Blu-ray review: “Snow White & the Huntsman” Extended Edition
“Snow White & the Huntsman” Extended Edition Blu-ray
Despite some captivating visuals and performances, a fatal lack of onscreen spark poisons the deliberately dark live-action fairy tale “Snow White & the Huntsman.”
The debut feature from director Rupert Sanders, who was once best known for making innovative commercials but now is mostly notorious for his on-set affair with his “Snow White” star Kristen Stewart, conjures up its share of magical world-building, but the storytelling is riddled with tone and pacing problems. And the inert and uninspiring turn from Stewart, who was clearly cast to draw in legions of “The Twilight Saga” fans, mortally wounds his promising vision of the Grimm Brothers’ famous folk story.
Setting aside the debate over whether she or Stewart should be considered “the fairest of them all,” “Snow White” really belongs to Oscar winner Charlize Theron (“Monster”), who ravenously chews scenery as the wicked and tormented Queen Ravenna, whom costume designer Colleen Atwood dresses in macabre magnificence. Loosely based on the historical accounts of Hungarian “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, Theron’s baddie isn’t just evil for evil’s sake, she’s a tortured soul who uses her magic and beauty to take vengeance on the world, particularly men.
In the kingdom of Tabor, Ravenna makes quick work of seducing and killing noble King Magnus (Noah Huntley), who has been grieving the untimely death of his kindly Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross, Sanders’ wife, which knowing what we know now about what went on between the director and Stewart just seems wrong). Reasoning that royal blood might one day have value, The villainess locks away their beloved young daughter Snow White (Raffey Cassidy plays the heroine as a child).
Besides her simpering brother Finn (Sam Spruell), Ravenna trusts no one except her magic mirror, a large golden disc that often takes human-esque form to assure that she is the fairest of them all — until Snow White comes of age. The mirror proclaims that if Ravenna takes Snow White’s pure heart, the queen will no longer have to suck away the youth and beauty from local damsels but will have it eternally.
When she sends Finn to fetch Snow White, the princess manages to escape the castle into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna’s powers are useless. The royal offers a magical bribe to lure a hard-drinking widowed huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into pursuing the maiden into the cursed woods. Once he catches her, though, the huntsman has a change of heart and becomes Snow White’s protector.
As they flee Finn and the queen’s army, the pair encounters a fearsome troll, a lushly beautiful fairy sanctuary and a band of tough but charming dwarves, gamely played by great British character actors Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Johnny Harris and Brian Gleeson.
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