The race between Hollywood's two competing Snow White movies is heating up. Ever since the two films were announced — Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the evil Queen; and Mirror Mirror, starring Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the Queen — the projects have been one-upping each other with casting buzz, preview stills, and story leaks. Now, Snow White and the Huntsman is the first to release a trailer (watch it below). In the dark take on the classic fairy tale, which will be released June 1, 2012, the Queen orders a hit on Snow White, charging a talented huntsman with the task. The huntsman, however, decides instead to train Snow for battle with the Queen. Here, five things critics are buzzing about:
1. It's violent, epic, and dark
"This definitely isn't your parents' Snow White," says The Wrap. This trailer offers not a single charming singing bird and only a brief glimpse of the eight — yes, eight — dwarfs. Instead, we get a cruel Queen who wants to ingest Snow White's heart, a beefy huntsman (played by Thor's Chris Hemsworth), and epic battle scenes. With its "somewhat violent imagery," says Jen Chaney at The Washington Post, Snow White and the Huntsman looks to be more like "a Lord of the Rings saga than a Disney cartoon."
2. Charlize Theron's Queen is fierce
Forget Snow. This teaser, and perhaps the film, is all about the Charlize Theron's Queen, says Dave Lewis at HitFix. "From the second you hear her eerily intense and foreboding voice" to the "exquisite" final shot of her swooping her cloak and disappearing into a flock of crows, Theron "kills it," says Kara Warner at MTV. Hold on, says Collider. Theron's campy delivery of the "Mirror, mirror on the wall…" had me rolling my eyes. I mean, come on.
3. Kristen Stewart is largely absent
Stewart's Snow White doesn't speak a word in the trailer, and doesn't even appear until roughly halfway through the clip. But what we do see of her, says Warner, is "pretty badass." She never once looks "innocent or weak." Her low-profile in the trailer is fine with me, says Brian Moylan at Gawker. I'm grateful that we're spared the "various and assorted pouts [that Stewart] calls 'acting.'"
4. The film will be visually stunning
There's certainly "no shortage of special effects" in the trailer, says Kelly West at Cinema Blend. Particularly impressive: The moment when a knight shatters into pieces when he's struck by a sword.
5. Huntsman may have pulled ahead in the Snow White race
This trailer at least "makes a pretty good case for which [film] might be the most badass," says The Wrap. It was smart for Huntsman "to make a big splash first" with its trailer. But remember, the Julia Roberts-led take is supposed to be more colorful and family-friendly, and has the advantage of hitting theaters first. (It will be released March 16.) That said, notes Kyle Buchanan at New York, "we're still waiting to hear whether Julia can transform her million-dollar guffaw into an impressive evil cackle."