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Snow White - The Fairest of Them All

3.6 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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(May 21, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kristin Kreuk, Miranda Richardson. An enchanting live-action rendition of the classic tale featuring dazzling special effects and a clever new twist. 2002/color/90 min/G/fullscreen.

Don't expect to plunk your 4-year-old in front of Hallmark's Snow White and have her come away whistling "Heigh Ho"--it's not that kind of movie. Substitute a kingdom of woeful and broody characters (the fairest-of-them-all contenders and their king, plus a green and warty undead guy) for Sleepy, Sneezy, and company, and the picture, a bleak one, becomes clearer. Call it Snow White noir, but don't call it dull. The actors, including Miranda Richardson and Tom Irwin, suck you into their saga of lust and greed by making despair their specialty, and the visuals crackle with a creepy gorgeousness. Writer-director Caroline Thompson sheared this Brothers Grimm adaptation into shape using the same jagged-edged prettiness she brought to the script for Edward Scissorhands; a similar audience--one that can handle a little less light in its darkness--should stick around for Snow White. -Tammy La Gorce

Special Features

  • A Look Behind The Scenes
  • Kristin Kreuk's Neutrogena Commercial

Product Details

  • Actors: Miranda Richardson, Tom Irwin, Vera Farmiga, Kristin Kreuk, Clancy Brown
  • Directors: Caroline Thompson
  • Writers: Caroline Thompson, Jacob Grimm, Julie Hickson, Wilhelm Grimm
  • Producers: Caroline Thompson, Mary Anne Waterhouse, Matthew O'Connor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000640T0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,158 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Snow White - The Fairest of Them All" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
It's not your traditional version of the Grimm's famous story, but this effort by Hallmark Entertainment (distributed by Disney) certainly has it's merits!
Caroline Thompson's script tells the traditional story of the princess with "skin as white as snow" and the jealous stepmother who wishes her stepdaughter dead. But Thompson decides to elaborate the story with several touches of her own. For instance, Snow White's father, John (played by Tom Irwin), releases a "jinn" or "genie" type creature (Clancy Brown) from a frozen prison in the ice. To show his thanks, the creature grants John three wishes: 1) milk for his infant daughter, 2) a kingdom, and 3) a queen. But the candidate chosen to sit at King John's side, is none other than the creature's hideous sister, Elsbeth (Miranda Richardsn). As an "act of kindness" to his sister, he transforms her blemished skin to worldly beauty. But King John's heart still lies with his dead wife, Josephine (Vera Farmiga). So, Elspeth's first spell of manipulation is cast.
Another added plot twist borrows from another Grimm's story, "Snow White and Rose Red". Queen Elsbeth lets her raging hormones get the best of her when Prince Alfred (Tyron Leitso) spurns her lusty advances. For revenge, Elsbeth turns the prince into a bear, who then seeks out Snow White to help break the spell.
In a psychological twist, Esbeth disguises herself as Josephine, Snow White's mother, when she delivers the poisoned apple. Quite clever.
Hallmark Entertainment regular Miranda Richardson is perfectly cast as the woman who's sole existence rides on being "fairest in the land". In her usual brilliant way, Richardson's performance is deranged yet humorous all at once.
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Format: DVD
I have very mixed feelings about this particular Brothers Grimm adaptation. First, I must consider that in the past Fairy Tales have been far from mediocre tales about sanity. Often they are warnings about our most inner desires bringing us certain destruction. This movie deals with jealousy and innocence, kindness and evil.

Caroline Thompson has a great concept at work here, but in places the script falls prey to the cliché. The acting would have been better if the script had been more mature. They seemed to want to make this for children and I could not help hearing the Barney song in the background of my mind when I saw the rainbow and politically correct admonitions. I was disappointed in her naming the dwarfs after the days of the week. I think the names Disney gave the dwarfs were more interesting and would have given them stronger personalities. The acting would have seemed better if all the characters had been given a much stronger script. Yet, this adaptation seems to be reaching further into the past than Disney ever envisioned.

The salvation is in the creativity with which the story is told. It is visually appealing and once you watch the extras on the DVD you will realize this was a low-budget production.

The mirror is fascinating. Not only are there a variety of mirrors, the mirror is broken at one point and contains magical properties. This mirror then becomes a transporter, video camera and weapon. It is no longer just a "mirror, mirror on the wall." The scenes of "raining glass" were wonderfully creative along with the sound effects.

The artificiality of some scenes lend themselves to the "Fairy Tale" appeal.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though there are some serious deviations to this new version of the Snow White fairytale, on the whole I enjoyed watching it, especially in terms of its beautiful visual style. As most reviewers have already said, everything in the scenes are bright and colourful, yet ornate and whimsical, giving it a truly fairytale feel. Costumes in particular are lovely whether it be the rainbow outfits of the dwarves or Snow White's own princess-wardrobe.

The story harks back more to the Grimm's fairytale, and so is perhaps not for younger viewers (though kids get very little credit these days - if they can watch the Queen's transformation scene in the Disney version of "Snow White", I think they could deal with this). The wood-dwelling couple John and Josephine give birth to a baby daughter according to Jo's wishes when she pricked her finger on a rosebush: a child with hair black as ebony, lips red as blood and skin as white as snow.

However when the difficult birth takes Jo's life, John is forced to leave their home to fetch milk for his daughter. He stumbles through the snow, unable to find the village and only survives when his tears melt the icy prison of the Green-Eyed Granter of Wishes, who grants John three wishes in gratitude. Hardly able to believe the situation, John wishes for milk, a kingdom and his queen. The first two are easy work for the genie, but for John's 'queen', the genie goes to his sister Elspeth, an ugly wench who lives to spread misery over the forest creatures (she has a garden of 'real' garden gnomes!) Transforming her into a beautiful woman she gleefully forces John to fall in love with her through the use of a magic mirror, leaving her with a husband to manipulate, a kingdom to rule, and a stepdaughter to hate...
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