'The Huntsman: Winter's War' Review: An Underwhelming Fairytale with No Magic
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain
What would you call a classic fairytale twisted to a point that there is no magic left to enchant you? 'The Huntsman: Winter's War'. Based on the classic story of 'Snow White', the film is a prequel/ sequel to 2012 released 'Snow White and The Huntsman'. The dark fantasy-adventure film had Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron who reprise their roles of Eric, the huntsman and the evil queen Revenna respectively in the new film.
The story of 'The Huntsman' revolve too much around the previous film, which is a surprise considering that the studio was unable to convince Kristen Stewart to join the franchise. So instead of creating a whole new plot, the studio shabbily shifted the focus from the princess to the huntsman. There are evident loopholes in the plot that even the realm of magic can't cover.
Emily Blunt plays Revenna's sister Freya is the ice -queen. Reminding you a lot of Princess Elsa from Disney's 'Frozen', Freya can build ice walls and manipulate people's mind. There are times you want to feel for Freya's miseries and the reason she became cold-hearted, but you can always feel a missing connection. The director, in order to make the plot more understandable, has complicated it instead.
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the visual effects supervisor on the first film is the helmer of 'The Huntsman: Winter's Tale'. The way the film has been forced to be a prequel and a sequel at the same time is confusing. It's like re-arranged puzzle pieces whose fixing points are broken and thus the desired result cannot be achieved.
Rupert Sanders' 'Snow White and The Huntsman' had its imperfections but the film had a dark story and fresh retelling that made it engaging to some extent. However, the makers tried to keep it dark this time too, but forgot to work on an engaging script. Also, the fallouts and new production design without the central character Snow White (played by Kristen Stuart) could also be the reason for the shoddy execution.
On the acting parts, all the A-listers have performed average. Chris Hemsworth needs to prove his mettle as an actor. Charlize Theron disappoints after a wonderful 'Mad Max: Fury Road' recognition and Emily Blunt is okay as Freya. Jessica Chastain as Sara is good and makes you look out for her in every scene. Maybe, the uncertainty on the execution and rifts within the makers took a toll on actors' skills. The special effects are not awe-inspiring, in spite a lot of 'magic' involved in the film.
What could've been an enchanting fantasy adventure filled with dark magic and mystery is reduced to a retelling of 'why-this-is-like-this' tale. Sanders left 'Snow White and The Huntsman' at a point where a completely new plot could've been created, but instead the makers let the shadow of their previous success fall upon 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' resulting in an underwhelming experience.
Better invest your time in reading Hans Anderson's 'Snow White' or watch 'Frozen' than watching this suffocating, below average tale fairy tale with no magic.