Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
|Featuring:|| Chris Hemsworth … The Huntsman
Jessica Chastain … Sara
Charlize Theron … Ravenna
Emily Blunt … Freya
Nick Frost … Nion
Sam Claflin … William
Ralph Ineson … Bar Keeper
Colin Morgan … Duke of Blackwood
Sophie Cookson … Pippa
Sheridan Smith … Mrs. Bromwyn
|Director:||Cedric Nicolas-Troyan—“Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), “The Ring” (2002)|
Prequel/Sequel: “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012)
This prequel/sequel to the PG-13 take on Snow White did not disappoint. In some ways it is better than “Snow White…,” in some ways it isn’t as good, but it evens out for the most part, and I think this one may even be a little bit better. Of course, the first one is no masterpiece, but it is still moral, well-made, and entertaining. I found “Winter’s War” to be a bit slower, but it also has more depth. The casting choices couldn’t have been better, bringing Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain into the series.
The plot is so simple, yet so complex at the same time. It shows us the origin of the Huntsman, incorporates the Snow Queen into the story, and lays out many clever twists as the huntsman and his would-be love set out on a quest to find the magic mirror. This film has MUCH more character development than the first. There is also more time spent on things like relationship conflict and worldview than stunning visuals.
It’s also less intense than the first film. The first had scenes of creepy, twisted forests and big, ugly monsters; whereas much of the peril in the second comes from Freya’s ice powers. The violence in “Winter’s War” is milder, too, with very little blood. Still, there are some thrilling fantasy moments, two skeletons found in the forest, and adrenaline-pumping fight scenes.
The is more language and sexual content than in the first, but that’s not saying much. Most of the off-color language is British (“b*gger,” “b*llocks,” “w*nker”), but there is one b-word, “a**,” “p*ss off,” “hell” (2), and a misuse of God’s name.
Sexual immorality is either ambiguous or frowned upon. When we find out that Freya (Emily Blunt) had a child outside of wedlock, the narrator specifically says that she was loveblind. It proves to be even more of a mistake when she is betrayed—a good reminder that sin will always betray us, no matter how pleasant it may seem. After this, Freya becomes opposed to all forms of love, and the story shows us how she learns to love the right way. This makes for a very thought-provoking conflict. Warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain) and the Hunstman (Chris Hemsworth) share a few brief moments of under-clothed sensuality, but sex doesn’t seem to be implied, at least to me. It would have been difficult for them to do it in the settings they were in.
Like the first film, this isn’t amazing. But I found it satisfying. The inappropriate moments are brief and few, the positive messages are strong, and clear lines are drawn between good and evil. The protagonists, though lacking discretion in certain areas, turn out to be commendable people. In short, it’s everything a fairy tale should be. How much you liked the first one should probably determine whether you see this in theaters or wait for the DVD.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…The sheer abundance of on-screen ornamentation isn’t quite enough to make “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” a beautiful film… The added star power of Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt isn’t enough to enliven this dour prequel-cum-sequel…
—Guy Lodge, Variety
…pretty hokey… Sure it’s silly, but in a good way!… plenty entertaining and, in fits and starts, even charming…
—Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
…sumptuous-but-ultimately-hollow fairy tale campfest… there’s nothing dramatically interesting or original beneath all of the spectacle… [C+]
—Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
…Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain flail in a “fairy-tale fail”… It’s a jumbled exposition that never finds its emotional or structural center. …
—Mara Reinstein, US Weekly
…Messy, violent Snow White sequel wastes its great actors. …
—Common Sense Media
…a disjointed plot that feels like someone threw bits of “Game of Thrones,” Disney’s “Frozen,” “Lord of the Rings” and “The Wizard of Oz” into a blender with some crushed ice, black goo and gold flecks, then set it to puree. …quite a bit of an all-around muddled mess…
—Neil Pond, Parade
…Visual inventiveness and spectacular casting can’t quite salvage a muddled fantasy epic that, if it were a magic mirror, would be held together with gaffer tape. …
…Even their doubled-up diva-tude, however, can't ignite a rhythmically flat, seemingly committee-helmed franchise outing that never decides on its dramatic center. …
—Guy Lodge, Variety
…Despite a fine performance from Emily Blunt, the follow-up to Snow White and the Huntsman offers cold comfort. …
—Jonathan Romney,·The Guardian [UK]
…dunderheaded …Theron hams it up mightily… Leave “Huntsman: Winter’s War” out in the cold… [½/4]
—Brian Truitt, USA Today