Film review: The Huntsman –  Winter’s War

This sequel/prequel follows Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) as he attempts to retrieve the Magic Mirror before the evil Ice Queen gets her hands on it.

Apr 08, 2016, updated Apr 08, 2016

He is sent on the mission by a noticeably absent Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart in the first film, Snow White and the Huntsman), via an awkward cameo by the prince (Sam Claflin), and is aided by a motley crew of dwarves who are supposed to be funny.

The main problem is the character motivations – or lack thereof. The characters spend the film running around doing whatever makes for the most dramatic plot, regardless of how little sense it makes. Adding to the frustration, the camera cuts away to a new scene each time emotion threatens; it is almost impossible to care for the characters.

The first half an hour is particularly slow, showing a time prior to Snow White and the Huntsman, before jumping to a time after the events of the first film have taken place – making it a strange merging of prequel and sequel.

Sadly, the tension never picks up. Winter’s War tries really hard to be amusing and heartbreaking, achieving neither.

Its saving grace is the visual appeal. Like the film before it, this installment has stunning computer-generated imagery, costumes and make-up.

The evil queens – Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt, reprising their roles as Ravenna and Freya – are captivating to watch, and the rest of the cast, including Jessica Chastain as Hemsworth’s love interest, is also strong.

The Huntsman is brimming with misdirected talent. It is passably entertaining, with moments of amusement and awe – if you can just overlook the plot and lack of character development.


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