Director Rupert Sander's take on the Brothers Grimm classic is no kiddie fare. It's a violent version that is well acted and entertaining.
The film opens with the Queen telling of the birth of her beloved daughter Snow White. She dies a few years later leaving a grieving King to care for their young daughter. Distraught over his wife's death, the King leads his men into an unwise battle against black knights who disintegrate when their armor is pierced by swords. The King defeats them and saves their prisoner, a beautiful woman named Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who has designs on the King and his Kingdom.
Enchanted by the ravishing woman, he unfortunately marries her the next day. Ravenna kills him on their wedding night and orders her weaselly brother (Sam Spruel) to lock Snow White in the castle tower for eternity. She then uses her powerful evil to wreak havoc on everything around her.
The film gives us a reason for Ravenna's cruelty, a spell of immortality was cast on her as a child. In order to keep her youth and looks she steals both from Village girls who are brought to her chambers by her brother ( he has all kinds of perks as the brother of the Queen). She literally sucks the youth out of them and drops their listless bodies to the ground when she's finished with them.
Years pass and Snow White has developed into a beauty. Now when Ravenna consults her mirror to ask who is the fairest-of-them-all, she's informed that Snow White has taken over the top spot. Snow White (played by Twilight star Kristen Stewart) had been locked away for years after all - she's dirty, pale and very thin, but her pureness of heart and natural loveliness makes her the fairest.
Ravenna orders that Snow White be brought to her so she can pluck out her heart, but she escapes through the sewer system -- and the chase is on. The Queen has her brother, her henchman and a drunken huntsmen ( played by Chris Hemsworth - Thor - who shows some real emotion and proves that he's more than just good looks and brawn) go into the Dark Forest to track her down.
Snow White encounters trees that come alive, quick sand, rock formations that turn into giant trolls and the Dwarfs - Ian McShane, Eddie Marsden and Bob Hoskins are some of the notable actors who are magically transformed into little people, but this time around they're not just a bunch of good natured guys. However, Snow White finds that she's not alone in her quest, the huntsman joins her to fight the Queen's evil and help save the girl he's grown to care for.
Charlize Theron is great in a difficult role. She gives a truly despicable character some vulnerability. Stewart also does a good job - she starts out timid and ends up giving a rousing speech to enlist a revolt that she leads against the Queen.
The film is filled with beauty, ugliness, magical characters, extraordinary costumes and exciting action - everything a reworked, adult fairy tale should be.