The Huntsman: Winter’s War Review

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And the award for most pointless sequel goes to…

Was anybody really clamoring for a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman? I do not recall signing that particular petition, but the movie did make a pretty profit despite being pretty mediocre all things considered. Curiously enough, Kristen Stewart is out of this sequel to focus instead on Chris Hemsworth’s character of Eric the Huntsman. If you’re wondering how the hell that happened, I refer you to the time Stewart had an affair with the no name director leading to dissolution of her own and the director’s marriages. The studio, oddly puritanical, decided to drop Stewart and give the director another shot of a sequel. Too bad they picked the wrong person to keep…

So anyways we start the movie off as a prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman by showing how Charlize Theron’s sister (Emily Blunt) morphs into Elsa from Frozen (more on that later) and went around conquering snowy kingdoms with her army of hunstmen. Said hunstmen were all kids kidnapped by Emily Blunt including Eric and his wife (played by Jessica Chastain). When nu-Elsa catches wind that her two best hunstmen were bumping uglies, she made killed one and left Chris Hemsworth for dead. The film then flash forwards after the events of the last movie where we find our hero on a quest to dispose of Charlize Theron’s evil mirror.

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“Let it go, let it…oh shit, I mean…Let me take your goddamn kids”

If this plot seems confusing to you if you saw the last movie, don’t worry, the film manages to make it more confounding than what I’m describing. The time lines are kind of fucked here as the movie tries to be both a prequel and sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, with two much time given to both ends. The prequel business lasts a good twenty minutes in the beginning, so when the sequel part starts, you feel like you’re missing a pretty sizable portion of the whole story. Perhaps, if flashbacks sporadically used in the film, the pacing would be improved; but as the film stands you have a very odd story structure that also affects the film’s tone.

I’ve harped on inconsistent tone in the past, but no where is it more obvious than it is for this movie. You go from newborn murder and revenge killings to a pretty silly plotline where the Elsa wannabe instructs her Hunstmen never to feel “love.” A point that is absolutely stupid on so many levels. You mean to tell me that you’re gonna house a bunch of pre-teens all the way to adulthood and expect them to NOT want to bone each other silly? It’s a bit hard to swallow is me point.

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When the kids grow up to look like these two? What the hell did you expect to happen?

But to come back to the inconsistent tone, the film really doesn’t know if it wants to be Lord of the Rings or PG-13 Game of Thrones. The violence ranges from people beating each other up without a scratch to straight up impalement and setting creatures on fire. Look, it’s not hard to tackle mature themes without less bloodshed, Zootopia proved that. But if you’re gonna give me graphic violence then at least have some shit to say, not something as dumb as “twoo wuv conquers all.”

So the story is all over the place, but the characters pick up a little bit of the slack. Chris Hemsworth is still a charming guy even if his Scottish accent drops in out of the film (though no where near as bad as Jessica Chastain’s wavering accent), and his cocksure hunter was at least fun to watch as it was in the last movie. You’ve also got four dwarves shot hobbit-style with one played by Nick Frost, and they’ve got enough joking bits that you won’t be annoyed by them. Hell even Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain take their parts seriously, even if they could give more interesting and fun performances if they behaved more campy.

For that, we go to one of the goddesses of cinema, Charlize Fucking Theron. My only complaint about her is that she’s hardly in the movie and it would have been improved dramatically with her constant stage presence as she did in Snow White and the Huntsman. She chews the scenery with such gusto that I had a nice smile on her face when she makes her first appearance and she never let’s up until she exits the movie too soon. Honestly, I would be giving this movie a much higher rating if I was watching her torment Snow White a lot more.

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“Admit it, you can munch on nearly as much scenery can you, Em?”

Speaking of which, Snow White gets name dropped a few times but her absence makes you forget she was ever a part of this story. There’s a somewhat funny scene in the beginning that features the back of Snow White screaming in a brief cutaway to give Eric the Huntsman a motivation, but it’s so obvious that the scene doesn’t feature Kristen Stewart that it hurts the film overall. I can’t help but feel she had a bigger role written for her in this movie before the studio decided to blame Stewart for the whole affair scandal and stuck with the lame ass director.

While the guy has an eye for competent fight sequences, he’s not interesting to want to see more work out of. The guy has no idea how to handle his actors (this make sure their accents would be consistent) and has poor flair for decent story telling. He feels more like a work-for-hire schmuck rather than someone with a modicum of creativity to him. His direction honestly hurt the film and it’s the reason why I’m not bothering to look up his name right now.

So the film’s not terrible, but there’s really not a whole lot to recommend either. I’m honestly a bit surprised by the scores of negative reviews I’ve seen lambasting this movie as “so bad, it’s good.” No, it’s not that, it’s just mediocre. Slightly better than the first movie, but still pretty mediocre and barely elevates itself to be anything unique.

I will likely not remember this movie a few months down the line, but if you catch this on Redbox or Netflix, I think you’ll be mildly amused by the shenanigans. This is a low…

RENTAL.

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