The movie opens with a short narration by Roberts, explaining how she was married to the King of a vast kingdom, played by Sean Bean. Then one day the King enters the forest and doesn’t ever return, leaving the poor Queen to play stepmother to the Princess, and manage the kingdom and its subjects. But the princess, played by Lily Collins, has been made prisoner till she turns 18, at which time she escapes from the clutches of the Queen and finds a safe haven in the forest. Soon the Queen’s adviser, played rather amusingly by Nathan Lane, informs her that the kingdom is in deep financial crisis.
The movie shifts through an uncomfortable phase where Prince Charming stumbles into the kingdom, and the Queen plots to marry him, so as to use his riches to save the kingdom from financial ruin. The only problem is that she doesn’t even have the money to fund the royal ball, where she plans for them to fall in love.
Meanwhile Prince Charming, played by Armie Hammer has already crossed paths with Snow White in the forest. However, it isn’t the Prince but Snow who has been given a stronger character in the movie. So as to force the Prince to marry her, the Queen manages to slip him a love potion. What follows is an amusing half hour of “puppy” love, rectified only by Snow White and her band of rebellious dwarfs, thus saving the Prince.
Collins does a beautiful job as Snow White. But, it is Roberts who steals the show with her understated acting skills. What sets the movie apart from the original, is the fact that in this version, the evil queen never asks the question - “Whose the fairest of them all?”. But, her obsession with aging and fading beauty are expressed clearly in the movie. In spite of all the plus points in the movie, it still falls a bit flat in the chemistry and dialogue department. Especially the chemistry between the Queen and Snow White, or the Queen and the Prince fails to impress.
All in all, even though the visual appeal of the movie speaks volumes, the dialogues and basic chemistry leave a lot to be desired. Where the movie could have been crackling and explosive, it falls into the same repetitive pattern of the fairy tale it was adapted from.