Everyone knows the story; The evil stepmother, the seven dwarves, a poison apple and a handsome prince. However in this fairytale retelling, Kristen Stewart steps into the role as a slightly more kick-ass Snow White.
Strongly influenced by feminist thinking, this tale of a brave, beautiful and far from helpless Snow White is not your typical "Damsel in Distress" story. This Snow White doesn’t depend on men for help in being saved from the evil Queen, rather she is more than capable of fending for herself – with only a little help from The Huntsman.
Though the film itself is knowingly predicable, first-time director Rupert Sanders brings a unique spin on the beloved fairytale by creating what feels like a cross between the 2000 fairytale/fantasy TV series The 10th Kingdom and an epic battle movie;
Snow White's happy childhood is cut short when her new stepmother (Charlize Theron) murders her father and imprisons her for almost a decade. The evil Queen, along with her creepily close brother, then take over the Kingdom - quite literally feeding from the beauty of young women in order to remain fairest in the land.
Once the Queen’s faithful mirror delivers the news that Snow White, if kept alive, will soon become fairer then her, she quickly sends her brother to fetch the princess so they can dispose of her accordingly. Unfortunately for them, Snow White escapes and runs into The Dark Forrest, leading the Queen to trick a local huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into finding her and only bringing back her heart.
Tricking the Huntsman backfires, though, and he swiftly decides to help Snow White in her plan to take down the Queen and rightfully reclaim her Kingdom. They are joined by Prince William soon after - who not only is in love with Snow White but saves her life when the Huntsman is not around - as well as eight dwarves. With the group larger and stronger then ever before, they finally go in to battle."
Charlize Theron is simply amazing as Ravenna, delivering a flawless performance as the furious and psychologically unstable Queen. You are able to feel both fear and sorrow for her character thanks to the little bit of subtle depth she portrays in her. All in all, she is the perfect villain.
Kristen takes to her role wonderfully with her simple yet stunning beauty creating a perfect Snow White. Her shy personality in reality is channelled into her performance and she portrays her character’s kindness and strength flawlessly, reminding us that her ability to adapt to different roles never fails to impress.
Sam Clafin plays Snow White's childhood-best-friend, Prince William, who obviously still has feelings for her after all the years she spent imprisoned - even though he had thought her dead the entire time.
Sam does a wonderful job portraying both the fear and elation his character feels as he reunites with Snow White for the final battle.
Chris Hemsworth is the perfect picture of a tough, strong huntsman, balancing both masculinity and compassion equally throughout the film. He shows his strength as an actor in some of the more quieter moments - such as speaking about his deceased wife or teaching Snow White how to fight so she can survive - but he is also well able to become somewhat of a comic relief in his scenes with the dwarves.
Some people will be shocked to see the 'little' dwarves portrayed by 'big' actors such as Nick Frost and Brian Gleeson. While the actor's bodies were all reduced in size with thanks to the film's seamless CGI, their performances were nothing 'short' (see what I did there?! ;)) of amazing.
For this film it really seems that no expense was spared in the graphics department and it definitely pays off. The special effects throughout the film were phenomenal - from the way characters could explode into flocks of crows or shards of coal, the hallucinogenic "Dark Forrest" scenes where mounds of grass and muck could suddenly turn into trolls, and the enchanted wood full of whimsical creatures such as faeries, sprites, and even a deer that explodes into a flock of butterflies - you feel drawn in to the story and may, at times, feel like you are actually there experiencing all that the characters are.
This imagery is surely helped along by the impressive score, done by James Newton Howard, which only serves to enhance these visuals and help in creating such a strong atmosphere.
Overall, we felt that it deserved 4/5 stars, and while we must admit that we could have initially taken or left the film due to its well-known story-line, Rupert Sanders has impressed us with a somewhat unique approach to the beloved fairytale.
This is certainly Kristen Stewart's best performance to date, one in which we can definitely get lost in and forget about comparing her to any other characters she has played before - the mark of a truly good actress.
KStew fans, like us, definitely won’t be disappointed with this well made fantasy film which is an undoubtedly impressive attempt at Sander’s first blockbuster.
We cannot WAIT to see it in the cinemas again, and then buy it on DVD :)