So far, I have successfully avoided the entire Twilight series, and so did not have any preconceptions about this film, which is obviously trying to ride on the popularity of the teen vampire films and their goddess Kristen Stewart. Because I had no expectations, I was somewhat surprised to find myself actually enjoying this.
Although this adaptation diverges at times from Snow White as written by the Brothers Grimm, it is considerably more faithful than the Disney version, and also has an appropriate fairy tale feel. The British locations and beautiful, subdued cinematography certainly make for a good-looking film. The sets and costumes by the always brilliant Colleen Atwood have much to add to the atmosphere. The only thing marring the visuals are some occasional badly-done CGI shots.
Although this decision raised the ire of the Little People of America, full-sized actors were cast as the seven dwarves. I was surprised to see Nick Frost, whom no one would describe as a small man, playing a dwarf. The dwarves are the true highlight of the film, especially Bob Hoskins as their blind seer. Most praise has been given to Charlize Theron’s performance the the wicked and powerful queen obsessed with youth. She is indeed creepy, and her role reflects the current obsession with anti-aging cosmetics, but she does tend to go a bit over the top at times with her royal temper tantrums.
The weak link here is ironically the biggest box office draw of the film. Kristen Stewart is not particularly bad as Snow White, but she doesn’t bring a whole lot of life to the role. And I was never sure if she was actually trying to do a British accent or not. If she was, she didn’t try very hard.
Although the direction was fine, I continued to be surprised, and a bit disappointed, that big movies with budgets of $100 million or more like this and TRON: Legacy are given to directors with no previous credits to their name. This is probably done because studio executives believe they are easier to control. Meanwhile, master filmmaker such as Terry Gilliam can’t raise the money to get a project off the ground.