By Christian DiMartino
I liked Snow White and the Huntsman. It wasn’t great, but it was a dark, visually arresting film anchored by a fun, over-the-top performance from the great Charlize Theron. It was a solid, standalone film.
Did you hear that? STANDALONE. It stood alone on its own. As I watched it, I never once thought to myself, “Yes, we need a sequel to this film NOW.” Why? Because it worked on its own. As a single story. So now, four years later, we get a sequel/prequel thing that nobody was asking for, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and to answer your question: Yes, it is completely unnecessary.
Basically The Huntsman: Winter’s War takes probably the least interesting character from the previous film, and gives him his own show. Trouble is, it seems as if the producers themselves don’t have the confidence in their man. Because when he’s onscreen, we know that, deep down, they’d rather move on. But guess what? They wanted more money.
Anyways, so The Hunsman: Winter’s Bore… I mean, War, is a prequel and a sequel. Huh? Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I’ll do my best to explain. Basically, it begins before the events of the first film. Flashback a few years before the events of the first film. We see Queen Ravena (played once again by Theron) and her sister, Freya (Emily Blunt). After experiencing a tragedy, hell pretty much freezes over, and Freya has… ice powers? Hmm, sounds a bit like Frozen to me.
Anyways, she takes orphans and trains them to be Huntsmen… hence where The Huntsman, aka Eric (played again by Chris Hemsworth) comes in. Freya tells them that none of them can fall in love (she’s a bit… Cold when it comes to love). But yet sparks fly between Eric and Sara (Jessica Chastain). However, this isn’t meant to be.
Flash forward to after the events of the first movie. One stupid thing this film does is mention the Snow White character, because she doesn’t show up. I know that Kristen Stewart had a love affair with the director, but I’m sure she would’ve returned. But yet she sits this one out. Adding to the laziness.
Anyways, now Queen Ravena is dead. Also, her mirror is missing. So basically Eric sets off to grab the mirror before it ends up in the wrong hands.
Ooh, where to begin? Well, Theron and Blunt overact, but yet when they’re onscreen, the movie is fairly entertaining. Also, the costume design by three time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood is kind of spectacular. Also, like its predecessor, it is quite the visual feast. But sadly, that can only get you so far.
Talk about “all dressed up with nowhere to go.” That describes this film perfectly. When Theron and Blunt aren’t onscreen, we’re left with Chastain and Hemsworth. Don’t get me wrong: they’re two talented stars. But yet they have zero chemistry. Not to mention, they sport these Scottish accents that constantly distract. Lastly, their story just isn’t very interesting.
Really though, The Huntsman: Winter’s War just feels like a 80s Greatest Hits album covered by Kidz Bop. What do I mean? Well it feels like a blend of Frozen, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and, thanks to the accents, Shrek.
I recall a scene where Blunt walks through the castle. I mention this because it looked exactly like Hogwarts. See? Even the production design, as striking as it might be sometimes, feels like a ripoff. There is even a scene that I believe is, frame for frame, out of The Lord of the Rings.
Snow White and the Huntsman was no masterwork, but it was a lot better than this lazy rehash. The style ends up conquering the substance. Sometimes, that’s a war that just cannot be won. But in this war, nobody really gives a damn.