Huntsman: Winter’s WarCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Functioning as both a prequel and a sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, Huntsman: Winter’s War focuses on the Huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth), who has his own evil queen to vanquish. Melding Snow White with Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, the film introduces Freya (Emily Blunt), the younger sister of evil queen Ravenna and the Huntsman’s wife, Sara (Jessica Chastain). The main story picks up a short while after the first, with Ravenna’s mirror going missing and Eric attempting to find it before it can fall into Freya’s hands.
The film itself is absolutely gorgeous, the costume and set design are, at times, breathtaking, and, as with the first instalment, the world around the characters is vibrant and imaginative, teeming with wonderful CGI creatures. Unfortunately, that’s about all the movie has going for it. Performances are, on the whole, good given the rather bland script and shaky characterisation. Blunt is equally terrifying and fragile as the Snow Queen, Hemsworth clearly has fun playing the wisecracking Huntsman, and new addition Rob Bryden provides effective comic relief as the dwarf Gryff. This comedy though, lends the film a bit of a tonal imbalance: the scenes with Freya are deadly serious whereas some of the early scenes with the Huntsman and his quest for the mirror seem overly light-hearted.
Like its predecessor, though, the key issue here is with the plot. Aside from the fact that Freya’s introduction as Ravenna’s sister makes little sense, the film feels less like one cohesive narrative and more like a bunch of different ideas and visuals stitched together. By far the most disappointing aspect is that, while Snow White was very much about female empowerment and heroism, Huntsman has traded all that in for a run-of-the-mill roguish male hero and, after a point, everything that happens becomes woefully predictable.
In the end, Huntsman, much like Snow White, is a tale bursting with potential and talent, all of which is underutilised. What remains is in parts enjoyable but mostly forgettable.
Huntsman Winter’s War is released nationwide on 4th April 2016.
Watch the trailer for Huntsman: Winter’s War here: