Like all things crafted by wicked witches, this too doesn’t go according to plan.
The one adjective that kept popping into my head as the film played out in front of me was “serviceable”. The film does nothing more than pay adequate service to the story of Snow White: we have a fair princess, a wicked queen, a handsome prince, and seven dwarves who for some reason have been cast as a band of merry thieves. The ingredients are all there, but the result is decidedly less than savory. Check, please!
The main problem is that the film is too cheeky for its own good. It’s too camp and too showy for no apparent reason. For example, instead of seeing the Evil Queen spend her time plotting the murder of Snow White, she is shown as a vain fool who spends her days getting facials with parrot poop. Wonk wonk.
I guess it’s supposed to be funny. I guess we’re supposed to not find the Evil Queen especially terrifying. I guess the execution of the film was conceived in one giant cesspool of “I guess”.
And then there is the reframing of the story: gone is the original tale of two women whose rivalry is invariably one-sided. Now we have a love triangle where an aging queen latches on to the handsome prince purely for the purpose of cloaking her own emotional insecurities. The prince is, of course, distracted by Snow White’s charms and the fair princess is herself . . . well, fairly lost. The final nail in the film’s coffin is its pathetically weak reimagining of the role of Snow White. She is conceived with such little agency that ultimately she becomes purely incidental to her own story.
Really, writers? That’s the best you could do? Have you even read the source material?
The actors do their best with what they are given, especially Roberts who make vainglorious effort to play the Evil Queen in a way we’ve never seen her before. The tragedy is that the performance could have worked in a better film with stronger characterizations. Unfortunately for Roberts, she’s reduced to playing camp in what feels like an overwrought school play, replete with cheesy sets, costumes, et al.
Will the film be a hit? I have no idea. All I know is that it made me long for the original Disney classic from 1937. That is a story worth telling.