I am sure that screenwriters Marc Klein and Jason Keller, and director Tarsem Singh had noble intentions and high hopes when first attempting to deconstruct the fairy tale of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, and by the looks of it, they had a fun time doing it, but no matter how visually stunning Singh makes it (and visually stunning it most certainly is) and no matter how much scenery Julia Roberts giddily devours as the Evil Queen of fable (and devour it she most certainly does) and no matter how drop dead gorgeous both Lily Collins and Armie Hammer may be in their roles as Miss White and Mr. Charming respectively (and drop dead gorgeous they both most certainly are) and no matter how quirky and fun and filled with bravado those seven ubiquitous dwarfs may happen to be (and quirky, fun and full of bravado they most certainly are) the films still falls quite flat - and what a true disappointment that most certainly is.
Now granted, of the two Snow White adaptations that happen to be coming out this Spring (the other, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, being sold as a darker, meaner, more dangerous breed of Snow White), this has always seemed to be the inevitably less intriguing one of the so-called bunch, but still one has, or had, high (or at least middling) hopes anyway. Now most of these aforementioned medium-sized hopes have been predicated on the already-known ability of Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall, Immortals) to make his films fly with a sinister physical beauty - and fly the film most certainly does. Well, at least in its art direction and set decoration it flies. Otherwise, save for a few quippy bon mots of dialogue sprinkled in here and there, the film ends up disappointing, and just falls flat on its oh so pretty buttocks - and most oft than not, at times when it should be soaring quite high, along with its oh so pretty visuals. Ah well, what else could one expect from a film that instilled such middling hopes in a person?
Actually the film isn't as bad as those last few statements make it sound. It does indeed have its fun times. Julia Roberts, who receives top billing over the mostly unknown Ms. Collins (and in reality this is as much the Evil Queen's show as it is Snow White's), does a surprisingly fine job as the sometimes quite passive aggressive, sometimes just downright aggressive, and sometimes just a royal bitch, wicked stepmother-cum-despotic queen. She is perhaps still a bit too perky for the role, but then again, this is the perkier of the battling Snow Whites at this year's box office wars, so I suppose it fits in that way of thinking. The beautiful Lily Collins, who with her skin the colour of snow and hair like the blackest of nights, seems to be born to play such a role, does a reasonably admirable job with the legendary character - reasonably. The actress, who incidentally is the daughter of a certain cherub-looking English drummer-boy, ends up counting on her cuteness more than her acting abilities to get her through, and I suppose it does just that for what that is worth. The buff, handsome Mr. Hammer, just like Collins, is seemingly built to play the role of Prince Charming (actually Prince Alcott) and does so with a hunky, Cary Grant-esque sort of manner, which again I suppose works here. In the end though, the film lacks anything special, and therefore lacks the ability to heighten the imagination of the original Grimm's fairy tale. Still fun for fun's sake - and I suppose that is a good thing.