Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grim Fairy Tale

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grim Fairy Tale

Article excerpt

'SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN'

Critic's Call**1/2

In this version, the monstrously evil queen doesn't just peer into her magic mirror and ask, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) slays her groom, sucks the life out of young beauties and leaves them haggard or dead.

Snow White and the Huntsman," inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, is indeed, grim.

The evil queen covets the heart of her stepdaughter, the comely and kind Snow White (Kristen Stewart), who is imprisoned in the castle tower and ultimately must become a warrior to try to save her kingdom and herself.

Fans of Ms. Stewart from "Twilight" will recognize some familiar territory -- being brought back to life, although not as a vampire, and having two male admirers in childhood friend William (Sam Claflin) and Eric the Huntsman (a dark-haired Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor), who is tricked into tracking her into the dark forest.

The hallmarks of the story -- the queen's psycho vanity, her order to a huntsman to kill Snow White, a dark forest, dwarfs, poison producing a death-like slumber, the healing power of a kiss - - are the same, but they're painted on a wide canvas to accommodate battle scenes on horseback, a nightmarish thicket of barren, twisted trees and an all-female encampment with a painful way of keeping Ravenna at bay.

Trolls, dwarfs and fairies figure into the story, but this time, the dwarfs are played by Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Johnny Harris and Brian Gleeson.

As with "Mirror Mirror," the queen steals the show and where Lily Collins overplayed the sweetness opposite Ms. Roberts, Ms. Stewart has a British accent that comes and goes and a superserious demeanor throughout.

The dwarfs provide a very small measure of comic relief but not enough in a movie that seems unrelentingly gloomy and dark.

DVD extras include commentary with director Rupert Sanders, "A New Legend Is Born" featurette. …

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