A woman of destiny

2012-06-01 13:56

Film: Snow White and the Huntsman (UIP)
Director: Rupert Sanders
Featuring: Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsden and Sam Claflin
Rating: 8/10

Finally the actress behind Bella Swan’s sulky exterior reveals that she can, when scripted, be a woman of action.

Kristen Stewart is Snow White in this gloriously dark and bloody cinematic version of the German fairytale collected by the Brothers Grimm back in the 1800s.

It is the second version this year and where Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts was glib and glam, Snow White and the Huntsman is macabre and menacing.

The show-stealer is our own Charlize Theron who manages to make her beautiful face positively terrifying as she rips hearts from chests, sucks the souls out of maidens and generally acts the petulant despot.

The scriptwriters – who between them have written award winners such as The Blindside and Drive – have created a fresh take on a story we all know so well.

They have worked every element, from Snow White’s affinity with animals to the magical kiss and the apple, into the story but each with a twist.

Even the love story has been given an extra element – a bit like Twilight, Snow White must choose between two men (at least this time one isn’t a soulless bloodsucker).

Chris Hemsworth is The Huntsman and he looks as good as he did in Thor, with less Asgardian armour perhaps, but he’s still my first choice for the eye candy awards – though I did wonder at the Australian hunk with a faux Scottish brogue.

In one of the many retakes, The Huntsman is set on Snow White by the Evil Queen after the princess escapes into the dark forest, a place only he can navigate.

The dwarves are cleverly drawn, perfecting the techniques Peter Jackson used to shrink his hobbits, as first-time director Rupert Sanders turns Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsden and Ian McShane into smaller people.

Sanders also puts CGI technology to spectacular use to create the magical sanctuary – this and the dark forest sequence are a treat for any special-effects geek.

More than anything else though this is a wonderfully empowering version of what is usually a damsel-in-distress tale.

Snow White escapes without help, she gets to choose her prince charming instead of having one thrust upon her, and most of all she leads her own army into battle.

All of which make a nice change from all the patriarchal claptrap that the movies (and life in general) usually subject us to.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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