IF Mirror Mirror was a sweet candy-canded sugar fest, Snow White And The Huntsman is it's dark and brooding cousin.
Here the Snow White myth has been roused, rejuvenated and reinvented into a dark and gothic fueled tale more Brothers Grimm than Disney.
At the hands of English director Rupert Sanders Snow White is a visual extravaganza with effects that are simply stunning.
Knights shatter into thousands of pieces, the Dark Forest is a carpet of dead birds, dark shadows and screeching demons while the fairy garden is a moss covered paradise where flowers erupt into butterflies and fairies emerge from the breasts of birds.
There almost hints of Namoi Wolf's seminal feminist work, The Beauty Myth, throughout the film particularly in Charlize Theron's portrayal of Ravenna, the evil queen who banishes her stepdaughter and later plans to eat her heart.
But it is not pure evilness that drives her, but rather fear.
Fear of aging and losing her beauty which has been her power and means of survival in a world dominated by men.
Theron is magnificent as the evil queen who is ball of cold fury, hell bent on a warped mission with complete disregard for those that get in her way.
Theron gives a brilliantly layered performance that is mad and manipulative but infused with almost a sense of child-like vulnerability.
It's absorbingly creepy, coldly calculated and boldly brilliant.
While Theron owns each scene Kristen Stewart's Snow White gives a far more passive performance.
It's hard to tell if it is the script itself or her performance that lets her down but she doesn't quite have the chops to carry off the feisty yet feminine hero with her sulky demeanor far too reminiscent of her Twilight days.
While the film is stunning and the effects breathtaking, where it crumbles is in its lack of good old-fashioned storytelling.
The plot is a little limp and the characters a little underdeveloped.
But despite its flaws, the film's strong visual impact pulls it over the line and by sequel bait dangling in the ending it's likely we haven't seen the last of Snow White yet.
Snow White And The Huntsman
- Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
- Director: Rupert Sanders
- Rated: M
- Verdict: Three out of four stars