Snow White's (played by Lily Collins) father disappears, and her stepmother (Julia Roberts) wants to kill her and take over the kingdom. Snow White escapes into the woods, where she falls in with a gang of dwarves who teach her to fight and meets a handsome prince (Armie Hammer) that she instantly falls in love with. Now that she's a badass warrior princess, Snow White will take her kingdom back, marry her Prince (who is now under a spell that makes him love the Queen) and live happily ever after.
The Disney version of Snow White made her out to be a weak, helpless creature who could do little more than run about the woods screaming and hiding behind dwarves for protection. She is lame. So it seems like the new thing to do is to make Snow White a secret badass - see Mirror, Mirror, the Once Upon a Time TV show, and Snow White and the Huntsman. What gives? I mean, I know that Snow White's reputation is one of general suckitude, but that's how her story goes. This trend for making her tougher and feistier is a little weird, to be honest - and if everyone's doing it, it makes each individual tale feel hackneyed and cliche rather than a hip, edgy spin on a classic.
Fairy tale films are anchored by their villains, and I am sorry to report that Julia Roberts is not a wildly wicked queen. Her delivery is dry, her character rather lifeless - she's not evil, just cranky and spoiled. It's not the same, not by a long shot. As she flounces about in increasingly ridiculous outfits, playing off Rococo and Renaissance fashion, I never once felt that she was threatening. Disappointing - especially since she's obvious the star of the show, with none of the other characters getting as much attention.
Snow White was pretty awful, too. First of all - those eyebrows. Goodness, woman, have you never heard of waxing? The Queen has impeccable brow ridges and clearly has no problem causing Snow White pain - why on earth didn't she get the Royal Beautician to rip some of that hair out??? I never really bought this unibrowed Snow White in a role as an innocent princess, a romantic lead or a royal defender of the realm. She was just weird. I found it quite amusing that the offending brows have clearly been doctored in Photoshop for the movie posters:
The fairy tale is pretty straightforward. The new elements don't change the story, just provide visual variation in the telling. Like, the Mirror that the Queen consults is a younger version of herself kept in a pocket dimension, or something. That was weird. The Prince is contracted to marry the Queen because she needs his money and he needs her power - that's good - but then they toss in this odd "puppy love" spell that literally makes the Prince act like a dog. That's strange and unnecessary. Then, as the credits role, this otherwise European film suddenly launches into a Bollywood number. It was so confusing.
This wasn't that great, which makes me cringe, because I'm going to hate myself if I have to admit that I like the Kristin Stewart take on Snow White better.