If you’ve ever wondered what a darker, less musical version of “Frozen” looks like, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” will show you.
And the results are less than satisfying.
“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” should really be titled “The Huntsman: Let’s Make More Money” because this prequel/sequel — more on that later — to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is really just a way to profit off the first movie. But because that’s not much of a title or a plot, the big wigs at Universal had to come up with a story, or something like that.
The story starts long before Snow White — the prequel part — with two sisters, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and Freya (Emily Bunt). Ravenna has already started taking over the kingdom, but Freya decides to fall in love and have a child — and she couldn’t be happier.
Then love betrays Freya and her child dies, releasing her hidden magical powers: making stuff as frozen as her loveless heart. Rather than just let it go, she decides to train children — like our huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth), and Sara (Jessica Chastain) — to take over the world. The only rule in Freya’s kingdom: Love is forbidden.
So naturally, Eric and Sara fall in love, the Ice Queen gets mad and things don’t end well for our illegal lovers.
Fast forward to after “Snow White and the Huntsman” — the sequel part. Freya’s war is growing, and now her sister is in her way. And when you combine sibling rivalry with war and magical powers, it makes things dangerous for pretty much everyone.
As you can see this is a very complicated plot. It tries to pull things out of thin air to make a story, and the end result is something we’ve already seen. It also makes the pace of the film feel off, as certain parts are rushed and others are slowed down.
The characters aren’t much different, although they are likable and fun. But Hemsworth, known as Thor in the Marvel films, plays basically the same character here — just with an ax instead of a hammer. And Chastain needed much more screen time, but doesn’t get her due thanks to the hurried plot.
There are a few bits of light that shine in “The Huntsman.” The fighting is choreographed with impressive stunts and moves with emphasized sounds effects. But there needed to be much more of it considering it was one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of the entire film. There also were plenty of moments of humor and light-hearted fun that made the movie a little more enjoyable. But overall, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is just an uninspired money-making movie machine.