Snow White and The Huntsman
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Ian
McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Bob Hoskins
Director: Rupert Sanders
Honestly, you wait for one film and then two come along at the same time...
Earlier this year, we had a more family friendly (some would even say lighter comic) version of the Snow White story - with Julia Roberts and Lily Collins starring in Mirror, Mirror.
In this somewhat darker version, teen fave Kristen Stewart takes on the role of the fairest in the land, who's imprisoned in a dark tower when the Evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) kills the King and takes control.
When the mirror tells the Queen that Snow White poses a threat to her, she decides to have her killed and promises Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman his dead wife back if he kills her.
But the huntsman is betrayed and the pair team up to rid the land of the Evil Queen once and for all...
So the question is - is this version of Snow white better than the earlier effort this year?
Well, the answer is: sort of.
This latest is a more adult, gritty and medieval take on the fairy tale with its opening portentous voiceover and is blessed with some stunning visuals and some impressive performances.
Charlize Theron's evil queen Ravenna is certainly impressive. Despite bellowing a lot of lines, she gives us a damaged Queen, a Queen ravaged by the darkness of the magic she was exposed to as a child. Prone to menace in all of her scenes, Theron is certainly the star performance of the piece without straying too far over the top.
Unfortunately, Kristen Stewart seems a little miscast as Snow White and in between her acting through half closed eyes most of the time and channelling that teen awkwardness that made her popular, her Snow is a little weedy and weak, spending a lot of her scenes looking pained and almost constipated.
Hemsworth is fine as the Huntsman (apart from an accent which is all over the place) - he's all boyish bravado despite a vulnerability and sadness lurking beneath the exterior - but the chemistry between him and Kristen Stewart is sadly lacking. And when they show, the digitally shrunken dwarves are a welcome respite from the long slow paced thematic darkness which precedes their entrance.
One major problem is that there's no real passion in this; it's curiously flat at times - in dialogue, story and emotion -and is lacking a central love story which is really the heart of this fairy tale.
Despite Sanders bringing some mightily impressive visuals to the screen (a sojourn to the Fairy Kingdom is beautifully realized with its lush verdant greens and colours in comparison to the nightmarish dark forest with its twisted trees and ghoulish spectres), he has a tendency to not rise above his commercials directing background. His over-reliance on slow-mo shots proves too much and his lack at propelling the narrative along in places is all too evident.
All in all, this version is to be commended for bringing some of the nightmares back into fables but it's hardly the fairest of them all.