movies: Ev­ery­thing’s all White for Kris­ten Ste­wart ....

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

THIS year’s sec­ond re­vi­sion­ist take on the Broth­ers Grimm clas­sic, Snow White & The Hunts­man is a vis­ual treat with some ex­pertly staged bat­tle scenes.

It’s a de­cided im­prove­ment on Mir­ror Mir­ror, but fails to re­alise the full po­ten­tial of its am­bi­tiously dark vi­sion.

Fil­ter­ing the time­less fairy tale through the prism of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and count­less other film fan­tasies, it rein­vents Snow (a mis­cast Kris­ten Ste­wart) as a war­rior princess who launches a bat­tle to re­claim her king­dom from Queen Ravenna (a campy but ef­fec­tive Char­l­ize Theron).

Ravenna kills Snow’s wi­d­owed fa­ther on their wed­ding night, then im­pris­ons the princess for a decade in a cas­tle tower un­til she learns from the magic mir­ror that con­sum­ing Snow’s heart will give her im­mor­tal­ity. The queen sends for her step­daugh­ter, but Snow es­capes.

The queen’s mag­i­cal pow­ers do not ex­tend to the Dark For­est, so she en­lists the burly hunts­man (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down.

The clos­est this ver­sion comes to a prince is a hunky cipher of a baron’s son (Sam Claflin), who com­pletes a half-hearted im­i­ta­tion of the Twi­light love tri­an­gle once Snow and the hunts­man van­quish the queen’s de­light­fully oily, al­bino brother (Sam Spru­ell).

There are eight – not seven – dwarves, all drunken thieves and far from love­able. In a big mis­step, the dwarves are dig­i­tally re­duced ver­sions of such Bri­tish char­ac­ter ac­tors as Ian Mc­Shane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Win­stone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones and Ed­die Marsan.

Snow White’s even­tual tri­umph may be pre­or­dained, but act­ing-wise, there’s no con­test be­tween Ste­wart and Theron.

No­body’s idea of ‘‘the fairest in the land’’, Ste­wart brings her fa­mil­iar dis­af­fected and scowl­ing per­sona to the char­ac­ter. While Ste­wart does crack a faint smile on oc­ca­sion, her Snow could use a more ethe­real touch, es­pe­cially when she in­ter­acts with the film’s spe­cial-ef­fects ver­sion of na­ture. She looks great suited up in ar­mour like Joan of Arc, though.

Theron is the real star, although she’s greatly abet­ted by Colleen At­wood’s awe-inspiring cos­tumes and spe­cial ef­fects that turn her into a flock of ravens and a pool of tar.

De­but­ing direc­tor Ru­pert San­ders de­liv­ers eye candy by the car­load, though the re­sults play out out like a sample of the great­est hits of Ri­d­ley Scott, Peter Jack­son and Ge­orge Lu­cas. Snow’s fi­nal as­sault on the queen’s cas­tle may make this a hit, but it takes al­most two hours to get there and it felt like three.

This flawed but en­ter­tain­ing epic is called Snow White and the Hunts­man, but Hemsworth – who swings a dou­ble sword with more brio than Thor’s ham­mer – gets lost un­til he’s needed for the cli­max.

opens today.

Char­l­ize Theron as the wicked Queen.

Kris­ten Ste­wart as Snow.

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