June 5, 2012 -- It seems like there have been about a dozen of these Snow White movies in the past few years, the most recent being “Mirror Mirror” which came out earlier this year. The classic, of course, is Disney's 1937 animated film, which remains one of the top 10 movie hits of all time. I wasn't expecting much from this one, a kind of action film sword-and-sorcery storm-the-castle battle version of the story, but it is actually pretty good.
In this film, Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart of the “Twilight” movies) is put in prison for years by the evil queen Ravenna (played by Charlize Theron of “North Country”). One day, Ravenna's magic mirror tells her that Snow White is not only a threat to her rule, but if Ravenna cuts out Snow White's heart, it will enable her to live forever. Ravenna sends her brother Finn (Sam Spruell of “The Hurt Locker”) to fetch Snow White for the butchery, but she escapes.
Snow White seeks refuge in a dark forest where few humans have dared to venture and where the queen herself holds no power. The queen has her brother find a hunter who knows the forest who can find Snow White and bring her back to the queen. The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth of “Marvel's The Avengers”) knows how to navigate the forest. He agrees to bring back Snow White in return for the Queen's promise to bring back his lost love. The plan seems to be working until Finn foolishly tells the Huntsman that the Queen's promise to him is a lie. The Huntsman, misled and betrayed, becomes Snow White's protector. It isn't the last foolish mistake Finn will make.
After an encounter with the spirit of the forest, a mighty stag, Snow White becomes convinced she must lead an army into battle, like Joan of Arc, and defeat the evil queen. Luckily, there happens to be an army nearby for her to lead. With the help of an old friend, William (Sam Claflin of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) and the brave and noble Dwarves, Muir (Bob Hoskins), Beith (Ian McShane), Gorth (Ray Winstone), Coll (Toby Jones), Duir (Eddie Marsan), Quert (Johnny Harris), Nion (Nick Frost), and Gus (Brian Gleeson), Snow White, armed with her virginity powers, is ready to fight for the kingdom.
All the essential elements of the old fairy tale are there, Snow White, the evil queen with magical powers, the eight dwarfs (one dies and they end up with seven), the apple, the kiss of life, etc. This is a darker, grittier version of the story with a lot more graphic violence than most films based on this story. The evil queen, Ravenna and her brother, Finn, are not purely evil characters, both of them have some depth and each has a history which explains some of their actions. The Huntsman is a deeply flawed character, a weak drunkard whose love for Snow White makes him a better man.
Kristen Stewart gives a fairly good performance as Snow White, but she is a bit miscast for the role of a general leading her troops into battle near the film's end. She is a lot more convincing as a damsel in distress who needs the aid of heroes to rescue her. The role calls for two very different kinds of personality. She is good as a weak character, not so good as a strong warrior character. She's not really a classic beauty either, like Charlize Theron, that you expect in the role of Snow White. The dwarfs are very good, however, as is the Huntsman. The film looks great with great scenery, costumes, special effects and action scenes. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.