Four years on from the fantasy fairy tale ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’ we now have ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’. The first film was good, I remember enjoying it at the time but in all honesty it wasn’t anything overly memorable. The only thing that really stands out in my memory is Charlize Theron’s powerful performance as ‘Queen Ravenna’. Myself and the lads from JumpCut UK discussed this in our latest Movie Chat Top 10 where we ranked the performances of the three leading ladies from ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’; Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain and the previously mentioned Theron. It’s certainly a desirable cast and throw Thor in there too and there is something for everyone.
The film begins with a quite rushed narrative setting the scene for the film accompanied by narration from who I deduced to be Liam Neeson. I found this a little distracting to be honest and often the narration was pointing out the blatantly obvious so I found it quite unnecessary although I suppose it is fitting for the fairy tale vibe. Adding to the distraction was the Scottish accents that many of the characters had, I honestly don’t remember this from the first film but it’s very much a thing this time round. The marketing for the film was a little misleading too. ‘Discover the story before Snow White’ was the tagline for the film suggesting a prequel whereas what we actually get is a short period of the narrative talking place before the events of the first film but after this I’d say seventy five percent of the story takes place after the events of ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’. This didn’t bother me much but along with some of the narrative at the start of the film it stopped me from properly settling into the film. It’s not all bad though, there is still plenty to be enjoyed here.
Emily Blunt is fantastic as the ‘Freya’ the chilling Ice Queen. Emily Blunt is one of the best British actresses around today and she seems so lovely making her transformation into this villainous queen even more impressive. Despite her talent I wondered if she could really become a scary villain but of course she could, her presence on screen as the Ice Queen was wonderfully cold, but in the best way possible. Charlize Theron returns as evil ‘Queen Ravenna’ and is still as evil as ever, the scenes with both these actresses sharing the screen were always the best and truth be told there just wasn’t enough of these. Jessica Chastain plays ‘Sara’ one of Freya’s warriors. Chastain has been much better and this won’t be a role that will live long in the memory for her. It’s the fault of her character though as she doesn’t really get to do much but she does have great chemistry with Chris Hemsworth who reprises his role as ‘The Huntsman’. Hemsworth’s ‘Huntsman’ is a likeable fellow with a good personality and he brings this to the role with ease. Aside from the performances the script does well, it has moments of humour included which are useful for moving along the narrative in it’s slightly dull middle section. The finale is without a doubt the best part of the film. It has everything that you want from a film like this; the best characters and performances all together combined with great action. It’s just shame that there couldn’t have been more sequences like this littered throughout the story.
So whilst no-one was really asking for a sequel/prequel to the original film I was more than happy to sit through it and was entertained. The film has it’s problems in it’s beginning and in it’s middle but as the film progresses so does it’s quality. Culminating in a good finale ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ finishes leaving the audience satisfied. The best thing about the film, like the first was Theron’s ‘Queen Ravenna’ but she may well have meet her match with Blunt’s Ice Queen, ‘Freya’ who impresses equally. Anna and Elsa these pair of sisters are not but what may seem like a Frozen/Narnia mash up has it’s moments and is worth a trip to the cinema.
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: What is your favourite fairy tale style film?
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