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Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman

Released 30 May 2012
Director Rupert Saunders

Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones

Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Producer(s) Joe Roth, Sam Mercer
Origin United States
Running Time 127 minutes
Genre Action, adventure, drama
Rating 12A

Fairly good tale.

In this reversion of a classic tale, first time director Rupert Saunders takes to task the much loved story of Snow White. And while this year's earlier effort Mirror, Mirror won't win many fans for the Brothers Grimm's gamine gal, Snow White and the Huntsman might surprise many. There isn't much room for saccharine songs or Disney-fied delights here. Instead, we're greeted to constant murder, foul faced peasants, treacherous woods and archly menacing villains. Even the dwarves, occasionally alighting helpful birds, fairies and imps take a turn housed in earlier, darker mythic structures.

When Snow White's mother dies, the king becomes entranced by witchy beauty Ravenna (Charlize Theron). But if things ended here with 'a happily ever after' we wouldn't have much of a story. And under Ravenna's rule the kingdom inevitably falls asunder and as she and her equally corrupt brother lay waste to the land, while Snow White remains imprisoned in a castle tower, things don't look good. However, seizing her chance to escape, Snow shows wit, a fair amount of courage, and a startling lack of concern for personal hygiene in running away. Destination The Dark Wood. However, Ravenna, with a good grasp of plot lines and help from a clairvoyant gold mirror, thinks Snow could ultimately bring about her downfall and employs Huntsman (hunk for rent Chris Hemsworth) to do away with the difficult teen. But knowing what he knows, and not in particularly enamoured with Ravenna's revenge plan, soon he's helping out, and on the lam as much as Snow White.

Although, the story will without doubt captivate teenagers and young children, there's real appeal for everyone here. Casting works wonders (and you'll see many familiar faces) but the real magic lies in the art direction. The Dark Wood is exactly that, full of Terry Gilliam-esque terror and nightmarish hallucinations, and later in greener pastures, we're treated to CS Lewis fuelled delights, reliant on all things Aslan-a-like, without leaning as heavily on the Christian metaphor. Ravenna's straight out of a Dior perfume ad by way of the spookier ilk in Game of Thrones, while Hemsworth's physicality is at turns suitably gruff, caring and ready for action. Even the much maligned Kristen Stewart takes a good swing at the role of 'the fairest of them all' which is no mean feat considering the baying hoards of internet users who seem as bent on her death as the evil queen.

- Cormac O’Brien