Fantasy and film can be a match made in heaven. There’s the “Lord of the Rings” films, all of which are fantastic, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, a little less fantastic, and then there’s the “other” fantasy films. The type of films that are carelessly left next to the television and collect dust for months, only to inevitably end up under the television’s entertainment center. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is one of those to be labeled as “other,” and will, without a doubt, end up under the television.
Universal Pictures took a risk and allowed first time director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to helm the sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The sequel carried a budget of $115 million and somehow was able to hook four of the biggest actors and actresses right now.
Unfortunately, none of those performers were able to save the film. The film is technically a prequel/sequel, with the first third of the movie telling the backstory of how Freya (Emily Blunt) became an evil ice queen, and how two of her huntsmen (Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain) fell in love. The prequel portion was on the darker side, but it actually felt like the fairy tale that it is. With a few twists and turns, which were average at best, the prequel ends. A title card appears, reading, “seven years later,” and thus, the sequel begins.
The prequel wasn’t perfect, but I had fun with it because I could ignore the few bad moments. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the sequel portion. It is at this point that the film truly sinks. The acting was chalk full of overacting, true carelessness and boredom. Combine that with a script containing a few sex jokes here, some brutally banal twists there and some of the most on-the-nose dialog that I’ve ever heard anywhere, and it instantly becomes hard for someone to argue that this film is worth viewing.
Surprisingly, this film’s cinematography, special effects and fight scene choreography all seem to have severely dipped in quality compared to the first film.
“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” really could have been better. It’s a prequel/sequel to the classic fairy tale, “Snow White.” No matter how good the technicalities could have been, nobody would have ever wanted a continuation to “Snow White,” and a darker film adaptation was already pushing it.
Evan Matteson is a junior film production/film studies major. This review reflects the opinion of the author only.