Now here is a fairy tale that is indeed being retold and that too in not just a different 'avtar' but with a far darker tone to it. This is what makes 'Snow White and the Huntsman' interesting because it doesn't even attempt to bring on a feel-good world but instead keeps its characters in a danger-zone for most part of it.
Charlize Theron is convincing as the evil queen who wants to be ever-so-young and the most beautiful of them all. She keeps the best of the lot imprisoned and then sucks out their lives, well literally so, as she steals their youth. In this wrongful endeavour of hers, she is well supported by her brother who is pretty much a partner-in-crime and also acts as her henchman. While together they are successful in keeping the rightful princess (Kristen Stewart) as a hostage, they unleash a vagabond (Chris Hemsworth) when she manages to escape. However with this very vagabond falling for Snow White, there is a twist in the tale.
The plot is set right at the very beginning when Charlize's intentions are made clear. In fact her very interaction with a mirror that takes shape of a molten form and shows her the 'real truth', it becomes quite apparent that 'Snow White and the Huntsman' doesn't have any intentions to get into the Walt Disney mode. If at there are any parallels to be drawn, it would be with the world created in 'Lord of the Rings' which had a similar texture and colour tone to it. Nevertheless, the similarities just end with the visuals as the story of Snow White is kept basic.
This means that debutant director Rupert Sanders builds a good relationship between Kristen and Chris though one does feel that the chemistry between them isn't explored to the fullest. Yes, one can see a special something in the offering here but since the story is more about the conflict between the queen and the princess, the Huntsman angle is kept in the background. Now that's a pity because the star of films like 'Thor' and 'The Avengers' definitely deserved better.
However the story stays on to be told from Kristen's point of view which means she is the one who enjoys maximum screen time here. Thankfully, she is a little more expressive than before when compared to her 'Twilight' series, hence giving her critics a lesser chance to pull out their daggers all over again. Still, one has to admit that yet again, despite an author backed role, Kristen doesn't quite take full advantage of the platform provided to her.
In comparison, Sanders still earns some brownie points for himself as he manages to strike a fine balance between sticking to the core story and still bringing in dark elements without making the drama seem overtly grim. He follows a formulaic approach and while this means that the film follows a predictable route, it doesn't make you overtly restless for a larger duration. Of course there is a portion in the middle of the film where you do get impatient. The sequences surrounding the seven dwarves could have been endearing as well as funny but none of that happens. Worse, they drag the film for a good duration, hence resulting in Sanders losing his grip here. Even the dialogues are common place and you neither empathise with the characters nor root for them to come out of the danger.
Also, the battle sequence towards the end doesn't quite have an edge of the seat feel to it while the climactic sequence when the Queen and the princess come face to face with each other till the story's culmination could have been far more impacting. Here, it seems rather rushed.
All in all, while the visuals in 'Snow White and the Huntsman' are indeed arresting enough to empathise with the pathos of the central character here, it is the unevenness in the narrative that pegs the movie down at a few places, especially in the middle portions.