Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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The Huntsman: Winter’s War has hit UK theaters and ComiConverse Lead Film Critic Jordan Samuel brings us his review.
2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman was a mediocre adventure flick that did a serviceable job delivering the classic fairy tale to younger audiences. Sadly, it mostly felt like a rushed live-action adaptation of the classic, due to forgettable performances and a poorly written script. In the current Hollywood moment of universe building, of course, the critically planned Snow White and The Huntsman was going to get a prequel/sequel. Based upon the rise and fall of Charlize Theron’s villainous Queen Ravenna, admittedly one of the better performances and characters from the original film.
Based on the world created by screenwriter Evan Daugherty, The Huntsman: Winter War provides back-story to the characters of Snow White. To many, this might sound implausible, but it actually works to some extent in the films plot. Do not confuse this with quality, because Huntsman provides some baffling inconstancy. The director of the original does not return for this prequel/sequel hybrid, instead the reigns are handed to the visual effects master from the first film, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. This change showcases how ill-thought out this installment was.
Long before the evil Queen Ravenna was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister Freya suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom. With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young Ice Queen has spent years in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly Huntsmen, including Eric and warrior Sara, only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: forever harden your hearts to love.
When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she resurrects Ravenna from the Mirror’s golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkness it’s ever seen. Now their army shall prove unbeatable unless the banished Huntsmen who broke their Queen’s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another – IMBD
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain and Charlize Theron
All the elements for a decent fantasy adventure are present in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, from dwarves to over the top narration. The film’s premise has been on screen numerous times: attractive man and woman team up to defeat an evil queen. For a 2016 adventure film, this is a low-tier story. Director Cedric-Niloas Troyan helms this project, and his style of linear storytelling, and visual choices feel mismatched for a film trying to out do its previous installment.
Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as The Huntsman from the first film, and does what is needed for the role. I did not hate him in the first movie as many did, but you cannot help the feeling he is doing this for the pay check while his MCU buddies are fighting in Civil War.
The Huntsman feels strangely out of place in this outing. The script never gives Hemsworth anything to do but beat things up with his axe and utter lame dialogue. I like the comedy delivered from his character which allows the audiences to have fun with his macho personality. But he just ends up being sidelined in the story for other cast members, which was disappointing.
Jessica Chastain is added in the cast as Sara, the female warrior love-interest for the Huntsman. She is the best element here. I loved her connection with the cast members and hilarious banter and her action scenes are killer.
Charlize Theron plays the villainous Ravenna, and she is quite good. I loved her performance in the original as she played jealous and creepy so well, with her dialogue, whatever its original quality, coming off the screen.
It was strange knowing the film around her was average. Theron gets side-lined into an average storyline. Her limited amount of screen time felt like a cop-out. The same thing happens with Emily Blunt’s Freya. Her performance is strong, but falls flat due to little screen time.
Overall, Huntsman is a disappointing movie that wastes the talents of its stars by under utilizing their strengths, and providing them with wooden dialogue and rehashed storylines. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan makes an unimpressive debut, and this movie is one that you can feel safe skipping.
Jordan Samuel is Lead Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on twitter: @JordanESamuel
This movie is trying to be the next big Fantasy smash-hit so badly, that it fails at delivering anything more than a straight-to-DVD dud