In this twist on a familiar fairy tale, Charlize Theron is Ravenna, an evil queen so obsessed with being the fairest in the land she condemns the dead king’s lovely daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart), to a lifetime of solitude and captivity.
When the queen’s mirror tells her that Ms. White will one day reclaim the throne, Ravenna does what any evil monarch would do. She decides to eat Snow’s still beating heart, thereby ensuring immortality and the throne.
Chris Alexander sits in for Mark Breslin this week.
• Richard: 3/5
• Chris: 4/5
Richard: Chris, this movie plays like the love child of the Grimm Brothers and The Hobbit. It is dark in tone and in look with just a few hi ho ho’s provided by the Seven Dwarfs. That’ll be my last bad Snow White joke, I promise. The first hour is a gothic fairy tale, the second hour more an action movie, but through it all Theron’s bug-eyed Grand Guiginol performance remains constant. Was she too over the top, or just over the top?
Chris: One scream of rage would have been over the top. By the time she turned into a melting puddle of dying, tar-soaked crows, I realized that both the dark tone of the film and Charlize’s shrieking vampire queen performance were more Hammer Horror than Walt Disney… and I was in deep, of course. But what did you think of Stewart’s Snow White?
RC: K Stew is the movie’s big draw, marquee wise, and while she holds down the fort, I found that unless she was on horseback, or staring down a troll, I wasn’t that interested in her performance. The talky bits aren’t nearly as interesting as the yelling bits (thanks to Charlize’s unhinged performance) or the action sequences. Unfortunately, she is saddled with most of the dialogue, and it is the last interesting thing about the movie.
CA: Stewart was a fantastic Joan Jett. Not so much earth goddess/warrior queen but whatever, I forgave her slight, tomboyish presence when so many operatic visuals were exploding around her. Strangely, however, I found that some of my favourite moments in the film were the quiet ones; the sequences of technicolour fairy forests and character moments where — alarmingly — you actually empathized with Theron’s soul-sucking monster. What do you think Stewart’s TWI-hard fanbase will think?
RC: She couldn’t muster the fanpires for The Runaways but this time around will be different, I think. Her version of Snow White has much in common with the elements that appeal to the Twilight fans. There’s no werewolves or vampires, but there is true love, fantasy and even the sweeping crane landscape shots are reminiscent of her best-known films.
CA: Well, she certainly has a better shot at pleasing her fanbase with this lush gothic fantasy than her sparkly paramour Pattinson does getting a five-minute prostate exam in Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, that’s for sure…. but we’ll save that for another day.