Grimm’s Snow White (2012) – Review

2 Stars


Grimm’s Snow White is a loose adaptation of the folklore collected by the Brothers Grimm. The Asylum’s version of the story finds Snow White summoned to the castle by her stepmother Queen Gwendolyn after her father was killed by a giant lizard (for real). After doing away with the King, the evil Queen now wants to get rid of Snow, and become the fairest of them all. She orders her to be killed, but Snow escapes into the enchanted forest with the aid of some elves (yes, not dwarfs). In a real estate scheme the Queen plans to marry Prince Alexander and take over his part of the enchanted forest (there’s a magic green fire that burns there that she’s after), but the Prince has already fallen for Snow White. The Queen claims Snow is dead, but the Prince doesn’t give up hope in finding her. Unfortunately the Queen is hellbent on getting that prime enchanted forest property (gotta have her green fire), and tries to force the Prince into marriage. Now Snow must rally her elven friends to join her battle against the evil Queen, take back her love and generally save the day.

There are some immediately noticeable differences from this version of Snow White and most others. The first is that Snow looks like Alice, as in Alice in Wonderland. She has blonde hair, not black as Snow White should, and wears a blue dress with white down the front. It’s odd to watch as it’s impossible to get Alice out of your mind. Beyond that there are creatures in this, such as a giant lizard and some dog-like things (no doubt these are the same, albeit slightly modified, CGI models used in another Asylum flick, Almighty Thor – they looked like crap in that movie too). The elves are subbed in for dwarfs, not that I really minded that, but the absence of the “seven” puts us all the further from the story that we all know.

The CGI is laughably bad and completely unnecessary. It’s unfortunate they felt the need to try and spice this up with it. The magic effects are ok, and they should have invested more in those and far less in the creatures. Asylum alumni Rachel Goldenberg’s direction is subdued with some nice touches here and there. Eliza Bennett is the latest actor to be poached from larger films by the Asylum. Her previous work includes Nanny McPhee, The Contractor and Inkheart. Aside from having the wrong look for the part she’s a very strong actress and at times rises above the material. Jane March does a fine job as the evil Queen, but really isn’t given much more to do than bark orders and fain emotion for trickery. Jamie Thomas King at least looks his part as the Prince, although why the good prince is always such a weak character in these stories I’ll never understand. They’re always portrayed as goody-goodies.

Naomi Selfman’s script is too dogged down with time wasting scenes in the first half, and not enough action in the last. There’s also no sense of wonderment, awe or discovery with the enchanted forest. It’s not even all that enchanted, aside from the magic green fire that fell from the sky, a handful of elves and a giant lizard. Hell the fire burns on some mountain top, it’s not even in the damn forest. We’re just not given anything to truly care about or excite us in this world.

The only standout performance here is Asylum composer Chris Ridenhour’s score which accents some of the sequences so well it makes Goldenberg’s direction look better than it is. This is something I’d think about purchasing if ever made available (which won’t happen). It’s better than most action-epic canned music for film projects on sale around the Internet.

Get rid of the CGI beasts and give the characters something to do and Grimm’s Snow White could have been a pretty good movie, instead it’s a mediocre walk through some horse trails.

Director: Rachel Goldenberg
Stars: Eliza Bennett, Jane March, Jamie Thomas King

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