The Huntsman: Winter's War opens in theaters this Friday but it may as well just go straight to video. Kristen Stewart was wise to stay away from this film. It isn't just that it's not a good movie. It's that it's just not good in general.
Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, the film stars Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon and Jessica Chastain. Nicolas-Troyan, the first film's visual effects supervisor, takes over for Rupert Sanders. An Oscar nominee for visual effects in the past, this is his first time out as director.
Also not returning were original screenwriters Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini. They were replaced by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin.
Filmmakers seem to be influenced by Frozen-mania by installing the Ice Queen, Freya (Blunt), as evil Queen Ravenna's sister. Unfortunately, as talented as Blunt is, it's just not enough to save the movie.
The film serves as a semi-prequel but mostly sequel. We get an origin story for Hemsworth's Eric but this also serves as an origin story for Freya, too. After her young daughter dies, Freya discovers her ice powers and leaves for her own land, where it is forbidden to love one another. Here, she raises an arm that includes Eric and Sara (Chastain). There's a problem. They eventually fall in love, this breaking her rule.
The Huntsman is summoned by Prince William (Claflin) to take care of the mirror. And no, it's not Stewart that is seen from behind. This eventually leads to his surprising reunion with Sara.
Once Freya finds out what really happened to her daughter, she turns on Ravenna and helps Eric and Sara to defeat her...or so we think. The filmmakers set things up for a third movie, not that fans are going to be clamoring for it anyway.
Eric isn't the same person as he was in the first movie. He's no longer fighting wars for Freya and it's seven years after he saw his wife die...only she's not dead.
The love story between Eric and Sara may be a reason to see The Huntsman but don't let that fool yourself. The film is just bad.
Whatever you think of Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin's script, Disney fans better hope that Spiliotopoulos saved the better lines for 2017's Beauty and the Beast. The biggest positive may be that this film is not nearly as dark as its predecessor. It's somewhat comical at times to be honest.