Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Remember that fantasy smash-hit Snow White and The Huntsman? No? Well apparently some people went and saw it, because now there’s a sequel. Well, prequel/continuation/spin-off is more like it. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is the latest in the slate of gritty Disney re-imaginings to make its way on screen, and so far these outings hath not fared well.
Based around jealousies between sisters Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and Freya (Emily Blunt), the film kicks off with an instance of family betrayal and descends into a spiral of ensuing chaos for their kingdom. Freya, once sweet and noble, banishes herself to an icy solitary (reminiscent of Frozen), and becomes hardened and cruel. Sometime later, Eric (the huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth) is reluctantly sent on a hero-like quest to recover a magic mirror, defeat the evil Queen, and restore balance to the kingdom.
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Surprisingly, where I expected garbage, I was greeted with a watchable film. Good? No, but watchable. The cast for one thing can do little wrong, and though the dialogue is somewhat flat and the plot thin, they manage to actually notch up the drama and even inject some chemistry into the otherwise bland material. But, for every likeable star there is a dwarf counterpart, and this film has four annoying dwarfs too many (sorry Nick Frost).
For fantasy you could do better, but you could also do a lot worse, and I guess The Huntsman can sit snugly in the middle of the road until something better knocks it out of the way (no pressure Warcraft).
SIDENOTE: What on earth is Emily Blunt riding in this film? A polar bear-tiger? A polar-tiger? I want answers!