After Tarsem Singh's "attempt" at a Snow White movie, the odious-looking Mirror Mirror, this instalment looked amazing. The trailers promised a stylish, exciting, dark, moody epic sort of like Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland but grittier and actually probably better.
For the most part, Snow White & The Huntsman delivers. I was afraid the film would go down the Alice In Wonderland route and trick its audience into thinking they were about to watch the classic Snow White story when in fact giving them some weird, stand-out sequel but this one does stay surprisingly close to what you'd expect from a Snow White movie. You get the evil queen, the creepy brother, the mirror, the dwarves, gloomy forests... it's pretty much all there. It's almost like the film tries to hide its Snow White-ness wanting to be something altogether darker and more twisted but restraining itself for the sake of the fairy-tale.
The cast is hit-and-miss with Charlize Theron's OTT queen chewing scenery at every turn, taking random milk baths and, by the end, just yelling incessantly. Kristen Stewart makes a bit of a bland, humourless Snow White, a character that needed to be a bit more unique in its depiction. You really don't get what all the fuss is about with everyone either in love with her, amazed by her radiance or deeply jealous of her. She's meant to be "the one", but I'm sorry, I just don't get that from her. On the plus side, Chris Hemsworth is good as The Huntsman playing it tough but real and the dwarves are surprisingly well done with the weirdest mix of non-little people being CGI'd in to play them. You've got the likes of Ian McShane, Brian Gleeson, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Nick Frost and Bob Hoskins, all dwarfed up and, believe it or not, it works!
It is the best Snow White flick in a long time and boasts great action scenes, some cool effects and a camp quality you'd find in films like LadyHawke or other swords & sorcery 80's epics. I did enjoy it but if you're expecting something perfect and/or completely serious you're in for a let down: this is about as silly as that type of movie can get. You've got fairies coming out of birds, exploding deer, odd-looking old make-up on young people, mushrooms with eyeballs...
Overall, I'd say this one's uneven, it has its good points and remains entertaining throughout but things about it are either too distracting or just don't quite work. Maybe it should have gone all out with the dark stuff going for something more along the lines of Legend, I don't know. In the end it's more like Stardust: not bad just not great.
Check it out, just don't expect to remember it the next day.