BY JUST ABOUT every measure, Snow White and the Huntsman is awful—which doesn't matter, because it's also so insane that one would have to be an asshole not to wring some pleasure out of it. Snow White begins as a gauzy fairy tale, but by its third act, it has Snow White leading a Normandy-style assault on a beachside castle in a sequence shot like a medieval Saving Private Ryan; meanwhile, having snuck inside said castle by utilizing slapstick, alcoholic dwarves get into shenanigans. And! That dude who played Thor in The Avengers is dreamy, and Charlize Theron writhes as an Evil Queen, and Snow White has an acid trip, and Thor fights a troll, and CG woodland creatures. Snow White is less a film than it is a 14-year-old goth girl's fever dream, magnificent and terrible to behold.
Kristen Stewart—stoner-eyed, slack-jawed, charmless—ostensibly plays Snow White, but the real star is Theron, apparently the only cast member to realize how batshit this thing is. Theron screams and glowers with intense, winking cartoonishness, and she is great. The only other performances of note are those of the dwarves, played by the likes of Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, and Deadwood's Ian McShane; if you have no desire to see a grumpy, battle-hardened, tiny version of Al Swearengen, you and I shall never agree on anything.
First-time director Rupert Sanders doesn't have any control over Snow White's gibberish story, but he does have a hell of an eye; like the world's most expensive piece of airbrushed van art, Snow White's visuals are lunatic beauty. Dead forests the color of ash and mud fester next to hallucinogenic wonderlands full of tortoises covered in moss and mushrooms covered in eyeballs; Theron hams it up while wearing a dress made of bird skulls; creepy little fairies give creepy little smiles; the Mirror Mirror on the Wall morphs into a chromed humanoid who resembles the Oscar Theron won for Monster. I doubt anybody's going to win any Oscars for Snow White, but who cares, because Dwarf Al Swearengen and eyeball mushrooms. We witness these wonders through Kristen Stewart's cold, dead eyes—mirrors, mirrors, to us all.
I don't even know what that last line means. Okay! Snow White and the Huntsman!