BY MELISSA GOLLOB
Daily Arts Writer
Published March 15, 2002
The Brothers Grimm's classic tale of Snow White comes to life, revealing more than ever before. "Snow White: The Fairest of them All" expands on all the characters and answers questions about the characters' motives for behaving as they do. The movie incorporates more from the original tale than most other versions.
More like this
The story begins with the birth of Snow White (Kristen Kreuk, "Smallville") and her mother's sudden death. Her father journeys through a winter storm in order to find food for his baby. He meets a creature that grants him three wishes for saving his life. Suddenly, Snow White's father finds himself the king in charge of a kingdom. The creature recruits an ugly woman to be queen to fulfill his obligations to Snow White's father. Because she is powerful, the woman decorates her enormous garden with and a dwarf named Sunday (Michael J. Anderson, "Twin Peaks") and gnomes she froze to be her friends. She takes these to the kingdom and Snow White befriends them. To gain favor in his heart, she rains pieces of the magic mirror down on the king and one sliver falls in his eye. The sliver blinds him from seeing her true nature.
Then time fast-forwards 16 years when a prince arrives to court the princess Snow White. The queen (Miranda Richardson, "The Crying Game") increasingly becomes more jealous of her. She decides to take the prince for herself and attempts to kill Snow White. Her henchman fails and she plots to kill Snow White herself. In the end, Snow White and the prince live happily ever after and the queen gets what she deserves in the end.
The most notable difference from any other version of Snow White is that the seven dwarves are named for the days of the week and have their own color of the rainbow. The rainbow is important for the integration of the dwarves into the plot but unnecessary for the overall quality of the story. They attempt to provide comic relief but the grumpy dwarf Wednesday fails to deliver an emotional performance typical of the character. His sarcasm is over the top and abrupt, which interferes with the flow of dialogue.
The movie tries too hard to develop the characters enough so that they each learn their lesson. With a limited time frame, this is impossible, and the plot suffers. The story moves so that Snow White's father learns to open his eyes, Snow White becomes a woman and the queen realizes the true meaning of beauty. Each moment is lackluster because of the lack of development in the rush to reach the end.
A positive aspect of "Snow White" is the special effects. The elaborate mirror room created by the queen shows who is the fairest of them all. The fairest one pops out of the mirrors in the room and announces that she is the fairest. The handheld magic mirror also allows the queen to alter her appearance by stepping in and out of it. The queen's change is flawless and creates the only dramatic scene in the movie.