By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

I had only one reason for wanting to see this movie—Charlize Theron.  I knew that the beautiful and talented actress would not disappoint as the evil queen or Raveena as she’s dubbed here.  As for Kristen Stewart, I never really liked this casting choice.  With the exception of her performance in Welcome to the Rileys, Stewart just hasn’t impressed me much.  Her acting in the Twilight saga just comes across as dull and flat.  Perhaps this sounds shallow of me, but I don’t think she has the appropriate beauty that someone portraying Snow White should have.  I don’t think she is unattractive, but the character should be more gorgeous than Charlize Theron.  Anyway, all shallow observations aside, this latest adaptation of the fairy tale has little new to offer in terms of the story.  In fact, the writers and director play it rather safe, so the entire piece plays out rather predictably. 

With no real surprises, the film has all of the essential basics first established by the Brothers Grimm who wrote the original tale.  The evil Queen Raveena (Theron), after murdering her King Magnus (Noah Huntley), imprisons her step-daughter Snow White (Stewart), and plots to overthrow more kingdoms with the help of her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) and through the use of her dark magic.  Poisoned by her vanity, Raveena uses her magic to remain young, but will not become the “fairest of them all” until she murders the holder of that title, Snow White, who manages to escape and flee to the dark forest.  The queen forces Eric, the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture her step-daughter; however, when he realizes that the queen has no intention of honoring their agreement, he joins Snow White’s cause.  Before deciding to take up arms against Raveena, Snow White and Eric encounter a band of scrappy dwarves who also join the resistance. 

 With a screenplay written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock and Hossein Armini, Rupert Sanders directs this well produced and shot movie.  In other words, the movie with all of its effects and editing looks spectacular, but certainly is lacking in the story department.  The filmmakers attempt to make this a Snow White film for teens and adults with its intense action, violence, and dark tone.  At the basis of this darker adaptation is still the same old story with only one big difference.  I won’t spoil this “twist” for those who really want to watch this movie.

 As I anticipated, Charlize Theron does not disappoint as she offers an intensely wicked performance as the villain.  I also enjoyed Chris Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman, truly a classically styled warrior character.  I also particularly loved Bob Hoskins, Ian McStane, Johnny Harris, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Brian Gleeson, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost who are perfectly cast as the dwarves.  Kristen Stewart, once again, comes across as flat and dull in most of her scenes.  In one moment, her character has to give an inspirational speech to rally more people to her cause, and the whole monologue feels so forced and unnatural.  I really would like to see her audition/screen tests, because I’m convinced that the producers cast her simply because of her popularity.

 I can’t really compare this take on the Snow White fairy tale with the other recent adaptation titled Mirror Mirror which appears to be geared more towards younger audiences.  I have to see that one.  So far, nothing compares to the Disney classic which, even though slightly dated, is a remarkable work of art.  This is another film that I don’t recommend watching in the theater.  This makes me kind of sad because with the exception of  The Avengers, I haven’t really enjoyed any other summer movies.  Hopefully the following months will have better summer offerings.

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