‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War” Review

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, and Jessica Chastain

☆☆☆

Note: In this review I am going to start using a different rating system. Instead of the standard five-star system, I will be using a system akin to the system used in the Michelin Guide. It will be broken down like this: ☆☆☆ – poor, ☆☆ – fair, ★★☆ – good, and ★★★ – excellent. I will be using this system until I decide if I like or not. 

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” the long-awaited, much-anticipated sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” – If you read that with a straight face, you need to learn the definition of sarcasm. Who wanted this sequel? The short answer is the international audience; that is always the short answer to what audience Hollywood reach these days. I saw “Snow White,” and that is all I remember about that movie. The only thing that “Winter’s War” does is toss elements of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” into the world created by “Snow White.” Incorporating “The Snow Queen” elements do nothing to improve upon “Snow White,” nor does make “Winter’s War” a worthwhile endeavor.

“Winter’s War” does have the same thing going for it that “Snow White” did, Charlize Theron. However, unlike “Snow White” Theron is in the prologue, then disappears until the movie final act. The fact that Theron is absent from much of “Winter’s War” is detrimental to the movie because the performance that Theron gave as Ravenna made “Snow White” a watchable movie. For the majority of “Winter’s War,” Emily Blunt replaces Theron in the antagonist role and delivers a performance that was one step above phoning it in. Theron needed to reenter the movie in the second act, Theron’s brief screen time is the only thing in the movie that worth watching. The story between Ravenna and Freya briefly – too briefly – explored in the prologue and given a quick and glossed over development in the third act, are the most interesting parts of the movie. That was the movie that should have been made.

Did Hemsworth have that faux Irish/Scottish brogue in “Snow White?” I do not recall him having it in that one, but then again I do not recall anything about “Snow White” other than the performance of Charlize Theron. Both Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain speak with that faux accent, and most of the time both Hemsworth and Chastain keep going in and out of this accent.

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, the director of the movie, I believe this is his first feature. Before “Winter’s War” Nicolas-Troyan did some second unit work on “Snow White” and “Maleficent,” as wells as visual effects work on “Snow White.” It shows in Nicolas-Troyan’s direction that “Winter’s War” is his first feature. Hemsworth lacks his charisma and wit that make him so great as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Any wit or humor that he has to deliver in this movie feels forced and unnatural, unlike in the MCU where he delivers the humor effortlessly. I think that Hemsworth’s synthetic wit is a result of the director because of the comedic chops that he displayed in the MCU and in that garbage dump “Vacation” remake. If Nicolas-Troyan could not bring out Hemsworth’s charm, then he was not doing something right. And there was also the issue of that the movie should have followed the Ravenna/Freya arc.

There are many things wrong with “Winter’s War,” not the least of which is how the story was being told. It is entirely forgettable, and should be forgotten.

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