As a cold, dark, realistic yet still fantastical re-imagining of Snow White this is pretty impressive. Even with the exceedingly dark tone the visuals are gorgeous from start to finish, and those few scenes that do allow more warmth and color equal Avatar - with just a touch of Princess Mononoke - in their depictions of fantastical natural beauty (though again with that extra bit of realism).
Since the story is for the most part one long quest, that leaves it to the characters to provide the emotional pull, which is where the movie falls short. Though Charlize Theron makes one mean evil queen, Chris Hemsworth's huntsman never feels completely involved in the story, and the bitter aftertaste of Kristen Stewart's virtueless character in Twilight makes it hard to swallow her as the virtuous heroine Snow White (though to be fair her role here is an improvement). The supporting cast of rebels, princes and dwarves serve their purposes dutifully but none really stand out.
From the early trailers the movie showed a surprising similarity to Lord of the Rings and in ways it reaches that lofty pinnacle, just without that emotional pull to the characters. A Fellowship of the Ring, without the sense of fellowship. Still those weaker areas of the film are by summer blockbuster standards pretty respectable, and even if the story and characters didn't leave a lasting impression the imagery certainly did.
3 1/2 to 4 (I'm torn) out of 5 stars