Snow White and the Huntsman (aka Charlize, Bella from Twilight and Thor get in a dustup)

The husband and I just returned from watching this year’s second adaptation of the fairy tale involving a wicked stepmother thwarting a stepdaughter’s access to love, royalty, and a lifetime of happiness. No, not Cinderella. The other fairy tale that gives stepmothers a bad rap — the one involving seven little dudes, three drops of blood, a poisonous apple and a magic mirror.

Question: How do two versions of Snow White get released within three months of each other?

In the world of multi-million-dollar movie making, doesn’t word get around in Hollywood that certain projects are in the works? I mean, doesn’t one studio exec assistant share a martini with another studio exec assistant, say, at the Chateau Marmont, then exchange whispers about whatever their bosses are cooking up? It’s the same broken logic that allowed for Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report to both come out in theaters in 2009. You would think Julia Robert’s agent runs into Charlize Theron’s agent at some point and brags about the paranoid schizophrenic evil queen role their client has landed.

Synopsis

To save youthe trouble of watching the year’s second, ickier version of this tale, I will sum up it for you.

The beginning is roughly the same — Bella from Twilight is sad because her mom dies from some kind of illness. Her dad, the king, gets massively depressed and lonely in his big stone castle then goes into a battle fighting a big army of freaky soldiers that shatter into a million obsidian-like shards when they get stabbed. His men find a gorgeous blond previously held captive by the fakey-fake soldiers (which really should have been his first clue — something was a little too easy about all this). Stuart Townsend’s ex is all perfectly dirtied up and tousled-hair-like and looking victimized. The widowed king falls for her in one day and the very next day assembles the whole kingdom at the castle for the craziest shotgun wedding slash ascension to queenship ever heard of.

Little princess Snow White (who by the way is freckled not porcelain-skinned with  brunette hair not raven, and pink lips not deep red — did ANYONE read the original story?) upstages Theron during the wedding walk down the aisle with her purity and cuteness. As Charlize and the king engage in marriage night activity, she starts mumbling about power while he’s in the midst of coital bliss, then, she stabs and kills him.

Instant queen.

Flowers die. It starts to snow. Everything in the kingdom goes dark.

Years later, we find Kristen Stewart imprisoned in the North Tower where she makes a big fire with some kind of flint, her breath, and some twigs. She looks very greasy and dirty.

She watches as a girl with a baby-doll face is brought in as a prisoner.

Baby-doll face gets her youth sucked out of her by the aging queen appearing to have an asthma attack or a bad case of the Mondays.

(Apparently way more effective than Botox).

But somewhere in this mess, the queen’s magic mirror which produces a metallic dude that talks to her who nobody sees (ref: “paranoid schizophrenic”) gives her really bad news, reminding her that the stepdaughter she never wanted is still being kept in the North Tower, only now, she’s of age, and pretty, and perhaps the fairest of them all.

Charlize’s bro, an albino looking guy with a super bad Hamlet type hairdo is dispatched to fetch Hottie Snow White, which he fails at doing because she cuts his face with a nail and escapes.

Here’s where things get interesting.

Immediately, Kristen’s puffy sleeve dress goes off-the-shoulder damsel-style as she disappears into the Dark Forest, which is filled with grossy gross things like maggots and sulfur-spewing bubbles.

Thor eventually shows up at the request of Charlize – to hunt down Little Snow, but instead of a cosmic hammer, he carries…a hatchet. With far less power. And it doesn’t magically fly across the room into his grip by the sheer extension of his open palm. (See: The Avengers, a much better movie.)

Hemsworth winds up wanting to save Snow White instead of bring her back to the queen, but only after a whole village of women with funky tear scars is burned down by the queenie’s meanie brother and the soldiers helping him. (I spent a good 15 minutes wondering about the tears scars till one of the women explained to Snow White they did it to themselves to avoid being beautiful, thereby escaping notice of the highly insecure Queen Ravenna).

Back at the castle by the sea, Ravenna goes through a whole series of CGI Extreme Makeovers ™ from old to young by inhaling more youth. Think North Country vs. Devil’s Advocate.

Snow White and the drunkard Huntsman are strung upside down in the woods, they meet the Dwarfs, all escape the bad people (again) and retreat behind a leaf curtain through a grotto to FairyLand…where the fairies look like miniature grey Avatars.

Despite the healing presence of Princess Snow, which relieves the coughs and aches and pains of her height-challenged companions, she #FAILS to save the life of the 7th dwarf during another mini-battle. A shame, since just the night before he had buried his oversized head in her bosom.

She winds up kissing someone she thinks is William her boyfriend (cousin?) from her childhood days. Oh yeah, he’s the guy who ditched her years ago while the castle was raided and overtaken, but he’s come back to rescue her. Sorry, did I leave that out?

But alas, the apple he gifts her to snack on grows instant moss and his face goes all Scooby Doo mask revealing (gasp) he’s actually the evil queen-witch! Lucky for Twilight-girl, Thor shows up just in time with the real William, and Charlize instantly transforms back into a gagillion ravens who fly back to the castle and drop as an oily messy heap onto her magic room floor. (think: Bond…Goldfinger…environmental disaster-style)

Bella dies a human death and becomes a vampire.

No, wait.

She wakes from her slumber (coma?) atop a really comfy looking bed of animal fur after Hemsworth plants one on her. She gives a Braveheart-like speech, dons chain mail, then expertly wields a sword, rides a horse and leads an army into battle. Never mind the years she spent trapped in the North Tower. Those skills just comes naturally when you’re Snow White, I guess.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but I will tell you, I couldn’t be more impressed with the consistency of Kristen Stewart’s pensive far-off non-expression. It’s a mixture between “I just ate a Sour Patch Kid and I don’t want you to know it” and “I’m not thinking of a single thing at all but I want to appear as if I’m deep in thought.” She applied it liberally in Twilight. And she masters it here. Especially when she’s crowned queen and wields that twig-scepter in the final scene. Even from a distance, as she steps off the throne into an awkward pose, and the camera shot goes wider…and wider…and wider…I can help but wonder, what is she looking at? A cute grip? Craft services? Robert Pattinson visiting her on set? What? What?

There. I just saved you 127 minutes of your life and 11 dollars.

You’re welcome.

**I just Wiki’d the Hemsworths. Thanks to alert reader JM-Farley, I’ve corrected my assertion that it was baby Thor who showed up in this movie. It was actually Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Brother Liam appears in The Hunger Games — also, a better film than this one.

**Forgot to mention. Kristen Stewart never eats in the film. In fact, no one eats. Maybe the Dwarves at one point. I seem to recall one meal portrayed. But other than that, no one consumes anything of substance.

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