In this prequel/sequel to "Snow White and the Huntsman," which was extremely unwarranted to begin with, we get the origin of Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman, and what a bore it is. Now granted, I really enjoyed watching the first instalment and the raw take on the classic tale, but not including the character of Snow White (even though Kristen Stewarts performance was nothing special) felt felt strange for this particular continuation. Sure the first film is riddled with plot holes and missteps, but at least it was equally exciting and emotional when it needed to be. This film plays out more like a very slow-burn romance with a few action scenes that are pretty average. That does not scream box office success to me, but we shall see.
Minor Spoilers Ahead (If you have seen the trailers it is not):
"The Huntsman: Winter's War" follows Eric (The Huntsman) after losing the love of his life, only to gain her back later in the film with a dumb explanation. That aspect hurt the film for me, even though the best aspect is arguably the romantic arc between Sara and Eric. Jessica Chastain and Chris Hemsworth share very solid on-screen chemistry, making each scene they are in together very enjoyable. Sadly, this is these are the only worthwhile portions of the film. Emily Blunt plays the sister of Ravenna (Freya), and even though I love Emily Blunt as an actress, she really slips in this performance. Her and Charlize Theron seem to be mailing in their performances for a nice paycheque, because every scene seems to be bogged down by over-acting when they are present.
The action is well-choreographed and the special effects work in the context of the film, but in the end, it is just another Hollywood product. The predecessor brought in just over 396 million dollars at the worldwide box office on a 170 million dollar budget. These numbers are not an extraordinary success by the standards set by most Hollywood pictures, so why this film warranted a sequel is beyond me. There are many other average films that deserve sequels in order to be improved upon, but instead they decided to milk a story that had already been milked far too many times.
Once again, the standout is Chris Hemsworth and his witty performance. He seems to have fun playing this part, which makes for some very funny comedy between him and the dwarves. Those scenes (along with the scenes featuring Jesscia Chastain) are very fun to watch. That is where the fun ends however. By the climax of the film, characters come out of nowhere, motivations are all jumbled, and sequels are set-up for no reason. This film has far too many twists to really care about the fate of any of the characters, and by the time the credits rolled, I felt myself more than ready to leave this world for good.
"The Huntsman: Winter's War" is one of the most boring films I have seen in all of 2016 so far. At nearly two hours, this film could have easily been trimmed down to a mere 90 minutes. There is far too much excess to extend it's unnecessarily long running time. There is a lot of good hidden in this mess of a film, but it is not enough to warrant a recommendation. You may have a bit of fun if you were a fan of the first (like I did), but it is ultimately one big disappointing bore, even for those fans. Forgettable to say the least. Check out the trailer for yourself:
Review By: KJ Proulx