I had a pretty dramatic about-face with this movie. I’d never seen Kristen Stewart and I was very “darned if I do” about it. And the thought of a gorgeous hunk hotting it up turned me off as fast as anything. (When teeny-boppers love him, you gotta watch out.) On top of all that, the trailer looked rather 300-ish: video-game-like gore and a whole lot of dark darkness gratia. The lines between good and evil looked all smudgy.

But friends, sisters, Thor (yes), and an overdose of goodwill eventually sat me down in front of Snow White and the Huntsman. And I liked 75% of it 100%. As for the other 25, well, I’d just like to show the filmmakers the fistfuls of hair I ripped out in frustration.

The movie’s chief winning move was following the old fairy tales — most of the time. Where it embellished the original Snow White tale, it borrowed from all the classics I grew up reading where evil is evil, good is good, life overcomes death, and love conquers all. SW&H also had a lot going for it in terms of dialogue, cinematography, character development, and avoiding one of the most peevish of my pet peeves: the PC crap about girls kicking butt, no matter the size of the girl, no matter the size of the butt. So far, so good.

What I didn’t like boils down to a leaky storyline. Too many gaps, too much material spread out too thin, and too many missed opportunities. The screenwriters should have tightened the action a lot. Let the resurrection scene explode. We know the kiss is gonna work, but Mr. Repentant Meathead sure doesn’t. I was generally impressed with Chris Hemsworth’s emotional range in the movie, but this scene not only robbed him of a chance to really prove he’s beyond mere cudgel-swinging, it also deflated the entire victory over the witch’s curse.

And my last beef? The ending. Sheesh, Princess, do more than scan the room for a glimpse of your cleaned-up hero. Give us a kiss. Will somebody please get down on one knee. I don’t think the lack of wedding bells (or even the foreshadowing of wedding bells) is due to Hollywood’s agenda stepping in and making the heroine all independent, I think it’s due simply to lazy writing. Is this a stand-alone movie? Is there another one coming? Doesn’t matter. This was a bad conclusion and a bad setup for the sequel. Any way you look at it, bad. Weak. Unsatisfying. Holy-cow-don’t-you-dare-start-the-end-credits-you’re-not-finished-yet. And that’s a pity, because even after two hours of pretty solid stuff, the namby-pamby taste in my mouth is what I remember best.