For a movie based on a fairy tale, Snow White and the Huntsman is kind of grim -- or is that Grimm?
The year's second movie based on the tale of Snow White and the Wicked Queen, it's a much more serious film than Mirror Mirror, which tried to keep things light and jokey. This film, by newcomer Rupert Sanders, approaches its material with a tone closer to The Lord of the Rings.
With a script by a trio of writers, Snow White and the Huntsman positions itself early on as a tale of female empowerment's dark underside. Ravenna, the evil queen played by Charlize Theron, marries Snow White's father, a good-hearted widowed king -- then straddles him in bed while discoursing about how kings tend to take trophy brides, then discard them when they lose their youth.
So she beats him to the punch, planting a dagger in his heart (after first sucking the life out of him through a magic spell). This should serve as a cautionary tale for Donald Trump, among others.
The spell -- cast on her and her brother (Sam Spruell) by their mother -- allows her to live forever, as long as she keeps hoovering the life essence out of young girls (and eating bird hearts, which she spears from their tiny chests with her steel fingernail extensions). But Ravenna discovers, thanks to her magic mirror, that she needs to hold the heart of Snow White, her stepdaughter and the fairest in the land, to achieve true immortality.
She hears this after keeping Snow (Kristen Stewart) locked up in the tower of her castle. Doh! So she sends her vicious codependent brother to retrieve Snow, who outwits him and escapes, aided by (what else?) birds and a conveniently placed horse.
The angry queen forces the Huntsman (apparently there's only one in the whole kingdom, because that's the only name given to Chris Hemsworth's character) to find and capture Snow White. He follows her into the enchanted forest, which is so dark, murky and gelatinous that it looks like it had British Petroleum as its landscaper.
This review continues on my website.