Just a few weeks after the jolly Snow White reboot Mirror Mirror comes this more action-led version, with Twilight’s Stewart as a feistier Snow White than we’ve seen before (there are no cute chirping birds in this version either) who’s pretty capable of rescuing herself from the evil queen, Ravenna (Theron), thank you very much.
Ravenna – an icy bitch, sorry, witch – has imprisoned Snow White in her castle after murdering Snow’s dad to grab the throne. When she isn’t turning young girls into old hags, sucking their life to keep herself youthful, Ravenna talks to her magic mirror man (a molten CGI figure that’s probably a figment of her fractured imagination) and decides it’s time to kill Snow White once and for all after the plucky princess escapes from prison and heads to the dark forest (the creepiest bit of the film). Ravenna sends a hunky huntsman (Thor’s Hemsworth) off to kill her, but it’s not long before he and a group of vertically challenged ex-miners are instead helping Snow in her plan to storm the castle and kill the queen once and for all.
While you’d assume from the title and casting that this was aimed at the Twilight crowd of teenage girls, there’s surprisingly little romance here – in fact, the poor huntsman doesn’t even show up until over 30 minutes in and when he does he’s busy brooding about his own murdered wife, while another potential suitor, Sam Clafin’s William, is a better archer than he is a love interest. Instead, it’s more Grimm Brothers meets Lord Of The Rings, complete with mystical forest creature, a trek through Hobbit-like country, and a big battle with Stewart in full armour. The only humour comes from the dwarfs (mathematically savvy audiences will notice there are more than seven), played by well-known actors including Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Toby Jones and Nick Frost with digitally-shortened legs. Hmmm.
While all the action is fine, and the effects impressive, in the end it is Theron who steals the movie, playing a woman who acts the way she does because some powerful man wronged her, transforming from evil queen to clearly unhinged despot in her quest to be both beautiful and all-powerful. Although the rest of the movie doesn’t quite live up to her superbly frosty performance, it’s still an interesting (and definitely not childish) take on a familiar tale.
Is Snow White And The Huntsman suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This movie isn’t for younger children. Snow White’s trip into the forest involves a few scary moments and hallucinogenic plant life that causes a few nasty visions.
Later scenes involving Ravenna’s ageing and attempts at halting it may also frighten younger viewers.
There are also reasonably graphic battle scenes that may bother the under-10s.
If you like this, why not try: Grimm Brothers' Snow White, Stardust, The Princess Bride, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Mirror Mirror,