‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ creates a dark fantasy journey

Charlize Theron in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman.’ Rated PG-13, 127 min. Universal Pictures, 2012.

While the close timing of their debuts and common inspiration will draw inevitable comparisons, the well-executed – and very dark – action/fantasy film “Snow White and the Huntsman” is not even in the same league as the garish and bizarre comedy “Mirror Mirror,” which opened mere months ago.

This “Snow White” treatment benefits greatly from having a truly terrifying evil queen, played with a bloodthirsty snarl by Charlize Theron.

Kristen Stewart, as the titular heroine, fights hard to overcome her usual one-note performance, and shows a hint of new depth. Chris Hemsworth brings a nice mixture of ego and sorrow as the huntsman. Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins are pleasant surprises as two of the dwarves.

The movie lets the epic adventure unfold gradually, following the characters through breath-taking scenery as their relationships grow and change. The sweeping score is also quite effective at building both the emotional drama and the excitement of the action sequences.

The visual effects are creative and thrilling, and the performances are strong enough to hold it all together. 

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