Review by Dustin Heller
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is the prequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman which starred Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna. Hemsworth and Theron are back for the prequel along with new additions Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who acted as visual effects supervisor on the first film, steps into the director’s chair for the first time with this film.
Winter’s War is based on the characters from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Snow White“, as well as Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality.
Freya (Blunt), Queen Ravenna’s sister, has fallen in love and is expecting a child. Queen Ravenna (Theron) betrays her sister and in the process freezes her heart to love, giving her a new power she never knew before. Freya then moves to the North and begins her icy reign as The Ice Queen. Her intention is to rid the world of love and she goes to battle with the intent of taking all the children and turning them into her army of Huntsmen.
Among the children captured for her army are Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) who grow to be very great warriors and in turn fall in love with one another. A few years later, after Snow White has defeated Ravenna, the evil mirror has been stolen and it’s up to the Huntsman to find the mirror before Freya gets her hands on it and controls the entire world.
I really think Universal Pictures has a big problem on their hands here; Winter’s War isn’t a children’s movie by any stretch and it’s too much of a fairy tale for grown-ups. I’m not exactly sure who the target audience is, but I’m going to guess this will really struggle at the box office. That’s not to say that it’s an entirely bad movie, because it does have some decent moments and the cast is out of this world.
The special effects are good, but not great. I was less than impressed with the CGI goblins, but the overall look of the film is very beautiful. Chris Hemsworth is very charismatic and charming which adds a certain likability to the film. The overall story is fairly dark and heavy at moments, but there is just enough humor to offset it a bit. I guess Winter’s War will probably hit best with the 18-25 demographic, but I wouldn’t urge anyone to rush out to the theater to see it, and in reality it’s probably a prequel that shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War opens in theaters on Friday, April 22