The tale of Snow White is a familiar one. The brothers Grimm published their version in 1812, and that has served as the definitive version ever since. The most familiar adaptation may be Disney’s 1937 animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. That version gave the dwarfs their familiar names (i.e. Doc, Sneezy, Dopey, Happy, etc). The story has been adapted for stage and screen many times over the years. 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman provides a new take on the story, centering primarily on Snow White’s escape from the Evil Queen, and adding a deepened relationship with the huntsman sent to kill her. While the film gets off to a decent start with some fun twists to the personality of the Evil Queen, it grinds to a halt as Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) painstakingly make their way through the forest to find help. Kristen Stewart sadly lacks the charm needed to make Snow White a character worth rooting for.
This version of the tale takes some liberties with the familiar story, to both good and bad effect. Unfortunately the bad outweighs the good. When Snow White is a young child her mother dies. Her grief-stricken father, King Magnus (Noah Huntley), meets the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) during a battle. He is so taken with her he marries her the very next day. The king then dies and the power-hungry Ravenna quickly takes over the kingdom. Young Snow White attempts to flee, but is captured and locked away in a tower. The new queen is so evil, all the trees and flowers in the kingdom die because of her mere presence. The people of the kingdom live in oppression and constant fear of the queen’s wrath. Ravenna is not only an evil ruler, but she is a man-hating mad woman. It’s an interesting twist to the queen’s character. The only man she can tolerate in her life is her quivering brother, Finn (Sam Spruell), who does her every bidding.
Many years pass with the kingdom in great despair under Queen Ravenna’s rule. Then one day she asks the magic mirror who the fairest of them all is. For the first time the mirror replies that it is not her, but Snow White, who has recently come of age. The queen is, of course, incensed by the suggestion that she is not as beautiful as she thinks. She also learns that if she eats Snow White’s heart she will have eternal youth and beauty. Before the queen can kill her, Snow White manages to escape and flee into the forest. The queen hires the Huntsman, who is an alcoholic widower, to bring her back. Just as in the original story, the Huntsman has a change of heart about bringing Snow White to her death. The two embark on a journey to the castle of Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan), whose son William (Sam Claflin) was Snow White’s childhood friend.