At The Movies: The Huntsman – Winter’s War

Some movies stay with you. Some movies don’t.

Take “Snow White and the Huntsman.” I know I saw it. I know I wrote about it. But today, just 4 years later, I don’t remember anything about it. I even had to look up the title to make sure I got that right. I don’t remember who played Snow White or whether the story took place before or after she hooked up with the dwarfs. I remember Chris Hemsworth was in it but that’s it. Wait, was that the one where he plays a dirt poor farmer who wants to run a whaling ship? No… that was something else.

At any rate, I like Chris Hemsworth and it’s slim pickings at the multiplex these days, so I decided to check out “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” so I would have something to write about this week. It’s a mildly entertaining romp through fairy tale land. Probably like the first one, but I’m too lazy to look up my review.

220px-The_Huntsman_–_Winter's_War_posterThe movie begins by outlining some history of this fantasy world before Snow White came along. Charlize Theron stars as Ravenna, the evil queen with a magic mirror and an obsession with being the fairest of them all. I do vaguely remember her from the first film. Turns out she had a sister named Freya (Emily Blunt). She’s quiet and demure, unlike her big sis, and has powers but they haven’t manifested yet.

One tragic incident later and Freya discovers she can command the ice and snow. She sets up an ice kingdom and goes around stealing people’s children to build her army. Her army against love. Poor Freya, if only she could learn to let it go.

Among her young unwilling recruits are Eric (Hemsworth) and Sarah (Jessica Chastain). They grow up to be fine warriors but sadly they fall in love which you really shouldn’t do when you’re working for the Ice Queen. Freya breaks up the couple in the coldest way possible and Eric is left for dead.

He gets better, of course, and goes on to have an adventure with Snow White (see previous movie). Eric goes into retirement from adventuring after that but is drawn back in when word gets out that the magic mirror has been stolen and Freya wants to claim it for herself.

To be honest, I had a hard time getting into “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” In fact, I found myself nodding off more than once in the first half hour. Maybe it was Liam Neeson’s bedtime story narration that did me in.

But the story really picks up once Jessica Chastain makes her reappearance. The last half of the movie isn’t that bad, if you can ignore the comedy relief dwarfs (which isn’t that easy to do).

The special effects are OK, there is some nifty enchanted forest bits, Hemsworth is just so damn charming, and Chastain, Blunt and Theron are fun to watch. It could be a much better movie given the quality of the cast but it’s not terrible. I’ll probably have forgotten all about it in two weeks when “Captain America: Civil War” hits town.




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