The action sequences of this big-budget adventure are a misbegotten hybrid of Shrek and Black Hawk Down, presenting realistic terror and devastation in fairy-tale settings. The film is likely too scary for young children and too straightforward for most adults; aside from some halfhearted appeals to gender equality there’s no revisionist subtext here, nor is there any serious consideration of the childhood fears that classic fairy tales exploit. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) maintains the action at a good clip without overwhelming the viewer with constant special effects, though he never evokes the sense of wonder the Disney-style fantasy would seem to require. The leads are as bland as can be, but the supporting cast features some reliably colorful character actors, among them Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Ian McShane.
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