Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA, 2012. Roth Films, Universal Pictures. Story by Evan Daugherty, Screenplay by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini. Cinematography by Greig Fraser. Produced by Sam Mercer, Palak Patel, Joe Roth. Music by James Newton Howard. Production Design by Dominic Watkins. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Conrad Buff IV, Neil Smith. Academy Awards 2012.
I have no idea what is going on in this film: Charlize Theron plays a wicked sorceress who worries that her little stepdaughter will grow up to be prettier than her, but then the girl grows up to be Kristen Stewart and somehow the movie does not become a comedy (at this point Theron should say “I can now relax forever” and the film ends). Obviously it takes place in an alternate universe where a young woman who has no facial expressions and never combs her hair can be described as “life itself!” (by a blind dwarf, I should point out) before conquering the kingdom and restoring herself back to her rightful throne. The classic fairy tale of yore is given the modern treatment in this devastatingly boring epic, in which our heroine is also charmed by a dirty, bearded hunter (Chris Hemsworth) whose voice sounds like damp wood being chopped by a plastic axe but who still has plenty more personality than the silly prince (Sam Claflin) with whom Snow White is meant to be united. Despite all of its narrative flourishes, this one has very few surprises to offer and painfully meagre delights with which to charm or entertain: the dwarves are dull stereotypes, the heroes and heroines insipid, and the overall visual tone looks like a bad charcoal painting. Theron surprisingly displays the only compelling sympathy in the entire cast of characters, a woman who is understandably terrified of aging and imperfection because of a high standard set up for her by an insecure mother (what else is new) and stuck in the belief that her beauty and youth are the source of her power. We can’t blame her for wanting to stay good at what she does best, which makes it awkward when it comes down to a swordfight between the two women and you’re rooting for the villain.