Fairy tales evolve … and Snow White's story is no exception. Just this year Hollywood has given us two new takes on the erstwhile princess and her vain stepmother. The second of these, Snow White and the Huntsman, is a clever and entertaining modern take on the themes at the (still-beating) heart of this medieval fable.

Making his feature-length film debut, director Rupert Sanders has created a fantasy world that evokes the dreamy realism of Sofia Coppola or Terrence Malick. Diffused lighting, shifting focus, and handheld camera work were all used to good effect, making this adventure movie, in moments, beautiful.

Beauty—its power, the quest for it, and also our definition of it—is the thematic axis on which Snow White's story turns. Here Snow's mother pricks her finger on an impressive red rose that is bravely blooming in the middle of winter. As blood drips from her hand she wishes for a beautiful daughter. She wishes upon her child the requisite black hair, ruby lips, and pale skin, but (going beyond appearances) wishes as well for her to receive the strength and courage of that red rose. Her wishes come true. As Snow White is born and grows into a girl, she is adored by all for her love and compassion. She is a strong source of light and life, a blessing to all.

Evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) also bears the legacy of her mother's ideas about beauty. In a flashback Ravenna's family and village are sacked. We see her desperate mother casting a fateful spell on the young girl that will give her the power to retain her youthful bloom of beauty. "Your beauty is all that can save you," she whispers to the terrified child. By the time we meet the queen (perhaps hundreds of years later) we see that her ...

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Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, brief sensuality)
Directed By
Rupert Sanders
Run Time
2 hours 7 minutes
Cast
Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin
Theatre Release
June 01, 2012 by Universal Pictures
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