This is no fairy tale,” an ad for Snow White and the Huntsman warns us, and it’s right: while the film preserves many of the same elements, it raises both the scale and the stakes of the classic story. On the whole, this makes it a worthy summer blockbuster, though it sometimes buckles under its own weight.
Coming in on the heels of Mirror Mirror, a frothy Snow White tale released barely two months ago, this is a much darker, more adult version, with measurably more violence, scares and blood. (Parents be warned – this is no Disney film.) Evil witch Ravenna (Charlize Theron) enchants and marries a sad and lonely king, murders him and takes control of his kingdom. Through magic, Ravenna maintains an immortal beauty, but she knows her power can be undone by one more beautiful than she. And by now we hardly need a magic mirror to tell us that the king’s daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), who Ravenna keeps locked in a tower, is destined to be the fairest in the land.
Overwhelming Ravenna’s creepy brother Finn (Sam Spruell), Snow escapes and ventures into the Dark Forest, a place beyond the Evil Queen’s magic. A local Huntsman (Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth) is recruited to bring her back, but he, a drunken widower in need of redemption, changes sides and helps Snow flee, where she might inspire a rebel army to overthrow Ravenna and return hope and life to the kingdom.
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