Jun. 06, 2012 - Issue #868: Hot Summer Guide
Snow White and the Huntsman
Directed by Rupert Sanders
The vengeance of a girl taken from home and forced to wed a middle-aged king? A wicked stepmother's envy of the beautiful girl she inherits? The narcissism of an aging witch? Missing the target, Snow White and the Huntsman never figures out what its story's really about. There's gritty, gothic atmosphere and enjoyably vicious acting turns, but, ultimately, this latest fairy-tale adaptation's only one maturity-star above last year's Twi-lite Red Riding Hood.
After Ravenna (Charlize Theron) connives to kill the king, her enchanted mirror tells her the heart of Snow White (Kristen Stewart) will give the wicked queen immortality, but the princess manages to escape. She convinces her hired pursuer, a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), to help her.
Theron relishes the role, her queen almost a sad commentary on the plight of the aging Hollywood actress, doomed never to be a young starlet again. Although the dwarves are, oddly, played by non-little-people (Bob Hoskins, Eddie Marsan and others), rendered small with F/X, the Brits make the most of their elfin characters.
But a beach-stranded moment in Snow White's escape plays like a perfume ad. The enchanted forest sequence slips into a cutesy, Narnia-like Christ-parable. There's no real spark between the leads. At best, Snow White and the Huntsman is pretty but forgettable. At worst, as with its occasionally anachronistic dialogue ("passed away," "OK") and its heroine's sadly undeveloped character, there's something rather hollow about these dark woods.
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