Before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), we learn of Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the
misunderstood evil sorceress who will become queen and her sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Freya had an affair with the Duke of Blackwood and is now with child. Unfortunately, the Duke committed filicide, sending Freya into a rage, unleashing her cryokinesis. The two sisters separated as Freya turned toward the Northern Lands and began her icy rule. Determined to rid the world of love; convinced that it is a weakness, kidnaps children to raise them as soldiers called The Huntsmen. Two particularly talented warriors are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain). The secret couple, secretly wed and live relatively harmoniously, that is, until their discovered by Freya. There are only two laws in Freya’s Queendom: Love is forbidden, and Freya demands absolute loyalty. The penalty for breaking either law is death (of course). Both Eric and Sara resist, but Sara is apparently killed in the fight forcing Eric to flee, starting his story in Snow White and the Huntsman. As that story ended happily ever after, the peace didn’t last long. The infamous Magic Mirror has been stolen and in the wrong hands, its power could be used to rule the world. The only one trustworthy enough to retrieve the Mirror and place in a safe place, hiding it from all is (conveniently) our Huntsman and some friends made along the way.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is far from a good movie and yet, is leaps and bounds better than the original. The addition of Chastain is welcomed but, the underutilized Theron as Ravenna demands your attention, stealing nearly every scene she has. The frosty (literally and metaphorically) Blunt as Freya serves her purpose, but I felt her character was more angry than evil; making her a sympathetic villain that the film doesn’t need. Freya seems to be suffering from PTSD, due to the murder of her child. That’s understandable, but doesn’t help me take her seriously as the fearsome ruler of the North.
The added star power of Blunt and Chastain, along with the likable Nick Frost in a supporting role; the Huntsman: Winter’s War splits its time between two fairy tales Snow White and The Snow Queen. Unfortunately, both tales have been told better recently. Surprisingly, Winter’s War is a better adaptation of The Snow Queen than Disney’s Frozen, however, Frozen is a better movie and the original Snow White is a classic. On paper, Winter’s War is bigger and more of a spectacle than the first, ultimately it falls flat. At least we can’t blame Kristen Stewart for ruining this film as well…or can we?
Rated: PG-13 @ 114 mins