The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starting off as a prequel and then morphing into a sequel to the medieval fantasy Snow White and The Huntsman (2012), the CGI-inflated follow-up, built around the classic fairytale, is a misbegotten mess.
For starters, the pure-hearted princess White is noticeably absent from the narrative, which focuses instead on the exploits of the titular hunk (Hemsworth, reprising the role from the previous film) and his warrior lover (Chastain).
The latter is one of two primary new female characters introduced in the spin-off, the other being the wicked queen’s trusting younger sister (Emily Blunt).
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Separated from her royal sibling (Charlize Theron, reduced to glowering in what amounts to a glorified cameo) following a heartbreaking betrayal, the embittered princess establishes her own kingdom and proclaims herself the Ice Queen.
The outlandish proceedings are embellished by lavish production values and costume design. But it turns out the overall glossiness undermines some of the Grimm-er aspects of the story. The special effects and the clangorous action sequences, too, are standard-issue.
Thank heavens, then, for the dwarf quartet which fetches up midway through the film to provide much-needed levity. British actress Sheridan Smith, in particular, is a hoot as the potty-mouthed little harpy.
Watch: Trailer of The Hunstamn - Winter’s War
First-time director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan borrows elements from earlier adventures like Maleficent, Frozen, and even the Twilight saga. A subsidiary narrative thread involving the magic mirror leads to a do-or-die confrontation between the two rival sorceress sisters.
All in all, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a misguided attempt to turn the beloved kiddie tale into a lucrative franchise.
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