Good vs. Evil Imagery in Snow White and the Huntsman

Year: 2012
Director: Rupert Sanders

There is a lot to be observed in Snow White and the Huntsman, a 2012 British/American action, fantasy film based on the fairytale of “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm. Its dark tone and foreboding narrative pulls the audience to the edge of their seats. Starring Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Kristen Stewart as Princess Snow White, the movie is a powerful retelling of the classic fairytale and is filled with meaningful dialogue and good cinematography.

The imagery of Good vs. Evil persists throughout the film and is represented by contrasting themes, colours, places, sounds and costumes. For instance, Snow White’s evil stepmother Queen Raveena lives in a dark castle guarded by soldiers wearing dark armour who ride black horses. The place is gloomy, cold and lifeless. Her beauty and powers only come if she preserves her youth by consuming the blood of hummingbirds and stealing Greta’s (her maid) beauty by taking the youthfulness out of her.

On the contrary, Snow White enters into the Sanctuary, which is a complete contrast of the Dark Forest, where she sees enchanting animals and fairies. She rides a white horse and becomes friends with the seven dwarfs, whereas the Queen basically has no friends and is stuck in an old castle all by herself. Also, Snow White’s music is pure and innocent while a dark and brooding music plays when the dark castle is shown. In the final part of the film, we see Snow White laying on a bed in a white dress where she wakes up after the Huntsman kisses her on the lips. The Queen, however, is dressed all in black feather and in their final confrontation, Snow White is dressed in a silver garment ready to avenge her father’s death.

Probably one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie is when Queen Raveena disguises herself as Prince William and then morphs into herself. After she tricks Snow White into eating the poisoned apple, she is almost attacked by the Huntsman but escapes into the sky after turning into a circle of black birds. This is contrasted by the majestic white horse transforming into a circle of white birds after getting shot by an arrow from Queen Raveena’s brother, Finn. In the final attack between the Dark Army and the Duke’s Army, we see a complete differentiation between good vs. evil. The Duke’s army fights face-to-face as real soldiers whereas the Dark army is masked in armour and doesn’t reveal their identities.

All in all, this movie is not for the faint of heart. It is a hauntingly good adaptation of the fairytale of Snow White and is enhanced by impressive scenery and camera angles. Charlize Theron is marvelous in this film and her acting is mind-blowing good. She proves once again that she is a powerhouse actress worthy of her Oscar award and good praise. The aesthetics and script enriches this film and the soundtrack is what makes it so dramatic.

It certainly is a total 180 degrees from another film version of Snow White called Mirror Mirror, which is much more lighthearted and comedic. Although, they are both good movies in their own ways.

Photo by Leah Newhouse via Pexels