The primary problem with Snow White and the Huntsman is that it was released right on the heels of Mirror Mirror. Sure, a new version of Snow White has been brought to the big screen about once a decade since its debut in 1902, but how much of a call could there be for another just a couple of months after the last one opened in theaters?
Secondarily, while Mirror Mirror is a wholesome family film, this decidedly-darker reinterpretation carefully courts the teen demographic via the popular vampire theme coupled with fairly graphic violence. The film stars Bella Swan, I mean, Kristen Stewart, of Twilight series fame, opposite Chris Hemsworth, the hunky heartthrob who plays Thor in the Marvel Comics franchise.
But it’s Charlize Theron who turns in the picture’s sole dynamic performance as Queen Ravenna, a vain villainess in constant need of reassurance that she’s still “the fairest of them all” from her magical mirror. Like a bloodsucking vampire, she preserves her No. 1 status by literally draining the youth out of all of her comely competition.
The narcissistic grand dame keeps Snow White imprisoned in a dungeon with plans to suck the life out of her as soon as the blossoming beauty comes of age. Somehow, the spunky girl escapes, taking refuge in the forest following a spectacular mountaintop plunge down a waterfall reminiscent of Harrison Ford’s iconic scene in The Fugitive.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, the miffed monarch dispatches Eric the Huntsman to track down and slay Snow White. However, the widowed warrior shifts loyalties as soon as he sets eyes on her and wises up about evil Ravenna’s true nature.
Directed by Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman is an emotionally-flat, special effects-driven affair, its incessant display of technical wizardry, notwithstanding. Unfortunately, the film simply fails to measure up to Mirror Mirror, despite the presence of Chiclet-toothed, ingénue of the moment Kristen Stewart.
A brazenly-blasphemous overhaul of Snow White designed to exploit the trendy vampire formula.
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense violence and brief sensuality.
Running time: 127 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures