Review: Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) was a fair attempt, period. Alas, nothing but the affair story between the Snow White (K-Stew) and director Rupert Sanders survives from the darker-than-any-fairy-tale project. Yet, it at least inspires Universal to continue delving to Snow White’s ill-developed universe as displayed in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.
Snow White and the director have already been eliminated from the development, and the torch is passed on first-time director (and VFX supervisor of the first film), Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. Winter’s War begins long before the event in the first film occurs. The titular huntsman from both films (Chris Hemsworth) becomes the center of a ‘love-conquer-all’ clash and queendoom rivalries that set a prequel, spin-off, and sequel to the predecessor.
Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the evil queen in her pre-Snow White campaign is expanding her queendom with powers and mysticisms. At the same time, love betrayal has consumed her sister, Freya (Emily Blunt) and turned her into a cold Ice Queen, who alienates herself far in North and begins kidnapping children to be made into huntsmen. Among her ‘children’, Freya sets a rule that no one is bound to love. From the same pack, love sparks between Eric the huntsman and Sara (Jessica Chastain); one that deserves banishment from the queendom.
With promotional campaign foreshadows magic showcase from both sorcerer queens and a more action-packed entry to the chronicle, the real film quickly bashes that thought away. Even, the trailer spoils the pivotal points a bit too much that it lessens the excitement. And those who crave for more adrenaline pumping actions from our huntsman and the girls will be disappointed for there’s no actual action set-piece which stands out – not even a real Winter’s War.
Emily Blunt manages to make a more fragile queen persona compared to a straightforward evil persona in Charlize Theron, which once again is proven terrific. Surprisingly, both queen characters are completely under-written into the sense that there’s no real urgency their story is worth a shot. On another page, Eric and Sara’s storyline is allegedly too stiff; even Hemsworth and Chastain are left drowned in a heavy-accented struggle without ever emanating meaningful chemistry. Only some little details about the world-building and extravagant costume for the queens end up giving good thrills.
20 minutes kicking off from the start, Winter’s War is already staggering, losing vision of a more twisted tale and clever expanded universe to Snow White chronicle. In the end, it melts with all the sequels which should’ve never been made (if not for money).
The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)
Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan Written by: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin Starred by: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt Runtime: 114 mins Rated PG-13