Directed by Rupert Sanders. Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan, Lily Cole, Noah Huntley. (PG-13, 127 mins)
The danger of doing a revisionist take on anything these days is that no matter what, the purists will bitch and moan just as loudly as they would if the filmmakers simply redid the same old story as it's always been told. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is faced with that dilemma and works on both sides of it at various times throughout, and while it isn't always successful, it hits much more often than it misses.
After marrying and murdering the widower King (Noah Huntley) and imprisoning his young daughter Snow White in one of the castle towers, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) takes control, remaining ever-youthful as the years by as her kingdom withers and dies, with the people suffering under her poisonous rule. When her Magic Mirror informs her that Snow White is now the fairest of them all, Ravenna orders her devoted brother Finn (Sam Spruell)--definite incestuous implications here--to kill the now-grown Snow White (Kristen Stewart), who manages to escape, fleeing the castle grounds. Ravenna sends drunken widower/mercenary huntsman Eric (Chris Hemsworth) to find her, promising to return his late wife from the dead. Discovering, just as Finn and his soldiers try to kill him, that is one of the few powers Ravenna doesn't possess, Eric decides to protect Snow White and they're on the run from village to village, through the Dark Forest and beyond, with Finn in hot pursuit.
|Kristen Stewart as Snow White|
|Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman, with the dwarves,|
led by Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins.
|Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna|
I can see audiences not warming up to SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN: it'll be too gray, grim, and muddy for some and there's not nearly enough romance for the Stewart base. But like Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD (2010), another recent, widely disparaged revisionist take on a famous story, it works perfectly fine if taken on its own terms and not just in the context of what a viewer wants it to be or what they've already seen and feel it should be.