DVD review: Snow White & The Huntsman

(M) ***

Director: Rupert Sanders.

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell.

THE term "gritty reboot" has become a cliche thanks to recent overuse.

In recent times we've seen Batman and Spider-man get one, as has Alice In Wonderland and Planet Of The Apes, and we're about to see re-launchings of Superman and maybe even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The latest classic character to be re-imagined for a darker reality is Snow White, the beautiful princess of the Grimm Brothers fairytale and ground-breaking Disney animated film of 1937, renowned for eating bad apples, hanging out with a septet of little people, and having the stepmother from hell.

The prospect of revamping this much-loved fable may not have filled many with anticipation. After all, we've already had one re-envisioning of Snow White this year (Mirror Mirror), and while the Grimms' original stories may have been far more, err, grim, than what Disney did to them, do modern audiences want to see fairytales with added blood, stabbings, and battles?

The answer should probably be "yes", because this take on the tale is worth a look, blending stunning visuals and an intriguing interpretation that follows Snow White from helpless prey to Joan Of Arc-style leader.

Kristen "Sour Face" Stewart, still looking like she's scared a smile might crack her face in half, is the fabled princess with "skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony". After the death of her mother, her father takes a new queen, the beautiful but decidedly evil Ravenna (Theron), who locks Snow White away, kills the king, takes over the kingdom and starts sucking the souls out of young girls in order to feed her eternal youth.

There are some holes and some clunky moments, but overall this is pretty enjoyable. All the touchstones are here - the poisoned apple, the mirror on the wall, the eight dwarves (yes, they've added one, possibly because of inflation) - and part of the fun is seeing how they work it all in.

Hemsworth is good as the nameless huntsman (even if his Irish accent goes in and out like the tide) and the cast comprising the CGI-aided dwarves is superb.

Visually, the film is glorious, with Sanders making the most of the great sets and costumes, regularly filling the screen with sumptuous symmetry and obviously taking some cues from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Where SW&TH is let down is in some dodgy editing, which effects the flow of the film and some of the impressive action sequences, plus there are some truly dire pieces of dialogue.

But the biggest disappointment is Stewart and Theron. Both are serviceable but underwhelming, which is strange considering how iconic these roles are. Stewart nails the determination of Snow White's transformation into a Joan Of Arc-type figure, but lacks the glow and life-affirming joy the script calls for. Meanwhile Theron goes way over-the-top, but not in an exciting way, instead just randomly flying off the handle or taking a long time to say things.

Theron and Stewart aren't terrible enough to ruin the film and this gorgeous yet fractured fairytale has its flaws but is interesting enough and enjoyable enough to maintain your interest.

The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is on hand to protect Snow White (Kristen Stewart) from the forces of fairytale evil.

The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) is on hand to protect Snow White (Kristen Stewart) from the forces of fairytale evil.


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