Snow White and the Huntsman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Thought not stunning, the image was very good.
For the most part, sharpness seemed solid. Some interiors could be a little soft, but those didn’t occur with much frequency. Instead, the movie usually displayed strong clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to materialized, and the programs lacked edge haloes. No signs of source flaws popped up, as the series always offered clean visuals.
Much of the film went with a cold, desaturated look to fit the dark tone, so expect a bluish feel much of the time. When the characters entered the green forest, though, the hues pepped up somewhat; they still stayed restrained but they offered more diversity. I thought the colors looked appropriate given the production design. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. All of this ended up as a “B+” presentation.
I felt more impressed with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. In terms of soundfield, the flick came with a lot of action, and those sequences worked well. Whether the track went with lively action or general ambience, the mix used the channels in a compelling manner. It created a good sense of place and environment, with elements that blended in a satisfying manner.
Audio quality seemed good. Speech was concise and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Music was full and dynamic, and effects came across as accurate and clear. When necessary, the track boasted deep, rich bass. The track impressed enough for an “A” rating.
When we shift to extras, we find both the movie’s theatrical cut (2:07:14) and an extended edition (2:11:33). How do they differ? The longer version adds the following sequences:
10:26-10:45: Ravenna enters castle
12:57-13:45: Ravenna kills enemies and locks up Snow White
47:25- 48:40: Finn gathers army, Snow and Huntsman discuss the king
50:20-50:50: Finn and army track Snow
1:27:21-1:28:45: Huntsman and William chat
Do any of these additions make Huntsman a better film? Nope. I thought the theatrical cut was slow and tedious, and the extended footage didn’t improve it. The movie came across as dull and sluggish either way.
We find an audio commentary from director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, editing and effects, music, sets and locations, visual design, stunts and action, and a few other areas.
Despite a few lulls, this usually acts as an engaging take on the film. Narration becomes the biggest drawback, as the participants occasionally just describe the on-screen action. However, those moments don’t become too intrusive, and the track usually works well. We get a lot of info about the movie in this generally solid discussion.
A staple of Universal Blu-rays, U-Control gives us a “picture-in-picture” program. It mixes footage from the set and interviews. We hear from Sanders, Nicolas-Troyan, stunt coordinator/fight coordinator Ben Cooke, stunt coordinator/horse master Steve Dent, co-writer/story writer Evan Daugherty, VFX supervisor Philip Brennan, set decorator Fainche MacCarthy, supervising model maker Dean Brookes, animal wrangler Anthony Bloom, special effects supervisor Michael Dawson, executive producer Palak Patel, producer Sam Mercer, and actors Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Kristen Stewart, Sam Spruell, Eddie Marsan, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Johnny Harris, and Vincent Regan.
The PIP examines battle scenes, stunts and action, cast, characters and performances, effects, sets, locations and design. Prior Universal “U-Control” PIPs tended to be spotty, and this one follows that trend. When the material appears, we learn some decent details about the production, but a fair amount of the movie passes with no footage. That makes this an occasionally frustrating experience, and I’m not sure the quality of information compensates.
Featurettes flesh out the disc. A New Legend Is Born goes for 20 minutes, 53 seconds and includes notes from Sanders, Patel, Theron, Stewart, Claflin, Hemsworth, Mercer, MacCarthy, Cooke, Dent, Regan, chief pilot Marc Wolff, producer Joe Roth, costume designer Colleen Atwood, medieval advisor Dr. Hugh Doherty, and actors Ray Winstone and Liberty Ross.
The show looks at what Sanders brought to the film as a first-time director, costumes and visual design, sets and locations, stunts and action, and some general thoughts. This is pretty standard “making of” stuff, so it delivers a mix of production details with a lot of “everything/everyone was great” chatter. It’s a decent piece but no better than that – and if you’ve already watched “U-Control”, expect to see some of the same clips here.
Reinventing the Fairy Tale goes for six minutes, seven seconds and offers info from Sanders, Daugherty, Patel, Roth, Nicolas-Troyan, Hemsworth, and co-writers Hossein Amini and John Lee Hancock, We get a look at story/script subjects as well as the film’s tone. The main subject/attraction here comes from Sanders’ “Tone Poem”, a short reel he shot to show the studio what he wanted to do; we see snippets from it. Despite this featurette’s brevity, it delivers a good level of information.
Four clips pop up under Citizens of the Kingdom. These cover “Snow White” (5:48), “Queen Ravenna” (5:36), “The Huntsman” (5:04) and “The Dwarves” (6:42). Across the clips, we hear from Sanders, Stewart, Theron, Hemsworth, Patel, Marsan, Cooke, Claflin, Daugherty, Spruell, Roth, McShane, Frost, Harris, Brennan, Nicolas-Troyan, makeup department head Sharon Martin, prosthetics makeup designer David White and actors Brian Gleeson, Bob Hoskins, and Toby Jones. We get notes about cast, characters, performances and connected subjects. Like the prior pieces, these deliver a mix of useful facts and happy talk.
With the 13-minute, 23-second The Magic of Snow White and the Huntsman, we locate comments from Sanders, Nicolas-Troyan, Brennan, visual effects producer Will Cohen, effects supervisors Alexander Seaman and John Moffatt, 2D supervisor Sean Stranks, 3D supervisor Dan Neal, animation supervisor Robyn Luckham, senior animation supervisor Andrew Arnett, movement coach Peter Elliott, and visual effects supervisor Todd Shifflett. “Magic” examines a mix of effects methods used to bring those elements to life. “Magic” delivers a pretty solid take on the topics, so expect a tight, brisk show.
Lastly, we find Around the Kingdom: 360 Degree Set Tour. We see intros from Sanders as well as close-up glimpses of sets: “King Magnus’s Courtyard”, “Village Near Castle Tabor”, “Duke Hammond’s Castle Encampment”, “Queen Ravenna’s Throne Room” and “Queen Ravenna’s Mirror Room”. These mix the expected slow pans around locations, but we also view pre-viz shots, rough effects material, concept art and interviews; the latter include comments from Ross, Claflin, Hemsworth, Spruell, Regan, MacCarthy, Doherty, Theron, Atwood, Stewart, and actor Noah Huntley. The interface can be clunky, but the feature adds some interesting details and observations.
The disc opens with ads for ET the Extraterrestrial, Death Race 3: Inferno, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, Dead in Tombstone, End of Watch, Bring It On: The Musical, Battleship and Anna Karinena. No trailer for Huntsman appears here.
A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Huntsman. This delivers a retail edition with a few extras – and both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.
While not a genuinely bad film, Snow White and the Huntsman provides a rather dull take on the classic fable. The movie generates decent action by its end, but at that point, it’s too late. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and excellent audio as well as a fairly nice set of supplements. We get a strong Blu-ray release for a mediocre movie.