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Snow White and the Huntsman


Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Spruell, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Sam Claflin, Johnny Harris

Director: Rupert Sanders

Fairy-tale heroines are donning their armour these days. First Alice (in Wonderland), now Snow White (coincidentally the same team produced both films). This is a much elaborated new version of the classic story, seguing from medieval action fantasy to full-blown fairy-tale - complete with cute animals and cockney dwarfs led by Hoskins - and back again. One of our little heroes gets killed, but there still seem to be seven in long shots; I suppose they saved on retakes though.

All the trouble, of course, is the work of the wicked queen (an icy Theron, enunciating very precisely), who has usurped the kingdom by seducing and killing its king, then keeping his daughter (Stewart) imprisoned for life.

When the queen is told by the magic mirror that, even after sucking in the souls of maidens to keep her looks, she can only remain the fairest in the land if Snow White dies, she resolves to remove the girl's heart (one imagines the head would have done just as well). Snow, however, escapes, and flees to the dark forest, to which the queen instructs her equally evil brother (Spruell) and a widowed huntsman (Hemsworth, with a decent Scottish burr) to pursue the fugitive princess.

Finding the queen's promise to revive his dead wife to be worthless, the huntsman fights off her soldiers, and lights out with the captured Snow. The rest follows the traditional story, although at far too great a length, the special effects-dominated action scenes failing to compensate for frequent lulls in the narrative, and that downright peculiar fairy-tale interlude in the middle.

You cannot help, however, but admire the cinema trickery that turns Hoskins and Co into little people. Stewart, though not ideally cast, reprises her Twilight persona to quite good effect.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
127 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 28 May 2012