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Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman (or as it might alternatively be known: "The Girl Who Forgot How To Smile"), is the second version of the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale to hit screens this year, and it's certainly the better of the two.
By Tom Glasson
June 26, 2012
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By Tom Glasson
June 26, 2012
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Snow White and the Huntsman (or as it might alternatively be known: "The Girl Who Forgot How To Smile"), is the second version of the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale to hit screens this year, and it's certainly the better of the two.

Pursued by an evil witch and loved by two men sworn to protect her, Kristen Stewart plays the eponymous 'Bella', a withdrawn teenager whose...I'm sorry, I meant 'Snow White' - a withdrawn teenager whose unmatched beauty represents the witch's best chance at everlasting life - or as she tautologically describes it: "immortality forever".

Charlize Theron plays the villainous queen Ravenna: murderer of Snow White's father and narcissist extreme. Her magical beauty (which rather awkwardly trumps Stewart's to all but the most subjective observer) is maintained by the dastardly act of sucking the youth directly out of the mouths of all the kingdom's attractive girls. Snow White manages to escape Ravenna's clutches before her own beauty can be tapped, setting up the dogged pursuit with which the bulk of the film is concerned.

All the familiar elements are there in the story, like the poisoned apples and the seven dwarves (played both remarkably and controversially by some of England's leading regular-sized men, including: Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost), along with some new elements like Chris Hemsworth's character Eric the Huntsman. It's darker than one might expect for a film clearly hoping to cash in on the Twilight/Tween market, though just the right amount of dark for a standard Grimm tale.

Stewart brings a certain Joan of Arc quality to her version of the heroine, donning chain-mail and leading the charge during the film's climax, however even in its dialled-down capacity her trademark 'dour intensity' seems at odds with the 'fairest in the land' label. It's all a little 'Snow Grey' for what's meant to represent the diametric counterpoint to Ravenna's dark heart and sonorous demeanour, and it's actually Theron's scenes that ultimately shine brightest.

Snow White and the Huntsman marks the directorial debut for Rupert Sanders, whose previous work was predominantly in commercials. It's a visually rich production and Sanders should be praised for his determination to favour real locations over green screens and CGI. However, he sometimes feels a little too preoccupied with appearance while too light on substance; something one might easily say of Stewart's performance, too. Snow White and the Huntsman is a good film with some great scenes, but too many characters and an unconvincing lead keep it from achieving any real distinction.

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