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Movie Review

Who's the fairest? Certainly not 'Snow White'

By Rob Rector | Jun 10, 2012
Kristen Stewart stars in "Snow White and the Huntsman."

Snow White and the Huntsman may have 99 problems, but the Evil Queen ain't one of them.

Charlize Theron sinks her fangs into the role of the mighty wicked one with such voracity that she alone almost compensates for the myriad miscalculations in this pretty, dull take on the fable.

Let's begin with the positives. Of the recent trips to the well of fairy tale retelling (fairy retelling?), "Snow White" is far above the most recent flicks that attempted to rejuvenate the classics (including the aptly named "Beastly" and the toothless "Red Riding Hood"). It's also visually dreamlike and striking.

But, like its lead actress as Snow, Kristen Stewart, it's also empty, passionless and rather tiresome. Look, I can't place all the blame on the pouty "Twilight" lead, but somewhere, someone must have realized they have given her essentially the same exact type of pensive, whiny role as she has in the tweener "Vampire" series.

She plays Snow as a Dark Ages version of Bella (one that makes you wish to introduce Snow White to the Black Plague). Morose, sad-eyed and mirthless, Snow slogs around the premises with nary a grin to creep upon her lips. Just as it’s hard to comprehend how Edward the vampire would choose the sullen Bella as the one for whom he would risk mortality, it's really hard to grasp what all the fuss is about with this pasty-faced downer.

Lucky for us, and the film, Snow is not the entire focus here, as we are not only treated to a wicked good time with the Queen, but the titular Huntsman as well. Chris Hemsworth, the charismatic "Thor" from the "Avengers" films, is affable, burly and more charming than any cartoon prince. His role calls for him to strike a deal with the Queen to flush out the hiding Snow White in exchange for the life of his wife that was recently taken.

Unfortunately, this sweet little bit of depth to the tale is dropped like a poisoned apple once things get moving. And move they do - with dwarves, and trolls, and other heroic quest obstacles - but they never seem to really go anywhere we have not seen in 100 other sword-and-sorcery flicks. Sure, some of the special effects are rather seamless (especially the "dwarves," who include Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane and Toby Jones), but they have rather - pardon the pun - small roles in the overall story.

Theron does her fair share of teeth gnashing as the main baddie, but "Snow White" still can't overcome its central problem with its title lead. She is viewed as some sort of messianic figure here, which is quite a task for even the most alluring of actresses. But when we are supposed to buy all this from the Valium-voiced delivery of Stewart, it's a glass coffin from which the film cannot escape.

Sorry, Mr. Mirror, but you need to clean than glass of yours, as your reflective recollection of what is the "fairest" in your kingdom is quite cracked.

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