'Snow White and the Huntsman': What the Critics are Saying

Snow White and the Huntsman

Opens: June 1

On June 1, Universal serves up Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart, who in this retelling becomes a woman warrior. The studio is determined to make the film accessible to males as well as females, but Hollywood has had a hard time turning fairy tales into four-quadrant hits, as evidenced by the poor performances of Red Riding Hood and Mirror Mirror.

THR's Todd McCarthy praises the bold remake's "striking design elements," but believes the film is undercut by "a draggy midsection and undeveloped characters."

With a buzzworthy cast including Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, the fairy tale reimagination of Snow White and the Huntsman recieved mixed reviews from Hollywood critics. The film earned a lukewarm 65 percent fresh rating among top critics on RottenTomatoes.com and scored only 57 percent on Metacritic.

Reviewers praised the film's stunning visuals and lavish costumes, as well as the performances of the two leading ladies, but many felt that the storyline fell flat. One thing the critics did agree on: The Rupert Sanders-directed film reigns far supreme to Tarsem Singh's family-friendly Mirror Mirror.

Read below for a sampling of Snow White and the Huntsman reviews.

PHOTOS: Snow White and the Huntsman Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says, "A bold rethinking of a familiar old story and striking design elements are undercut by a draggy midsection and undeveloped characters in Snow White and the Huntsman. After the campy family farce of Mirror, Mirror, this second revisionist take of the year on the 19th century fairy tale strides out deadly serious and in full armor, not to mention with more costume changes for Charlize Theron than a Lady Gaga concert. Designed to appeal to teen and young-adult girls and guys, this muscular PG-13 action adventure conspicuously lacks romance but should get a good box-office ride on the shoulders of stars Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gives the film a respectable three-and-a-half (out of four) star review, writing: "It falters in its storytelling, because Snow White must be entirely good, the Queen must be entirely bad, and there's no room for nuance. The end is therefore predetermined. But, oh, what a ride."

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Time Magazine's Mary Pols praises the reimagined tale, saying: "The invigorating Snow White and the Huntsman actually breathes new life into an old story."

She also admires the over the top set, writing: "There are moments when you’re lost in the beauty of the scenery and/or the cast—oh that Welsh coast, those English moors, that Hemsworth swagger—and then suddenly there’s some shock that resets perceptions. Rare among the recent fairy tale adaptions (from Mirror Mirror to the dreadful Red Riding Hood)."

A.O. Scott of the New York Times marvels at the films imagery: "In turn, the roughness of those characters, along with the scratchy earth tones of Greig Fraser’s cinematography, make possible episodes of enchantment that feel fresh even to eyes that have seen everything under the digital sun. A terrifying slog through the dark forest, a serene sojourn in the garden of the fairies, a visit to an encampment of women and children — each of these scenes casts its own specific and effective spell"

Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman applaud's the Dior spokesmodel's antagonist portrayal, writing: "The best thing in the movie by far is Charlize Theron's performance as the scheming, snarling Queen Ravenna, who is under an empowering spell that allows her to murder at will, heal her own wounds, and remain eternally youthful in face and body — that is, as long as there is no ''fairer blood'' around, in which case the spell will be broken."

However, he agrees that the film contains some plot holes. "Snow White's romantic inclinations remain oddly vague throughout," he said, referencing a hint of a love triangle between Snow White, the Huntsman and "prince" William, played by Sam Claflin.

Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey believes that the film needs more chemistry between Stewart and Helmsworth's characters, writing: "What this revisionist fairy tale does not give us is a passionate love — its kisses are as chaste as the snow is white."

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Ty Burr of the Boston Globe teeteers on his opinion of the film, saying: "Parts of the film — the second 'Snow White' revamp this year and easily the superior of 'Mirror Mirror' — are very nearly wonderful. Others are of a surpassing silliness. They come at you willy-nilly, so if you don’t like one bit, just wait a while. A sequence in an enchanted faerie glade perches delightfully on the edge of camp, with eerie pixies crossing paths with live-action Disney bunnies. Later, when a medieval army pulls up in front of a majestic seacoast castle, some of us will be waiting in vain for the police cars from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' to appear."

"After a while, you just sit back and let the thing wash over you, marveling and giggling as necessary," Burr adds. "Is the movie entertaining? In its schizophrenic fashion, yes."