Despite what the trailer leads you to believe, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is not just a prequel. It’s a prequel and a sequel as the film takes place before and after its predecessor, Snow White, and the Huntsman (2012).
The evil Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt), sister to the wicked Queen Raveena (Charlize Theron), has taken over all the kingdoms except one: Snow White’s.
Snow White has the magical mirror and the Ice Queen wants it for herself. Prince William (Sam Claflin) approaches the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and ask him to retrieve the mirror before the Ice Queen captures it. The Huntsman’s task is to take the mirror and hide it from everyone. On the journey, the Huntsman is accompanied by his wife Sara (Jessica Chastain) and his dwarf friends Gryff and Nion. Together they will fight against the forces of evil to stop them from harnessing the power of the mirror, and taking over Snow White’s kingdom.
Watching The Huntsman: Winter’s War is like watching a man beat a dead horse. It is a futile project that is a complete waste of the talent, the audience, and the studio’s time. It has potential, but the film is more complicated than it should be, and then delivers a weak climax which ruins what left of the film’s redeemability.
The trailer for this film is extremely deceitful. I expected a certain plot-flow, but received something much more convoluted. The visuals left me unsatisfied. I don’t know if the special-effects budget was cut, but the CGI resembles that of a Sega Dreamcast video game. Where director Rupert Sanders failed at storytelling with Snow White and the Huntsman, he succeeded in giving the audience a great visual experience. In The Huntsman: Winter’s War director Cedric Nicolas Troya is not on par with Sanders in the visual department.
Speaking of on par, my goodness what a waste of supreme A-List talent. Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, and Jessica Chastain are acting powerhouses. I wonder what convinced them to be a part of The Huntsman: Winter’s War? If anything, based on the poor dialogue and hokey plot, the film is a step down for all three of them.
Charlize Theron really hams up her lines and butchers each scene she appears in. She is a great actress, so why she is purposely overacting here? Waning in and out of her faux British accent doesn’t help her case either. However, I will give her credit because her acting in Winter’s War isn’t as bad as her acting in Snow White: The Huntsman. If Charlize would have been kept out of the movie, she wouldn’t have been missed by me.
Emily Blunt as Freya the Ice Queen does the best she can with what she is given. She is the tragic villain with a cold dead heart, which definitely reflects in her performance. In that regard, her stiff acting fit the character perfectly. Unfortunately, Freya is a poorly written character who isn’t given enough to do. Despite all the havoc the Ice Queen causes throughout the film, in the end, she is shown to be weak, and ineffective.
Jessica Chastain is Sara, the wife of the Huntsman. She is good in the film, but nothing spectacular. They gave her character good fight scenes, but in the end, she is just another damsel in distress who needs the love of her husband to define herself. The film really does not bode well for its female characters, but this is par for the course in Hollywood.
The direction of The Huntsman: Winter’s War is very amateur. Having looked at Cedric Nicolas Troya directorial achievements, this is only his second film. At least Rupert Sanders can make his films look good. While Winter’s War does improve upon the action sequences and is a bit more fun, that isn’t saying much. One great quality of Winter’s War is the costumes. The Ice Queen’s various costumes are beautiful, lush with color, and are very detailed. Even Ravenna golden crown and gowns are a marvel to witness.
Overall, The Huntsman: Winter’s War makes me wonder why the film exists at all. Every film does not require a sequel or origin story. Especially a story that squanders its talent. Some things should just be left alone.
[Image via Universal Studios]