This take on the classic Grimm fairytale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sees Kristen Stewart as the innocent beauty Snow White, and Charlize Theron as the power-hungry evil queen who has an unquenchable thirst for eternal youth and the power it holds. Check out the review after the jump.
King Magnus loses his beloved wife to illness, and during his period of grief his kingdom comes under attack from an army fuelled by dark magic. Amongst the aftermath of the battle the King discovers the seemingly innocent beauty Ravenna (Charlize Theron). The King falls in love instantly and the next day her makes her his wife. Ravenna is far from an innocent beauty, in fact she is a power-hungry woman filled with dark magic which must be fed with youth. Ravenna kills the King, overthrows the kingdom, and locks the King’s young daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in a tower.
Many years on and the kingdom has all but died. Ravenna’s evil reign and dark magic has sucked the life out of the people and the surroundings. Snow White remains in the tower until one day when she manages to escape and flee into the dark forest. The Queen is furious and immediately sends out a troop of men including a talented huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her back. You see Ravenna needs Snow White’s heart, as it alone is the key to eternal youth and everlasting power. When the huntsman discovers Snow White’s true identity he abandons the Queen’s hunt and decides to both protect her and help her overthrow the Queen, and claim the throne which is rightfully hers.
Ultimately this film is very disappointing - there are flashes of originality but for the most part it treads a tired and familiar path. The film starts off quite dark – almost like a Gothic fantasy, with the Queen and her dark magic taking over the kingdom and sucking out it’s soul. There are hints of this dark element throughout the film, with some impressive visuals of evil creatures, the mirror, and the Queen herself, who has the ability to transform and transport herself. On the flip-side, there was also some lighter, beautiful fantasy elements, with magical forests and fluttering fairies creating some enchanting moments.
I wish the film-makers had taken this darker, fantasy tone and completely run with it, because these are really the only elements/moments in the film which work. The rest of the film is clichéd, boring, and quite predictable. At 127 minutes long, the film takes at least 20 minutes too long to tell the simple story, and there are many flat moments where absolutely nothing happens. The dialogue is cheesy, wooden, and extremely uninspiring.
The performances are poor across the board and the actors give the weak characters no life at all. Charlize Theron spends the film screaming and flaring her nostrils, while Chris Hemsworth gives the Huntsman about as much charisma as a plank of wood. Kristen Stewart is horribly miscast as the young, innocent beauty, and she spends most the of film scowling at those around her. I’m not even sure why the “dwarfs”, who were actually actors digitally transformed to look like dwarfs, were even in the film, as they really added nothing. It’s a shame the comedic talents of some of the actors playing the dwarfs (such as Nick Frost) weren’t put to any use.
Overall, lacklastre is the word I’d use to describe the film. There were hints of something darker and more original, but in the end it fizzled out to be a bland, unengaging, and bloated film. 2012 has seen two Snow White adaptations (remember Mirror Mirror?) – please don’t let there be any more any time soon.
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writer(s): Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
Runtime: 127 minutes
Release date(s): Australia &New Zealand: June 21 2012; USA: June 1 2012