The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an odd movie simply predicated on the fact that it’s a sequel while also being kind of a prequel. It’s also odd due to the main character from the first film not actually being in it. Then again, neither one of these things really matters anyway. Why? Because this is the kind of movie that won’t leave anyone outside some of the people getting paychecks satisfied.
Expanding on the story of Snow White by reaching outside of it, The Huntsman: Winter’s War centers around Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain). Since the demise of Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) at the hands of “the fairest of them all,” troubles have arisen due to the cold heart of Freya (Emily Blunt), the sister of Ravenna. Now in order to free themselves from this unloving world, the two warriors must battle the powerful being they’ve encountered and hope that better days lie ahead for them in the future.
Hoping to follow up on the “success” of Snow White and the Hunstman while avoiding the controversy that came out of it, someone decided to push forward with a sequel. It was a unique risk since the main character wouldn’t be involved, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have paid off even if she was. I’ll get into why that is, but I also want to look at why the product that has been released failed in so many ways.
While this focuses on the Huntsman and his warrior love interest, it’s easy to see that the two powerful sisters played by Blunt and Theron should have been the main characters. In those two, you have a plethora of stories an angles to use that could showcase something with the legitimate potential to provide entertainment. There’s an obvious power struggle between the two since the older one is kind of domineering. Use that as a starting point and work from there. It’s not hard.
Instead of being given the chance to learn about the relationship between the damaged sisters, we have to watch some generic love story drag on forever. Even with the other characters who are going along for the ride with the Huntsman and his forbidden love, it’s difficult to watch and easy to grow bored with. There’s simply very little included here to get your interest, and there’s even less to keep it.
In the past, I would have questioned how a movie like this one got made, but there’s no reason to do that anymore when you see some of the movies being released these days. Instead of asking that question again, I’ll just wonder why this couldn’t have been done better. Shifting the focus truly is all that’s needed in order to get on a path that allows this to be everything that it should be. Now, whether they had the filmmakers in position to make that kind of movie is another story.
I say that because the director is apparently a visual-effects supervisor. That doesn’t exactly inspire faith in a project like this, but it becomes even more worrying when you’re giving someone with very little experience control over a movie this big financially. Because of this, you also can’t be stunned at the fact that the picture turned out to be terrible.
It’s not like I can even completely blame him when thinking about it. He may have some potential, but he clearly isn’t ready for something like this even if he’s spent time on various movie sets. Common sense would tell the people in charge that they should have gone in another direction. With that in mind, I’m sure Universal wishes they had the benefit of hindsight right about now.
Another issue that people could have with this is that there’s a clear attempt at making a movie about Elsa from Frozen, but turning it into something that’s geared toward adults. Some people may not have as much on an issue with this as I do, but it makes the experience cheaper and shallow. I don’t know why they thought this was a good idea, but it turns out to be one of the many features that doesn’t work. Whatever the reason for choosing to do this, the movie simply isn’t worth the time or money it would take to see it.
Ultimately, I’ve decided not to go too hard on the people involved in making this tragic piece of cinema as I could have. That’s partially because being associated with this for the rest of your career is embarrassing enough. While I don’t know how it will damage any of these people, it’s something that I’m sure they will want to put behind them. I only watched it, and even I wanted to put it behind me as fast as possible. Let’s all just hope that there won’t be too many more flops like this one.
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Film Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: April 22, 2016
Distributor: Universal Pictures
- Score - 1/101/10