‘Snow White & the Huntsman' Extended Edition Blu-ray
Despite some captivating visuals and performances, a fatal lack of on-screen 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, is riddled with tone and pacing problems. And the inert turn from Stewart mortally wounds his promising vision of the Grimm Brothers' famous folk story.
“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.
Ravenna makes quick work of seducing and killing King Magnus (Noah Huntley), who has been grieving the death of his kindly Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross, Sanders' wife). The villainess locks away their beloved young daughter Snow White (Raffey Cassidy).
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.
The princess manages to escape into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna's powers are useless. The royal lures a widowed huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into pursuing the maiden into the cursed woods. Once he catches her he has a change of heart.
As they flee Finn and the queen's army, the pair encounters a fearsome troll, an exquisitely lush fairy sanctuary and a band of tough but charming dwarves, gamely played by British character actors Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Johnny Harris and Brian Gleeson. Along the way, Snow White decides to embrace her Joan of Arc-style destiny and dethrone Ravenna.
Clocking at more than two hours — the extended edition is just four minutes longer than the theatrical version.
Bonus features: Many making-of featurettes, director's commentary and a slick interactive 360-degree set tour. Expanded versions of the behind-the-scenes material can be played along with the theatrical cut through the U-Control picture-in-picture feature.
— Brandy McDonnell