Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
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
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|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.