The Huntsman: Winter's War

"Weak"

The Huntsman: Winter's War Review


Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman that screamed out for a sequel. And indeed, this prequel/sequel hybrid doesn't quite make sense, muddling its premise by straining to keep Snow White herself out of the story (she's always just off screen) while spinning a tale that feels so derivative that we feel like we've seen it all before. The powerhouse cast does what it can, aided by some fabulous costumes, but it's impossible to escape the feeling that there's nothing to it.

Decades before her encounter with Snow White, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) was just beginning her violent march toward power when her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) suffered a terrible tragedy. Believing that love itself betrayed her, Freya moves to another kingdom and inflicts a frozen winter on her subjects, raiding the surrounding lands for children she will raise to fight, with love between them forbidden. When her two top fighters, Eric and Sara (Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain), can't help but fall for each other, they are severely punished. Years later, after Eric's adventure with Ravenna and Snow White, he sets out to get rid of Ravenna's pesky magic mirror, accompanied by four frisky dwarfs (Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach). And this puts them all on a collision course with the icy Freya.

The script feels like it was written by a committee desperate to get something, anything on-screen. The first half of the film is essentially the backstory, and the second half is a Hobbit-style quest with moments of random Game of Thrones-style action thrown in simply to give the special effects team a workout. This isn't too surprising considering that the movie is the directing debut of effects expert Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. So if it makes little logical sense, at least it looks achingly cool, especially when the duelling divas are clad in spectacular frocks by Colleen Atwood.

The problem is that the action is pointless, the romance is tritely predictable and the drama is convoluted. The costumes allow Theron and Blunt to just about maintain their dignity, but poor Hemsworth and Chastain struggle with both the corny plotting and their strangled Scottish accents. This allows the film to be stolen by Smith as a sassy dwarf warrior whose tetchy chemistry with Brydon is more romantic and a lot more fun than anything else going on. Fans of overproduced spectacles may enjoy the eye candy, as well as some of the soapy dialogue. But it's impossible to care whether we ever see these characters again.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Huntsman: Winters War:



The Huntsman: Winter's War

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

In Theaters: Friday 22nd April 2016

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Roth Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Producer:

Starring: as The Huntsman, as Ravenna, as Freya, as Sara, as Nion, as Mrs. Bromwyn, as Gryff, as Doreena, as William, as Duke of Blackwood, Sophie Cookson as Pippa, as Leifr, as Gryff Dwarf Double, Lynne Wilmot as Bar Wench, Alejandro Cuello as Voice and Music

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