While it's too uneven and corny to be a classic, it's still a lot of fun.
After the King disappears, his daughter Snow White (Collins) is raised by her conniving step-mother (Roberts), who plots with her right-hand man (Lane) to steal the kingdom from Snow. Then handsome Prince Alcott (Hammer) arrives and shakes things up, immediately falling for Snow, which sends the queen into even crazier fits of jealousy. She sends Snow into the woods to be eaten by a mythical beast, but Snow instead befriends a gang of dwarf bandits (Povinelli, Klebba, Saraceno, Prentice, Gnoffo and Woodburn), who teach her how to fight back.
With Tarsem's eye for spectacle, this film looks almost too amazing for kids to appreciate, using colour, costumes, architecture and effects to layer the film with eye-catching fun. The settings are so clever that we get lost in the details, from the majesty of the castle to the dwarfs' crowded lair. The only element that never quite makes sense is the queen's alternate mirror-reality, located in a random hut on a magical lake.
And the characters are vivid too, although they're more amusing than funny.
Roberts has a ball chomping on the scenery, while Collins is well-cast as the feisty princess. Hammer's prince is a hapless hunk who continually ends up nearly naked. But he isn't the only man-candy: the dwarfs are a terrific bunch of distinct characters who are strangely sexy. They're also the wittiest thing about the film, getting all the best lines and action as they hark back to Gilliam's Time Bandits.
In the dwarfs, the film's combination of slapstick goofiness and knowing comedy come together perfectly. Everyone else seems to be trying a little too hard to get a laugh, which is part of what makes the film feel like the humour was added (or cranked up) as an afterthought. It also doesn't help that, even with all of the plot's twists and turns, the story never actually surprises us. But it does keep a smile on our faces.
Run time: 106 mins
In Theaters: Friday 30th March 2012
Box Office USA: $64.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $162.7M
Distributed by: Relativity Media
Production compaines: Misher Films, Relativity Media, Yucaipa Films, Goldmann Pictures, Rat Entertainment, Misha Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 87
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Screenwriter: Melissa Wallack, Jason Keller
Starring: Lily Collins as Snow White, Julia Roberts as Evil Queen, Armie Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott, Nathan Lane as Brighton, Jordan Prentice as Napoleon, Mark Povinelli as Half Pint, Joe Gnoffo as Grub, Danny Woodburn as Grimm, Sebastian Saraceno as Wolf, Martin Klebba as Butcher, Ronald Lee Clark as Chuckles, Robert Emms as Charles Renbock, Mare Winningham as Baker Margaret, Michael Lerner as Baron, Sean Bean as King, Bonnie Bentley as Caroline, Arthur Holden as Noble #1, Kwasi Songui as Noble #2, Eric Davis as Noble #3, Kathleen Fee as Noble #4, Nadia Verrucci as Servant, Dawn Ford as Townswoman / Old Lady, Alex Ivanovici as Town Magistrate, Mélodie Simard as Child, Kimberly-Sue Murray as Villager, Lisa Roberts Gillan as Mirror Queen, Adam Butcher as Servant #2, André Lanthier as Lord Waverly, Lisa Noto as Magical Cottage Queen, William Calvert as Door Guard #1, Nicholas Guest as Door Guard #2, Frank Welker as Mannequins / Beast (voice), Richard Jutras as Townsman
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