior Evil Queen Ravenna to Julia Roberts' version in Mirror Mirror, this year's comedic treatment of the same fairytale. The previews of Snow White and the Huntsman show both Charlize and Kristen Stewart bringing sexy, fierce rage to their roles, and the result looks thrilling, a little kinky and a lot cathartic. 

This is the treatment the great fairytale of Snow White has been needing. Recent retellings, most notably Disney's 1937 version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, offer a watered-down Snow, making her a bird-loving housewife to the industrious dream team of dwarf hyper-capitalist workers. She dances, waiting for her prince. She is victimized, she tidies up, and then she is saved.

But the real meat of the original story of Snow White is power. The story is a struggle of a young woman coming into her own power, despite the attacks and abuse of a declining woman trying to retain her own power. It's an internal battle of light vs. dark, surface vs. shadow, good vs. evil. Being "fair" is just a symbol, a currency placeholder connoting the queen's bloodline and her birthright to ascend to power. It is an allegory of initiation into adulthood as a woman, with all the spilled blood that such a major transition entails. How will the struggle define Snow? Will it corrupt her as it has Ravenna, the shadow figure? Will she merely be a victim, waiting to be saved, or will the fight temper her in a different way?

Image courtesy of Universal

I'm hoping Snow White and the Huntsman muck around in these darker themes, staying closer to the Grimm version of tale. The previews suggests that it does. Even if the movie falls short as a feminist examination of initiation, I think the film will be a great adventure through the archetypes and symbols of the great fairytale. Plus, Charlize will yell a lot and take a milk bath, so at least there's that.

Are you excited to see who's the fairest of them all?

(Also, don't you LOVE the Florence + the Machine song for the movie, Breath of Life?)

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