by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
Back in 2012 we got a rather tepid retelling of the classic “Snow White” with Snow White And The Hunstman. The non-existent chemistry between stars Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth almost guaranteed that a franchise was not in the future. But Universal found a way around that – by ditching the emotionless Stewart and placing Hemsworth in the lead, telling the story of the Huntsman’s past as well as a new adventure.
The first act of the follow-up film, The Huntsman: Winter’s War works as an origin story of sorts. We get to see how Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) sister Freya (Emily Blunt) became the wicked ice queen (think Frozen but without the charming songs) after the death of her child. Shunning love of any kind she heads north to claim her kingdom, kidnapping the children of the land along the way.
One of those children, Eric (Hemsworth), will grow up to be the titular Huntsman. Honing his skills in battle he breaks Freya’s one rule – he falls in love with one of his fellow soldiers Sara (Jessica Chastain). The queen has them fight for their love…but when they prove that love can conquer almost anything Freya has Sara killed and Eric tossed in a river to die a slow death (which, of course, he doesn’t).
Flash forward seven years and past the ending of the first film – Eric is a free man and Ravenna has been killed, allowing Snow White to rule the lands. However the Magic Mirror has been plaguing the new queen and she sends it off for safe keeping far away. But the mirror is soon lost and the Huntsman has been enlisted to find the evil artifact and bring it to safety.
The directorial debut of Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the visual effects supervisor on the first film, was a meandering and boring affair. He did the best he could with the uneven screenplay from Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos. However the jokes all fell flat, the action was lacking and the CGI looked like something from a B-rated SyFy film.
And the marketing for the film could not have been more off. I won’t spoil anything huge here, but for those expecting a battle of sister-versus-sister to take center stage, prepare to be disappointed. Watching this film after checking out the trailer, I almost thought I sat down in the wrong theater.
While I’m a huge fan of many of the actors involved the performances all felt phoned in. I didn’t emotionally connect with any of them and parts that should have had me cheering for our heroes left me yawning and checking my phone to see how much more time was left before I could go home.
This film was a true chore to sit through. Uninspired, dull and directionless, The Huntsman: Winter’s War left me, in a word, cold.