The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Posted April 22, 2016 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: fantasy
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron
Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: 4-22-2016
Studio: Roth Films, Universal Pictures
What We Thought

Eric and Sara aren’t heroic soldiers; they’re murderers and child abductors. There’s nothing moral to latch onto in a story about good-vs-evil.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
The Huntsman:  Winter’s War is both a prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman and a sequel to it.  How is that possible, you ask?
     The film opens before the events of Snow White, making The Huntsman a prequel. The Huntsman: Winter's War We are introduced to Freya (Emily Blunt), sister of Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the Evil Queen and sorceress of the original Snow White film.  Freya is pregnant with her lover’s child, who promises to marry her one night shortly after their child is born.  However, on their wedding night, she discovers that he has burned their infant to death, saying only, “I had no choice…”  From that moment, Freya’s heart turns to ice, and she becomes The Snow Queen.
     Freya leaves for the frozen northlands, where she starts her own kingdom and raises an army, who go from village to village murdering mothers and fathers and abducting their children, whom Freya trains as Huntsman, the soldiers of her army.
     Eric and Sara (Conrad Khan and Niamh Walter) are two such children, who become her best warriors.  When they reach adulthood, Eric and Sara (now played by Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain) fall in love and marry each other.  However, the only thing illegal in Freya’s kingdom is Love, which punishable is by Death.
     Two problems with this:
     1)  So, theft, rape and murder are legal?  Can you double-park anywhere?  Do you have to pay taxes?  Can you download movies?  Is pot legal?  What about jaywalking?
     2)  What if Eric and Sara weren’t in love, and just had a friends-with-benefits thing going on?  Is it illegal to love your pet?  I absolutely love pizza, do I get the death penalty?
     Joking aside, Eric and Sara aren’t heroic soldiers; they’re murderers and child abductors.  There’s nothing moral to latch onto in a story about good-vs-evil.
     Flash-forward to seven years later, The Huntsman: Winter's Warand The Huntsman is now a sequel to the original film.  Queen Snow White (Kristen Stewart did not reprise her role) has ordered that Ravenna’s magic mirror be removed from her castle, which was slowly driving her mad.
     However, the royal soldiers carrying the mirror are found dead, and the mirror has gone missing.  In a plot ripped-off from The Lord of the Rings, Eric is tasked with finding the evil mirror and destroying it once-and-for-all.
     This movie is no LOTR.  It isn’t even half as good as Snow White and the Huntsman.  Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the second unit director and visual effects supervisor of the original film, makes his debut at the helm with The Huntsman:  Winter’s War, and proves himself to be a hack.  The film is so slavishly conventional in its direction that literally anyone could have been behind the wheel.  Not so with the original film, where Rupert Sanders distinguished himself in his debut.
     The acting is all-over the map.  Theron chews the scene like she’s starving to death, and Chastain takes this garbage much too seriously.  Carefree Hemsworth is the only one who has a clue, looking as if he knows he’s in a bad movie and is having fun anyway.  This film wastes the talents of all three.
     Ultimately, the film contends that Love conquers all, but it is in fact Betrayal that wins the day.  The Huntsman has a sense of humor about itself that makes it almost bearable, but really, the film is content to ride the popularity of the fantasy cycle that cinema has been stuck in for over a decade.  With movies as awful as Alice in WonderlandMaleficent, and now this (and all three share the same producer), it’s wonder the cycle perpetuates itself.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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