After the gorgeous Ravenna (Theron) marries and then murders a benevolent widower king, she locks his beautiful daughter Snow White (Stewart) in a tower.
All the better to continue draining the youth from the entire kingdom. But just as she prepares to take the now of-age Snow's heart, Snow escapes into the woods, and Ravenna hires huntsman Eric (Hemsworth) to find her. Of course, Eric switches sides when he finds her, joining with Snow's childhood sweetheart William (Claflin) and a gang of dwarves to end the evil queen's reign.
Frankly, this project feels like a gigantic marketing ploy, with casting that's so demographically correct that it hurts: the leads are from America, Australia and South Africa, while everyone else is British. Not to mention the Twilight and Thor connections. And what's essentially the plot of The Hunger Games saga.
But none of this would matter if the movie was entertaining rather than the leaden slog that it is.
Thankfully, the spectacular art direction holds our attention even when the action slows to a crawl. The costumes make us want to freeze the frame to look at them more closely, and they are inventively integrated with the superior special effects. The cinematography is dense and luxuriant, from the swampy blacks of the dying kingdom to the vividly coloured Pandora-like fairy world into which our heroes escape at one point.
Through it all, Stewart maintains a stony, cold exterior that never lets us in, while Theron channels Faye Dunaway channelling Joan Crawford's bulging eyes and strangled vowels. So it's up to Hemsworth to deliver a surprisingly warm, gruff turn that gives the film an unexpectedly cool final shot. And every scene is stolen by veteran Brits Hoskins, Winstone, McShane, Jones and Frost as the snappy, bustling, hilarious dwarves. Without them, this po-faced, over-ambitious blockbuster would be unwatchable by anyone but teen girls.
Run time: 127 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st June 2012
Box Office USA: $155.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $396.6M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Roth Films
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 101 Rotten: 110
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Charlize Theron as Ravenna, Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman, Sam Claflin as William, Ian McShane as Beith, Ray Winstone as Gort, Nick Frost as Nion, Toby Jones as Coll, Eddie Marsan as Duir, Bob Hoskins as Muir, Sam Spruell as Finn, Johnny Harris as Quert, Brian Gleeson as Gus, Vincent Regan as Duke Hammond, Noah Huntley as King Magnus, Liberty Ross as Queen Eleanor, Christopher Obi as Mirror Man, Lily Cole as Greta, Rachael Stirling as Anna, Hattie Gotobed as Lily, Raffey Cassidy as Young Snow White, Xavier Atkins as Young William, Izzy Meikle-Small as Young Ravenna, Anastasia Hille as Ravenna's mother, Elliot Reeve as Young Finn, Mark Wingett as Thomas, Jamie Blackley as Iain, Dave Legeno as Broch, Matt Berry as Percy, Greg Hicks as Black Knight General, Peter Ferdinando as Black Knight, Andrew Hawley as Guard on Duty, Joey Ansah as Aldan, Gregor Truter as Duke's Commander, Tom Mullion as Soldier
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