Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winters War

Following the lack of success Snow White and the Huntsman  received, we now have The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The film is the story of the titular huntsman (still played by Chris Hemsworth) before the events of the first film. Many actors from the first reprise their roles and are joined by newcomer Emily Blunt as Freya, the younger sister of Charlize Theron’s  Evil Queen. It is directed by the effects artist from the first movie. Is the story of the huntsman before Snow White worth seeing? Nope.

Winter’s War is, simply put, a mess. It claimed to tell the story of before Snow White, but only the first quarter of the film takes place before the original. It is a strange mesh of a prequel, sequel, and a spinoff. There is nothing in this film that warrants it being made. It feels as though unused side plots from Snow White and the Huntsman were shoved together and now we have this. The plot does not have a clear goal. You will often ask yourself why the characters are doing something because it is only adding time to the film and not advancing anything. It somehow brings back Charlize Theron in a way that does not make sense and they do barely anything to explain it.

Emily Blunt has given some great performances in films like Sicario and Edge of Tomorrow, this is not one of those performances. Her performance in Winter’s War was probably the worst performance of her career. Her inclusion in the film was one of the few reasons I was excited for it, but between a lack of clear direction and a script that gave her virtually nothing to work with, she was just not good in Winter’s War. She is essentially Elsa for teens who thought that they were too old to see Frozen. Her character either whispers or screams her lines, similar to Eddie Redmayne’s villain in Jupiter Ascending. I wanted her gone not because she was evil and compelling, but because I really just wanted her off screen. She is essentially Elsa for teens who thought that they were too old to see Frozen.

There are parts of the film which I enjoyed, mostly the action sequences. For the most part they are well executed and interesting. I really liked one that took place in a brawl and relied only on the sounds of the fight instead of music to keep you engaged. Chris Hemsworth is fine as the huntsman and provides for a fun hero, but I think I would have enjoyed seeing him more in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.

The visuals in the film are, for the most part, well done. This makes sense with the director being a visual effects artist. However, there are some seemingly unfinished cgi elements that are a little jarring. One owl in particular looks as if it was taken from a video game.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War  did not need to be made. There are not that many redeeming elements of the film, and the ones that are there do not bring the quality up that much. If you were not a fan of the original, stay away from this. Winter’s War offers less than the original in almost every way. However, if you were a fan of the original (but not because of Kristen Stewart because she isn’t in this) you will probably find more enjoyment in it than most, but I still would not recommend it over other films that have come out recently.

Rating: The Huntsman: Winter’s War tries to be a lot of things, but it doesn’t really work as any of them.