Can Kristen Stewart escape Twilight to become “the fairest of them all?”
With her lips red as blood and her skin pale as snow, this live action depiction of the Brothers Grimm story of ‘Snow White’ attempts to bring fairy tale storytelling to the big screen. After Snow White (Kristen Stewart) escapes from the prison of the powerful evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is given the task of finding her. But when betrayal sets in, Snow White must get the suffering people of her realm to unite and overthrow the evilness once and for all.
Impressively, the film manages to depict the whole notion of the fairy tale visual. With it’s vast array of set pieces that are captured perfectly, and a host of well designed creatures for both good and evil. Whether it’s either the enormous roar of a woodland troll encompassed in a twisted dark forest, or the fluttering wings of a forest fairy gliding over a woodland spring, the film does evoke more towards the fairy tale side of things, rather than your usual high budget fantasy.
But having said, it’s not an excuse that the design is a distraction away from the real issue which is the unfortunate plodding story. After a seemingly solid first act, to settle you into Snowy’s world and to get through the crow feathered costumes and the ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’ moments, the film somehow goes on vast tedious exposition of turmoil and tragedy that seems to eventually drag a fair bit.
Kristen Stewart, in small glimpses, is able to do the innocent princess of the land job alright. But for most parts, you can’t help but harbour back to the sulking teenager we’ve come to know her famous for in the Twilight series. Even when giving out a rousing speech to her army, that any Shakespearean character would be proud to deliver, and even when capturing the hearts and minds of her fellow army, she can’t somehow shake the tag of being, ‘just that girl from that Vampire franchise’. In the end, the Huntsman (played by Chris Hemsworth) as this drunk fuelled, axe waving hero becomes more of an endearing presence.
But when all said and done, Charlize Theron steals the film for the most part with her Queen (if looks could kill) Ravenna. Theron has this incredible skill of having insurmountable beauty by doing very little, but yet have the look in her eyes of a character that can quickly verge to the edge of madness at the same time. The sad thing is, the film becomes an unknown soul of a piece in all the time she isn’t on screen. Also, watch out for a great supporting cast from the likes of Ray Winstone, Nick Frost and Toby Jones, who do a great comic relieving job of being Snow’s infamous “vertically-challenged” followers, just to name a few.
You therefore have to admire the attempt of the film-makers in taking this simple classic story that everyone has a rough idea of, and turning it into that big screen experience. But when this new renovated story fails to fully encapsulate, it ultimately becomes nothing other than a solid attempt.