12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Once again the Evil Queen steals the show from Snow White,
This review is from: Snow White [DVD]  (DVD)
"Snow White: The Fairest of Them All" is one of those retellings of a classic fairy tale that is probably going to impress adults more than the kiddies, although you will find some problematic elements in this 2002 television movie. This version is closer to the original tale told by Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm and his brother Wilhelm Carl Grimm, but Caroline Thompson and Julie Hickson's teleplay comes up with some inventive elements, most of which work. But much as I like the veteran character actor Vincent Schiavelli, a six-foot-five-inch dwarf is a bit of a reach for me.
Anyhow, once upon a time, John (Tom Irwin) and Josephine (Vera Farmiga) were living happily together in the forest when they had a beautiful baby girl then named Snow White. However, Josephine dies soon after leaving John alone to fend for his baby. John buries his wife and starts on a journey to find food; at his darkest moment he is about to give up when he happens to awaken a genie known as the Green Eyed One (Clancy Brown), who will grant three wishes aa a reward for his release. John's first wish is for milk for Snow White. His second wish is to have his wife back, but this is beyond the Green Eyed One's power. Instead, he will provide John with a new queen and a kingdom to go with it. However, what John does not know is that his new queen, Elpseth (Miranda Richardson) is really his own hag of a sister (the crone is played by Karin Konoval), transformed into a beauty. Snow White crows up to be played by Kristin Kreuk (a.k.a. Lana Lang on "Smallville") and when the spell starts to fade and Elpseth's beauty begins to fade, the story takes a dark turn.
"Snow White: The Fairest of Them All" is a much darker version of the story than the beloved Disney classic, so by no stretch of the imagination is this the first version of Snow White you would want any child to see. This is a dark version of the tale that takes place in a much more dangerous world, although the entirely reworked dwarf part of the plot (they are now named for the seven days of the week) usually works against the rest of the story. The sets are beautiful, as are the costumes, and what passes for the magic mirror this time around is pretty spectacular.
A lot of people will check out the DVD version because of Kreuk, who is the WB's new Katie Holmes. I admit I am one of those people, but even I found it rather odd that her cast bio on the DVD features her Neutrogena commercial. Anyhow, Kreuk has little to do but sit there and look pretty throughout the movie (she shows a lot more emotion and flair in the commercial). The one who steals the show is Richardson, which is exactly what you would expect when an actress of that caliber gets a choice role like a wicked queen in a fairy tale. If there was any doubt about whether this version of Snow White is worth checking out, then it is Richardson who tips the scale in that direction. "Snow White: The Fairest of Them All" is certainly worth a look for those who are interested in new takes (or, in this case, extremely old takes) on classic fairy tales.