Despite my initial cynicism, this re-imagined fairy tale is quite entertaining for a number of reasons. Since Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “Devil Wears Prada”, no other evil queen looks as glamorous and spiteful as Theron’s Ravenna. A memorable female villain performance in recent years, the winner of Best Villain trophy at the MTV movie awards is already picked. “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” one of the most idiotic lines ever for any actor to deliver, but Theron effortlessly mouths it with vulnerability and a slight touch of madness.
Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is complex but determined, not entirely innocent but somewhat ditzy; a bit like her Bella Swan character in “Twilight”. (They always give her two hot guys and put her in deep dark forests. I’d be confused too if I were her). But this Snow White has a let’s-save-the-world modern day attitude, gives inspiring speech that moves people and can kick ass when necessary too.
Always the supporting act, the seven dwarves are once again upstaged but this time by battle scenes (who would have thought?) and two male leads. Eye-candy, Chris Hemsworth, as Eric The Huntsman, nails in much-needed macho-ness by singing Bass but William, Snow White’s childhood friend, played by Sam Claflin, is poorly developed, never quite reaches its potential (if there is any!) and therefore the ending feels abrupt and perplexing.
Although efforts are made to keep it as current as possible (in 3D, the casting of Kristen Stewart, the theme song sung by “Florence and the machine” etc), they cannot simply avoid the use of cliché medieval style setting, a deep-low narrating voice and tired fairytale dialogues, “He’s blessing her. She will heal the land. She is the one!” (Hold my hair, while I puke!) But I looked around in the theatre and half the audience was children so I guess it works. CGI effects are thrown in (a gotta-be-there monster and a few forced sword-fight scenes), for the sake of those who accompany their wives, girlfriends and kids. Thanks to technology nowadays, the cinematography is stunning and pleasing for those who are into photography like myself. And the epic final rhymes-with-rich fight scene is wicked, I must say. Overall, “Snow White and the Huntsman” is a decent update of a timeless classic tale. Brothers Grimm would have been delighted if not proud.