Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain
What do you do when your movie is fairly well-received and earns almost $400 Million at the box office?
You make a sequel.
What do you do if, before you make the sequel, your leading actress is caught cheating on her fiancé with her married director?
That is the pickle in which Universal Pictures found itself after Snow White and the Huntsman. Their answer: make a prequel/sequel that doesn’t star Kristen Stewart as Snow White. In fact, you basically eliminate Snow White from the project all together, save for one shot, from behind, using a body double.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War tells the tale of the Ravenna (with Charlize Theron returning), the evil queen, and her sister, Freya, played by Emily Blunt, and how Freya became the Ice Queen of the North.
It also conveniently skips over the events of the previous movie with some brief narration from Liam Neeson, who doesn’t appear in the flesh, but instead spends most of the film providing us with endless exposition and back-story.
Told mostly from the point of view of the Huntsman, whose name we learn is Eric, we are treated to bickering dwarves and a broken love story between Eric and his wife, Sara (played by Jessica Chastain)…
Look, there’s not a lot to say about this movie. It’s entertaining enough to watch, I suppose, but it relies entirely too much on Chris Hemsworth’s charm. His go-to expression in this film seems to be “devilish smile.”
What makes that hard to fathom is that he was so dour in the first film, pining after his dead wife, who he learns is alive after seven years, and the most he can muster is schoolboy flirting to try to convince her that he did not abandon her to Freya as she believes.
There is a promising bit in the middle of the film where Eric, Sara, and four dwarves (including two female dwarves we’ve picked up so we can watch awkward dwarf social interaction) have to deal with goblins who have stolen the magic mirror, but it turns into this weird, five–minute excursion into some sort of outtake of Planet of the Apes or Congo (gratuitous Bruce Campbell film reference achievement unlocked).
Even the end fight between Ravenna and Freya is too short, too forced, and too foreseeable to be really interesting.
Ultimately, the film is a little too comedic, way too reliant on Hemsworth, and ultimately undone by its need to NOT BE Snow White and the Huntsman.
Watchable? Yes. Entertaining? Somewhat.