“Snow White & The Huntsman” is a blandly forgettable attempt to apply some “Lord of the Rings” grit to the classic fairy tale. The update re-imagines Snow White (Kristen Stewart) as a tough princess who can fight for herself. It’s nice to see the “Twilight” actress shed her increasingly awkward public persona for a strong character like this and it’s a reminder that freed from the shackles of her terrible franchise, she can actually be quite effective. Charlize Theron (pitched so perfectly in last year’s “Young Adult”) goes a bit over-the-top as the evil Queen Ravenna and is saddled with a half dozen scenes of essentially evil busywork. Chris Hemsworth as The (nameless) Huntsman is scrubbed of his “Thor” charm and isn’t given much to do beyond serving as a romantic foil for Snow White. This leaves the Prince’s (Sam Claflin) character as kind of redundant.
I’d expected the film to perhaps provide a twist where he’s working to double-cross our heroine but nope, he’s also just lining up to be with her because of some time they spent together as kids. The seven dwarves played by great British character actors (Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, etc.) are also basically a waste. If this wasn’t adapting a tale that implied they had to be there, they probably wouldn’t be. Directed by commercial helmer Rupert Sanders who wowed me last year at Comic-con with a promo reel, its at least pretty to look at. But the screenplay by newcomer Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”) and Hossein Amini (“Drive”) seems to be the product of rewrites and lacks a singular vision. The film is neither a success, nor a disaster, but like our titular heroine, it just kind of lays there.