CONTAINS SPOILERS AND BEMUSEMENT
It is a bit of a surprise to find that, well into the shiny and sophisticated 21st century future, Hollywood is now producing live-action remakes of old Disney cartoons. Oh, I know that it's all based on an old fairytale from the Brothers Grimm, but the Disney is probably its best known incarnation. Incredibly, this is 2012's second stab at a Snow White movie; for various reasons I didn't get to see Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror, a film I'd expect to be more visually striking given the director's other impeccably composed images in The Fall and The Cell. But what's even more surprising about this one is it's not a film for children - the BBFC have given it a 12A for "moderate violence and threat" which is probably appropriate given the occasionally graphic nature of the supernatural horrors but are there really that many teens and adults wanting to see a Snow White movie?
Well, possibly: it does have Kristen Stewart in the lead role. Snow White And The Huntsman has Snow White locked up in the castle dungeons by her wicked stepmother Ravenna (Charlize Theron, frankly the best thing in the movie) until the day she comes of age, when she escapes into the Dark Forest and an unnamed Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth doing a Scottish accent for no immediately obvious reason) is tasked with retrieving her. Deep in the Dark Forest, they encounter the Seven Dwarfs as played by top British character thesps including Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins and Ian McShane, but tragedy looms before they can reach the safety of Duke Hammond's castle....
It touches most of the familiar points of the tale: the Magic Mirror, the dashing Prince Charming figure (William, Snow White's childhood sweetheart), the trees apparently coming to life in the Dark Forest, the poisoned apple, the dwarfs, the true love's kiss....but you're sitting there, watching what is in essence a well-mounted and pointlessly lavish pantomime for kids, with famous actors apparently CGId onto smaller performers, wondering precisely who this thing is aimed at. Surely even the Twilighters aren't going to be that excited about it just because of the sulky Kristen Stewart who is as damp as ever - you could again wring her out like a bath sponge - and anyone over twelve won't be thrilled about the fey Fairy Grotto stuff. Much more fun is to be had from the spectacular villainy of Charlize Theron, the gothic production design and the effects.
It also sets up a love triangle between Snow White, the Huntsman and William but conspicuously doesn't resolve it, presumably so they've some emotional meat for a sequel (according to the IMDb, it's in development). But is there really anywhere else it can go? As a standalone one-off movie I enjoyed it enough, I suppose (it probably didn't help that I watched it shortly after the astonishing Prometheus, also with Charlize Theron), but there doesn't seem to be much scope for a franchise. It's not great, but it's entertaining and watchable enough, for all that's wrong with it.