Retelling of the Snow White fairy tale starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Charlize Theron (Prometheus) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor). Now playing nationwide.
Since Lord Of The Rings there have been two persistent trends in fantasy cinema:
1. No matter how facile the material, anything involving swords and/or sorcery can get made.
2. All the British actors who missed the LOTR gravy train want in.
Ticking both boxes, Rupert Sanders’ Brothers Grimm reboot features an extraordinary troupe of UK males (Hoskins, Winstone, McShane etc) – as the dwarves! And for an hour, it’s as much fun to watch as they are, bickering and boozing like old muckers.
Stewart is passable as the whey-faced eterni-virgin, as is her English accent; while Hemsworth, as the rugged Huntsman, opts for a Gerard Butler/Sean Connery burr that hides a multitude of sins.
Star of the show, however, is Theron’s wicked stepmother, who seethes with barely contained sexual jealousy – just one of the many surprisingly adult aspects of a film that’s heady with implied violence and sublimated sauce. One scene has Theron bathing in milk that coats her skin like Dulux, and when Stewart gets lost in a blasted forest, it’s a druggie nightmare of rotting birds and scuttling scarab beetles.
It can’t last. No matter how impressive the visuals, two hours is far too long for a story this thin, and genre conventions ultimately snuff out the joys. The dwarves are sidelined in favour of rousing speeches – neither Stewart nor Hemsworth’s forte – and the final battle could have been ripped from a Narnia flick.
Perhaps they’ll redress the balance in the forthcoming sequel. If there are any British thesps left to star in it, that is.