Imagine the oldest fairy tale there is. Have you got it? No, not that one. Have you got it now? Yeah, that’s it. Now ask yourself if it can be made into a movie, again? The brain trust at Relativity Media asked themselves that question and came back with a resounding yes.
Snow White (played by Lily Collins) is the only child of a benevolent king, referred to only as The King (played by Sean Bean) and his late wife who, except for the detail that she died while giving birth to Snow (Collins), is not referred to at all. The King was raising Snow so that she might one day rule over the kingdom, but he was consumed by a beast known to inhabit the woods long before that could happen. With The King gone and Snow not yet ready to take the throne, the duty passed to his wife Clementianna (played by Julia Roberts). With her husband gone, Snow is the only threat to The Queen’s rule, so she keeps her confined to the castle. When speaking to Snow, she claims it’s for safety reasons, but when her subjects inquire about the matter, she makes it appear as though the princess they’ve never seen is in a fragile state as a result of either physical or mental illness. All the while, her excesses have seen a once happy, wealthy kingdom turned into a fiefdom in dire financial straits populated by overtaxed miserable subjects. Her closest advisor, Brighton (played as an obsequious toady by the talented Nathan Lane) informs her that her best hope is to marry a Baron who has made numerous overtures in the past. But while the Baron possesses the wealth she desires, he is older and not particularly attractive. Then, as luck and uncreative storytelling would have it, a prince from a wealthy, faraway kingdom (played by Armie Hammer) is robbed, bound, and gagged by bandits inhabiting the woods, freed by Snow White, who has left the castle without the Queen’s permission, and then brought to the castle by the royal guard so that she might offer an apology and, of course, the King’s vacant seat in the throne.
Now, of course, there have been numerous successful films based on fairy tales. Tangled (based on Rapunzel), Beauty and the Beast, and the original Disney version of Cinderella in a film simply titled Cinderella. While the two older films may not have the same appeal with the youth audience that Tangled does, they have greater appeal with older audiences, not just because of nostalgia, but because they are quality films. So, if you’re a parent and your children have been begging you to buy this film on DVD, make whatever effort you can to convince them to watch the older classic film or the more recent Disney features based on other fairy tales. This one just doesn’t hold up.