The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
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It was a fun ride with plenty of action, plenty of humour, and a great cast - Chris Hemsworth brings his usual cheery action hero to the mix, Jessica Chastain was a good addition as The Huntsman's wife, and Emily Blunt played the fragile Ice Queen wonderfully well. The Dwarfs were comic relief as always, but it worked well with fewer of them and a couple of females in the mix.
The story wasn't overcomlicated but if I want that, I'll go watch Memento. Chill out a little, folks.
Overall, I can only recommend this movie. You won't get bored for a second and might even get emotional by the end.
The basic driving plot of the film is centred on Eric's (the previously anonymous Huntsman from the first outing) dubiously arranged quest to locate and return the powerful magic mirror, before it falls into the wrong (icy) hands. Accompanied by some foul-mouthed dwarfs, the scenes in the forests and fields are probably some of the better sequences in the film, if only for their tonal consistency rather than their originality. These portions of the film focus on action and comedy, and the camaraderie comes across well enough.
This quest is framed at both the start and end of the film by a strange and rather hastily delivered - yet nonetheless enjoyable - story of two sisters and a sad betrayal. Ravenna (Theron) and Freya (Blunt) are supposedly the closest of siblings who become parted by a very dark event that awakens a great power within Freya. Fleeing her sister's kingdom in a mix of despair, anger and confusion, Freya sets up home in the mysterious "North" and uses her new strength to gather children to train as her army. It is here that the two stories are tied together, with stolen children Eric and Sara (Chastain) growing to become two of her trusted Huntsmen. The scenes in the North are mostly effective and judiciously used; the muted colour palette here isn't allowed to become boring, and this mini saga is undoubtedly uplifted by Blunt's delicate performance.
If you have seen the trailers for this film and are keen to experience the full thing, go in with realistic expectations and you'll have a fun two hours; I am certain that the vast majority of prominent critics will despise this film, but it wasn't made for them. Yes, it's a patchwork production of popular elements from other sources and is generally a rather campy affair, but that's what makes it such an inoffensive and entertaining film. There is plenty to like here, if you give it a chance.
'Huntsman: Winter's War' was at times enjoyable, but uneven prequel/sequel. It has elements that are superior, but also some inferior elements too. The best asset is the production values. The film is very beautiful to look at, with luscious but also atmospheric photography, Gothic but also elegant and rustic set and scenery design and lavish costumes, particularly Ravenna and Freya. Most of the special effects are fine, especially the ones for the golden mirror liquid and ice. There is an exception and that was the forest beast, which had a cheaply rendered video game look and didn't mesh with the background.
Once again, James Newton Howard's score complements very well, it's beautifully orchestrated, rousing, elegiac, atmosphere-enhancing and very involving. This said, the one for 'Snow White and the Huntsman' is better and more inspired, the score here also has a few forgettable moments and doesn't really stand out among other fantasy-adventure scores and occasionally derivative. There are good performances here, Emily Blunt's sinister and moving Freya standing out. Another standout is Charlize Theron, Ravenna is far less developed (Freya is a much more interesting character here, and the only one that's developed well) and somewhat one-dimensional as a villain, but Theron makes the most of her limited screen time, bringing great energy, an at times camp edge (though mostly there is more subtlety) and menace.
Rob Brydon, Nick Frost and Sheridan Smith bring some welcome comic relief, this could have easily jarred but was actually a breath of fresh air. The final twenty minutes are thrilling, and the action is slickly edited and choreographed.
Other elements are mixed. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan's direction has solid moments and shows a mastery of visual style, more so than Rupert Sanders for 'Snow White and the Huntsman', but he isn't quite so good stopping the pace flagging or smoothing over narrative cracks. Was mixed on Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain. Hemsworth does have brooding charisma and looks more comfortable, but has a tendency to slur his words and his accent sounds like three different ones constantly changing. Chastain is a great actress and does bring pathos and nuances to her character, but again her accent is unconvincing, with a mix of Scottish and Irish. Their chemistry is much stronger than Hemsworth's and Stewart in 'Snow White and the Huntsman', due to that there actually is some.
Elements here underwhelm drastically. The script is underwritten, simplistic and clunky, with many awkward parts and only properly shining with the dwarfs. The story has some exciting moments, but the pace badly flags too often with a rambling beginning, over-explanatory narration and stretches that feel meandering and muddled. Again the forest beast is poorly done, only Freya is developed well, there are continuity errors meaning that the film just doesn't fit within the storytelling and time-line of 'Snow White and the Huntsman' (while it was a good idea not having Stewart's dead-weight presence in the film, the absence of Snow White- mentioned only in passing fleetingly- does leave a gaping hole in the plot) and Sam Claflin is both underused and out of place.
All in all, uneven film with things that are both good and bad. 5.5-6/10 Bethany Cox
It's not that everything from the Disney movie is here, but when you start to describe what this story is about - two sisters in royalty are split apart when one of them (Emily Blunt this time as the sister to Charlize Theron's Wicked Queen) loses her son and takes over her kingdom... which is made of ice since she is the Ice Queen, and she decrees there can no longer be love because her love is lost, so then when two people (Hemsworth, returning as the Huntsman, and Jessica Chastain) fall in love, she splits them apart through trickery and then... it's actually not a prequel but a sequel which involves finding the mirror from the last movie (stolen/taken away, I forget which, it's explained in an exposition dump), and when a big reveal happens for Hemsworth that (spoiler! not really) Chastain is alive, they decide to go after the Ice Queen herself.
So there's a lot of plot here, a lot of twists and turns that do occur, but that main spine isn't too engaging. The Frozen element comes mostly with the Ice Queen and other characters having a love story happen where you don't expect it to (or, I should say, they *do* love each other, but things happen that makes one of them question again if it's possible and, oh, nevermind). What does still work is the humor; Nick Frost returns as one of the dwarfs from the last movie (the late Bob Hoskins is sorely missed though) along with Rob Brydon (remember him from The Trip movies), and both are spot-on with their comic timing, their deliveries, just finding the things in the scenes to naturally liven things up. Some of it's from the dialog, but a good deal of it feels improvised and when lady dwarfs get introduced into the film there's some fun stuff there as well.
All the actors are here to work, and I didn't see them exactly bored during this; Blunt does her best to give her Ice Queen Freya conviction and villainy (and, later on, some sense of true confusion and betrayal), but it's hard to go up against Theron when she owns this role once again of Ravenna. She's not on screen too long, and it feels just slightly contrived how she returns, but she makes her mark as a conniving, devilish presence with aplomb. Curiously Kirsten Stewart is out of this movie, though there are points where it feels like she *should* be in this, even as a cameo (there is one scene where technically Snow White is featured, but it's a double of course). This absence gets felt in a narrative that is all about the other characters, which is fine, except that the script lets them down with an adventure-cum-quest-cum-revenge story that feels watered down or half-baked. And there are even some moments, like with a creature that the characters come across to find the mirror, that isn't a terribly convincing special effect.
I almost feel like I need to write this so I don't forget most of the movie in a few days; it's not *bad* in the sense of it being too stupid or too illogical (though there are certainly points where you think 'yeah, that's a bad idea to, say, make that jump and hope to connect with that building even when you know and acknowledge that it's a bad idea'). If it's bad in any way it doesn't have really any artistic reason to exist aside from it being another check box for Universal studio's current Snow White universe property. To put it another way, when you have Liam Neeson narrating and delivering lines about fairy tales that felt hackneyed 60 years ago, you know there's an issue with something that should be made vs could. It's got entertaining bits but isn't worth rushing out to see unless you're a die-hard fantasy fan, and even with that there's the sense of derivation (if not from Frozen there's Game of Thrones as well).
Freya abandons the kingdom and builds herself a solitary ice palace deep in the north, murdering anyone who opposes her while amassing an army of children and training them so their hearts will be forever hardened. Eric and Sara, two of her most exceptional warriors, fall in love and plan to elope, only to learn that Freya is aware of their secret. She confronts them and creates a massive ice wall to separate them before forcing Eric to watch as Sara is killed by her fellow huntsmen.
Seven years after Ravenna's death, King William of Tabor comes across Eric and informs him that the Magic Mirror was taken while en route to a place known as "Sanctuary". Eric reluctantly sets off with Nion and Gryff, two of Snow White's allies, to find the Mirror, unaware that Freya has been secretly observing their conversation through a mask that projects her consciousness in the form of a white owl.
While en route, the trio are attacked by a legion of Freya's huntsmen but are rescued by Sara, who is revealed to have been alive the entire time. She reveals her death was a vision conjured by Freya in order to trick him and that she was forced to watch as "Eric" ran away from the palace. Eric reveals that he never stopped loving Sara and the two agree to work together. Sometime later, the quartet is ensnared in a trap laid out by female dwarfs Bromwyn and Doreena, but convince them to help find the Mirror.
The group reaches the Sanctuary, and they defeat the goblins who possess the Magic Mirror only to be ambushed by Freya, who reveals Sara was using them the entire time. In the chaos that follows, Nion and Doreena are turned into ice statues and Sara reluctantly fires an arrow into Eric's chest. Freya departs with the Mirror, unaware that Sara intentionally shot the arrow at a medallion she gave Eric long before, and that he is still alive.
Meanwhile, Freya approaches the Mirror and recites a spell that causes a golden liquid to emerge and transform into Ravenna, who reveals she sent her spirit into the Mirror before Snow White took her life.
Meanwhile, Eric has infiltrated the icy kingdom with help of Gryff and Bromwyn, and he attempts to murder Freya, but is stopped by Ravenna. When Freya realizes that Sara hadn't actually killed Eric, she corners her and because of Ravenna's wishes, sentences them both to death. However, Eric is able to convince a few huntsmen to fight against Ravenna and Freya, claiming the love of brethren. After this, Ravenna kills many huntsmen, and Freya forms an ice wall between the huntsmen and the sisters. As the remaining huntsmen climb over the wall, the two sisters argue over the icy kingdom, during which Freya discovers that Ravenna cursed the Duke of Blackwood into murdering her child rather than risk someone being more beautiful than her. Freya is filled with anger at this and turns against her sister, joining forces with Eric and Sara. Freya is fatally wounded, but not before she freezes the magic mirror, as Eric throws his axe, breaking the mirror and destroying Ravenna's spirit. As she dies, Freya witnesses Eric and Sara together and states they were "lucky" before succumbing to her wounds.
As the kingdom's inhabitants and huntsmen celebrate their victory, a mysterious golden bird flies overhead, hinting that possibly Ravenna's spirit still lives.
"The Huntsman: Winter's War" is an entertaining fantasy full of action with great cast and special effects. The plot is a prequel of "Snow White and the Huntsman" with Ravenna and the Huntsman, and introducing Freya and Sara. The film may not be recommended by professional critics but fortunately I am amateur. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Caçador e a Rainha do Gelo" ("The Huntsman and the Ice Queen")
The film's cast is well put together as the actors are all very enjoyable to watch. None of the actors seemed to be miscast or stood out because of poor acting. The relationships between the characters are interesting, although some are slightly disappointing because they aren't as developed as they could be.
The dwarfs are definitely the lighter characters who I also found to be pretty adorable, and they get the most laughs out of the audience. The heroes of the story are both interesting and break the usual tradition of having the male character be the hardened one, and the female character be soft. It's incredible to see Chris Hemsworth's character be strong and heroic but also have such a kind and compassionate side to him. The types of heroes that stories have to offer nowadays are typically stoic and quite cold, so seeing that warm side in a modern male protagonist is amazing, and I hope that future stories will also present male protagonists who can show similar emotion and vulnerability. Jessica Chastain's character is truly a badass, and one that didn't seem like a forced badass to me, which I find to be a usual complaint.
Despite being villains, the two queen characters of the movie had touching, and surprising moments of humanity later on in the story. With that said, it is very fun to watch Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron play larger-than-life personalities and do cruel deeds throughout the film. You will find yourself rooting for them because they can be relatable, but also because they are wicked, you have to want them to fall. The only flaw I found with them is that they did not have enough screen time, but it doesn't take away from the film as the other characters keep you entertained as well.
The story is simple, easy to follow, and is enough to keep you engaged. The concept of love is what is being explored in the film, and the story could even be a cautionary tale about the effects of having a lack of love. In the end, the message of love conquering the evils of the world isn't anything ground-breaking, but I think that it is a simple and universal idea that is still effective and powerful even today if you open yourself up to it. Being a big fan of the first film, I went into this with low expectations but an open mind.
Thankfully, the film did not disappoint and I recommend seeing it on a large screen to appreciate the beauty of the effects and the costumes, but also be touched by the message that the film offers.
Summary: The Huntsman: Winter's War, whilst with its flaws, is an undeniable improvement over the first instalment, with rich scenery and landscapes bolstered further by solid performances all round.
FULL REVIEW: http://goo.gl/jrMAbH
The movie is narrated by Liam Neeson with empty phrases like "lands to the North" and "the Good Queen built a fortress around her heart." We meet the Evil Queen from the first movie (the absurdly over-the-top Charlize Theron who is the only fun role in the film) and her sister, Elsa -- I mean Freya, a woman who's heart was broken and uses her ice powers to turn her hair white, adopt an icy wardrobe, and reign in an ice castle on top of a mountain. Her ultimate character arc is the discovery that love can ultimately be a good thing. She didn't even have to sing "Let It Go" to figure it out.
Simultaneously we have a remake of "Braveheart" occurring, as we meet the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth reprising his titular role) and his love affair with fellow huntswoman, Sara (with an off-again on-again Scottish accent). Declaring their love for one another in a forbidden encounter, the Huntsman all but states that he "wants to raise crops and God- willing a family" with his new lover. A stroke of misfortune leads him to believe Sara is brutally murdered, and thus the war is launched. I mean the battle that takes place in the last 3 minutes of the movie.
In reality, the plot seems to be about the group of heroes (the Huntsman, some of the dwarfs from the first film (whoever wanted to come back, I guess), and some other female dwarfs) on the hunt for the Magic Mirror, hoping to find it before Evil Queen Freya reclaims it for herself. Like the ruby slippers, it's said to have dangerous powers, but I am sure as hell unaware of what those powers could be (aside from being able to judge the hotness level of women like a caddy bitch). Why this is so important is never explained, nor are any of the plot details seemingly relevant at any one point. The story is vapid, lifeless, thrown together. As I was watching this film, things kept happening, but overall nothing was occurring. I began to doubt the reasoning for this movie's existence other than an attempts for a cash grab (the original made over $400 million in sales... This one barely made $160 million against a budget of $115 million. Ouch).
If you need an example of what is wrong with the Hollywood system right now, then "Huntsman" seems to be a textbook example. From the overly-choreographed fight scenes, Lord of the Ring's-inspired mythology (which seems to be the standard for fantasy films nowadays), and the rehashing of characters both living and dead with no regard to story (how many times can Charlize Theron come back to life without absolutely flushing brain power down the toilet?), the film churns along from one predictable beat to the next, and by the time it ends it's hard to remember that there are actually decent movies made anymore. To watch "Huntsman: Winter's War" is to lobotomize a part of your brain. Movies can be art, and they can be moving, and they can be thrilling. This movie is the cinematic equivalent of expired milk.
The plot is marketed almost completely different to how it turns out, much to my frustration. As is the norm nowadays, the trailer contains way too much of the film. The most infuriating of all – the actual twist of the film, however predictable, is reduced to a throwaway aspect of the marketing! Not to mention the entire third act features heavily in promotional material – including some pivotal shots. To clarify how it differs to the actual film – the trailer markets it as somewhat of a sibling rivalry, whereas in reality Ravenna (Charlize Theron) mostly doesn't appear until the third act. The film focuses on the Magic Mirror and delivering it to Sanctuary. While the plot doesn't do too many unique things, and is crammed with genre conventions, they are sometimes delivered above expectations. For example, too much screen time isn't wasted repairing the relationship between The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) beyond what is needed. A huge plot hole I thought the film would have briefly explained was the fact that Freya (Emily Blunt) was never spoken about or shown before now. Even during the flashback scenes in the first film, with young Ravenna and her brother, it is never explained why Freya was never seen – or even where their brother is during the events surrounding the death of Freya's baby. It would have been great to see, but I can't say it's a shocking omission. Something that greatly added to my enjoyment is the whole tone of the film, which is definitely a lot less sombre this time around.
Moving onto performances, Hemsworth and Theron deliver the expected solid acting we've come to expect (Hemsworth's accent has surely improved since the last film), and newcomer Blunt is cast perfectly in her role. Chastain, while a terrific actress and a convincing character, had me yo-yoing on my opinion of her accent. For those unaware, Chastain's character Sara plays the kickass wife of Hemsworth's Eric, and the plot calls for her to have a Scottish accent, naturally; I guess it kinda makes sense considering the characters are from the same place, but I don't want to get too hung up on accents when they range from all over the UK. Anyway, Sara sounds Irish in some lines and Australian in others, but it's not film-ruining – I see it as a similar situation to Hemsworth's accent in the first film; maybe she'll perfect it if another sequel gets greenlit.
Filling in the supporting roles and cameos, Nick Frost returns with Dwarf company in the form of Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach – and kudos to them! Whereas I couldn't stand the dwarfs in Snow White and the Huntsman, here they are one of the film's highlights. They provide the majority of the comic relief, and I laughed way more than I should probably admit; Brydon in particular, although I may just be biased because I'm Welsh. That being said, no character really feels out of place. I certainly wasn't expecting to see Colin Morgan as Freya's lover, Sam Claflin return as Snow White's husband, William and is that Liam Neeson as the narrator?!
Speaking of appearances (or disappearances in this case), Kristen Stewart's Snow White is nowhere to be seen, save for a shot of archive footage from movie #1 and a brief scene with a stand-in. This is to be expected since the scandal that surrounded her affair, but it still would have been cool to see a cameo. Ballsy even. Fingers crossed she returns for a sequel – Ravenna did vow vengeance after all, and if the last shot is anything to go by she'll be back. I actually liked Snow White and Stewart is by no means the catastrophe of an actor that people make out; just look at her more recent performances like that in Still Alice – but that argument is for another time.
These films have always been the sort to favour style over substance, and that is evident here – but this time the ratio allows for that bit more substance. The sets are pretty good and the visual effects definitely hold up. The costumes and make-up are extremely beautiful to look at in regards to the elegant queens. James Newton Howard returns to score the film, and with him a few minor themes to solidify the film in its universe. While not a ground-breaking film in any sense, I had a lot of fun watching it. It feels like an appropriate sequel and actually works a lot better than its predecessor. Most importantly – its light-hearted fun and I'm likely to be one of the few to hope that a sequel is on the cards.
This film is much better than it's predecessor. The plot is much more interesting and it doesn't drag in the middle like the Snow White ones does. (As a side note, there are references to the Snow White film so I'd recommend watching it before going to see this one). This film has some really funny moments as well as plenty of action sequences. All the actors give good performances. An extremely enjoyable film which I look forward to watching again.
The three female leads are AMAZING. Apart from looking gorgeous, all three are incredibly talented and badass. I wished Raveena (Charlize Theron) had much more scenes, but she owns every scene she is in. One of my favourite actresses is Jessica Chastain and everyone who likes her will be much pleased, since she has many great and powerful scenes. She is a real badass. Her profession does not consist of constantly looking beautiful or feminine, as she presents here a very strong, masculine, yet emotional warrioress. I love how she always plays dominant and characterful figures who are also inspiring and compelling. You can easily follow how she changes her facial expressions, one second she is very tough, then suddenly she becomes very romantic and vulnerable. A terrific actress.
Everyone who likes the first one, will surely like this one, too, since it has lots of fairy tale traits (apart from Snow White). There are very very dark scenes, which I loved, but there are also humorous and light scenes where the balance is really well made.
I think you shouldn't hesitate and go enjoy this beautifully made movie with great performances. Everyone who loves fantasy and fairy tales should watch and recommend the movie to others.
I went into this film expecting nothing really and that it would be a standard fantasy fare worth the usual six for a medium sized movie.
I had read various fan reviews and for the most part I prefer them to what the critics say because they tend to me far more honest and except for the trolls, whom it easy to spot and ignore these wasters and found that they were sending my expectations even further down the ratings scale.
Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and had not seen the previous installment. I was entertained on nearly every level, and while there were some goofs and a couple of dead spots, I did have a good time and the 40 other Aussies in our local cinema at Penrith, all laughed a lot and there was a very positive vibe during and after the movie. And my wife and I really enjoyed it without thinking we had been to see a true movie classic or anything that would live on forever in our minds.
However, when I went to recent movies like The Avengers and Star Wars with all their great hype I did enjoy them, but for the most part was totally underwhelmed by the dialogue and the overall entertainment value of these films. They did their job, but I have seen so many other films, which were done better, made better and that I know I will love for years to come. Deadpool and Mad Max, were both far superior in most departments to these films, and much of Star Wars box office is due to the fact that it is shown to kids while the other two are not. I imagine this alone accounts for a big difference in their box office takings.
I know that in ten years from now, series like LOTR, The Hobbit, Mad Max and inter-related movies like Deadpool/Suicide Squad will still ring clear in my imagination while the most recent 4 Star Wars movies will have faded into oblivion.
I will say this though, Star Wars and The Avengers are still several classes above the execrable Divergent series which gets worse with every installment and lacks a truly cool and elegant or funny lead in Shailene Woodley (a reasonable actor, but so totally miscast and out of her depth in this series) a poor support cast, and very dull story lines and dialogue.
The Hunger Games is superior to the Divergent series, in all departments especially the actors and special effects, but the story etc are still tedious and the series (while entertaining) is highly over-rated particularly as the makers went into "bloated" and "OTT" mode for the closing chapters and destroyed what could have been a terrific series. If only the series had the writers from Deadpool or the kinetic energy of Mad Max (which has its downside, but like Deadpool) has something that these other movies totally lack and that is movie magic.
It is always such a shame to me that movie makers cannot step back enough from their films and look at what they are doing with a clearer vision, cannot be critical enough of their own scripts, or the greatest disease of all, falling foul of the studios/producers who do not understand what it is to make a great film, or cannot control their own agendas enough to allow the directors and their crews and cast to weave the magic that hey themselves so often lack.
If nothing else, The Huntsman had humour, drama, cool effects and stunts, a basic but pleasing story and enough going for it generally to allow some movie magic to shine through to the audience.
If you go to the movies once a week like we do, to be entertained by anything from a thriller, a romance, all action, supernatural, war or western or whatever, I want to leave feeling I have been entertained and that this movie has brought something cool to my life. Once in a while there will be the unforgettable story, but it seems to me so many people these days expect every movie to be a total blockbuster so spend much of their movie life being disappointed simply by demanding too much of others than to be simply entertained for 90-180 minutes. And then joyful, when they come across a true gem, like The Revenants, The Intouchables, or whatever other movie leaves an indelible mark on your heart and in your head...
Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron did an excellent job in this film. Their acting was very good, as always. They are two evil sisters that want to conquer all, using black magic and a magical mirror.
You really enjoy the visual effects on this movie and the customs of the two evil queens are awesome.
In my opinion, Jessica Chastain in an improvement of a protagonist from Kristen Stewart. First, Chastain can act and second she has better fighting skills.
I think that the story is good, but predictable ( you still enjoy it, though) This is not an action/ superhero's film... If you are expecting a lot of fighting, this is not your movie. This film is not a suspense one either; but if you like fairy tales movies with special effects, good acting , then you will enjoy this movie.
But as I am usually a sucker for fantasy and I was intrigued by the trailer and who was cast, I thought I would give it a chance.
I was going in with low expectations and felt pretty satisfied with what I saw. It is better and more enjoyable than its predecessor
The best things about it are definitely the costume designs and visual effects. You can tell hard work has been made with the costumes, especially for our main female characters. They are impressive to look at and definitely fit in with the magical kingdom that it is set in. Whilst admiring the costumes, the visuals around it fits in well and the general viewing experience is a highly positive one for the eyes.
Even the performances managed to boost my enjoyment. As I mentioned before, the casting choices for this film heavily influenced me in giving this a chance. Everyone involved I consider to be reliable choices that seem to make any potentially disappointing film worth watching. Chris Hemsworth continues to play the hero role well as The Huntsman. His fun and smiley presence makes it easy to root for him. I was really surprised to hear Jessica Chastain was a part of this and this seemed outside of her comfort zone. As a supportive role to Hemsworth, I thought she was perfectly fine on the whole, despite her questionable Scottish accent. Emily Blunt played the leading villain role well. I have been fond of Blunt's recent performances, especially in Edge Of Tomorrow. She was believable, threatening and even showed enough of a vulnerable side for us to also feel sympathy for her character. Charlize Theron is back as Ravenna, and is great as always. She constantly looks terrifying whenever she's on screen whilst also looking very attractive. There was also some solid minor roles by Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Sam Caflin and a nice surprise to see Colin Morgan on the big screen.
The only negative that was noticeable was the comedy used. It seemed out of place at first but managed to slowly fit in as the film went along.
Despite questioning the reasoning into a sequel being made, I was perfectly fine with the mash-up of the two fairy tales 'Snow White' and 'The Snow Queen' to give this sequel some logic as to why it is being made. Whilst giving this a lot of positives, it is mainly due to going into the film with low expectations. The best stuff is just not strong enough and the content does not bring anything new to the genre. It is lovely to look at, and the performances keep the film moving. If you look like the fantasy genre, then this will be a fine couple of hours.
The good points: 1. Emily Blunt looks pretty here - more so than usual. 2. Charlize is stunningly beautiful as well. The costumes of the 2 queens are grandly done. 3. Jessica Chastain is good at action.
The bad points: 1. Couldn't understand what Chris Hemsworth was saying. They should have abandoned the Shrek like Scottish accents 2. The dwarfs weren't funny 3. The story is absurd - looking for a silly mirror and killing her niece.
Terrible. Serves them right for dumping K Stew.
Rather than choose between a prequel and a sequel, French director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and his writers Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin have decided to make their live-action fairytale a bit of both, resulting in a time jump that will leave those unfamiliar with the earlier film more than a little confused. With no small measure of help from narrator Liam Neeson, we are introduced to Ravenna's younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt), a romantic-at-heart who turns into a bitter icy-hearted villainess following the death of her child at the presumed hands of her lover cum daughter's father. It is perhaps no coincidence given 'Frozen's' box-office success that Freya develops icy-related powers in her post-traumatic process, transforming into the Ice Queen who goes about establishing her kingdom of ruthless killers by kidnapping kids and training them to be warriors she calls huntsmen.
Two of her best warriors happen to be Eric (played in his teenage years by Conrad Khan) and the flame-haired Sara (Niamh Walter; then Jessica Chastain), who defy Freya's commandment not to love by doing just that with each other. When she finds out that Eric and Sara have secretly gotten married and intend to leave her kingdom, Freya separates them with a wall of enchanted ice that leaves Eric thinking that Sara has been killed by a fellow huntsman and Sara thinking that Eric has left her there to die. The plot then fast- forwards seven years to after Snow White's defeat of Ravenna in part one, where Sam Claflin's handsome prince makes a brief return to implore Eric to track down and destroy Ravenna's magic golden mirror that has gone missing but continues to exert its evil influence over Snow White.
That mission is of course but excuse for Eric to be reunited with his thought-to-be-dead wife Sara and team up to end Freya's icy dominion once and for all – but not without vanquishing her 'cannot- seem-to-stay-dead' sister Ravenna at the same time. Since Eric and Sara are not quite people of good humour, their journey gets some welcome comic relief in the form of two male dwarfs Nion (Nick Frost) and Gryff (Rob Brydon) as well as their romantic interests of the opposite sex Mrs. Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach). As distracting as their snappy salty banter may be, their presence is easily the best thing that the film has going for it, not only because of their easy chemistry but also because they get the scant memorable lines from an otherwise clunky and leaden script.
As sympathetic as we want to be to the writers for having to keep Snow White out of the picture, the seven-year leap around the events of the original does their film absolutely no favours. What transpired between Ravenna and Freya in those seven years, or Sara for that matter, is probably the most glaring logic gap, not to mention why Freya would suddenly decide upon her sister's death that she should acquire the magic mirror for herself. It also begs the question why Freya never sought to doubt Ravenna's hand in orchestrating the death of her daughter in the years since the former left to create her own fiefdom, and only decides to do so when the latter is somehow magically resurrected by the mirror.
Nicolas-Troyan's experience in the visual effects department (as opposed to the storytelling department) also means that his priority is to deliver spectacle, and true enough, the wintry vistas as well as the CGI-ed sorcery looks sumptuous. There are Colleen Atwood's lavish costumes to feast on as well, the veteran designer on many a Tim Burton film going all out to make Freya look coolly stunning and Ravenna wickedly ravishing. Yet all that style cannot quite distract from a distinct lack of substance, which borrows liberally from a certain Disney animated hit with that song 'Let It Go', 'The Lord of the Rings', 'Game of Thrones' and even 'The Hunger Games'. Oh yes, you'll be hard-pressed to find a shred of originality in this half- baked mish-mash of a product which makes no apologies for taking ingredients from other vastly superior fairy-tales and/ or fantasy adventures.
If that sounds like we're bashing up 'The Huntsman: Winter's War', that's largely because it is quite embarrassingly devoid of imagination, inspiration or excitement – and no minotaur-like monster or elfin wood nymph changes that. That's not to say that it isn't watchable, especially if all you're looking for is some diverting fairy-tale entertainment; but when you have actors off the quality of Chastain, Theron and Blunt, you'd probably expect much, much more than a throwaway popcorn flick that squanders them in such shallow caricatured roles. Hemsworth might be one of the hottest male actors today, but even his fit, rugged presence cannot quite save you from this cold.