You know summer's begun when the popcorn flicks -- replete with big effects and a need to appeal to both young and old -- start to charge the theaters. Snow White & the Huntsman is a showy fantasy for the masses. It's also one of the first big flicks to come along showcasing Kristen Stewart in a role other than a teen in love with a vampire.
So, one of the most burning Qs floating around this flick is clearly: How'd she do? Can she do a convincing modern, feminist twist on Snow White? Or, as we've seen already in Twilight, is it all about the blank stares and insecure glimpses at her leading man?
My take's below the jump ... but warning -- there are plenty of spoilers!
Unfortunately, yes, you might feel like you're watching Bella in Snow White-turned-Joan of Arc garb throughout the flick. Perhaps it's just that the special effects-packed backdrop of the film is too similar to Twilight, and Snow White is far too similar a character to Bella (headstrong, beautiful but surprisingly tough, etc.) for this to be KStew's breakout role. Either way, there are definitely some cringe-worthy moments for Kristen throughout. (The worst for me was the very end, which I won't spoil for you, but it's just so damn awkward!!)
Still, I highly doubt anyone in the cast will be taking home an Oscar or Golden Globe for their performance in SWATH. But perhaps the flick will get some nods for what could arguably be considered the real star of the film: The dazzling CGI effects. The "Mirror Mirror ... on the wall" is especially cool to watch come to life, as were the pretty, enchanting effects incorporated into a magical forest known as Sanctuary the Dwarves (oh no, they didn't leave out the Dwarves!) take Snow White to.
In other words, there's all sorts of eye candy ... including not one but two handsome leading men! Whether you prefer a charming, goody-two-shoes Prince or a scruffy bad boy, you've got your pick of Prince William (played by Pirates of the Caribbean's Sam Claflin) or the Huntsman (played by The Avengers' Chris Hemsworth). And so does Snow White, of course. Can you guess who she ends up with? (Hint: You might be a bit surprised ... I was, and I definitely appreciated that.)
Also to SWATH's benefit is the mere presence of Charlize Theron, who is magnetic on screen and incredibly believable as the twisted Queen Ravenna, who marries then murders Snow White's pops, then sucks the life (literally) out of all the young beauties around her in order to maintain her youth and looks. Theron has a way of playing a psychotic, vain villain you can surprisingly sympathize with. By weaving a kaleidoscope of emotions into the performance (from insecure to worrisome, domineering to callous), she has us believing it's not her fault she's so evil ... She's just damaged and deranged!
And it's Theron's portrayal of Ravenna as someone who can't break free of her demons makes the takeaway clear: The kind of beauty she covets really is skin deep, whereas what Snow White has -- bravery, strength, an enviable heart, etc. -- is superior ... and truly does offer her the "power and protection" Ravenna seeks. If only because it has such a strong girl power message at the heart of it, SWATH should enjoy some success as first popcorn flicks of the season.
Here's the extended trailer if you missed it or want to check it out again ... (It's so extended that it also serves as an abridged version of the flick, if you don't plan on seeing it!)
Will you be seeing Snow White & the Huntsman? What are you most looking forward to in the film?
Image via SnowWhiteHuntsman/YouTube