The Huntsman: Winters War Review

the_huntsman_winter_s_war_99497I have to start off this review by saying although it’s rare that I totally forgot there was a live action retelling of Snow White and the Huntsman. It literally wasn’t until 30 seconds into the trailer for “The Huntsman Winters War” I even noticed that it was some sort of spinoff or sequel to Snow White. Sadly, the first film is just one of those movies that gets the “oh yeah” treatment. It only seems to be talked about when some sort of negative connotation is brought up. To just get the elephant in the room out of the way, Snow White has one brief scene in the movie and it’s not Kristen Stewart. While I’m a fan of hers in ways I can understand the whole cheating on Robert Pattinson with the director of the first film being a problem. That pretty much made more news and got more attention than the movie did. So how did they find a way to do a sequel? They semi cheated.

The Huntsman Winters War isn’t a sequel really. It also isn’t a prequel. I forget the movie term for that but the film jumps back to the past and introduces Emily Blunt as this total bad ass that rivals her sister played by the just stunning yet evil Charlize Theron. I really think Universal realized that Charlize was really the star of the first film.
Let’s be honest Charlize is never better than when she’s the bad guy. If she was given her own film even without Snow White, her performance from the first film would be worth getting excited about the next one. Emily Blunt aka the Ice Queen and Charlize make for quite the fun villainous duo. Plus we get to see from the very start just why the Huntsman really has it out for these two queens. It’s a long brew before any real action takes place but whoa is it an epic finale. It was amazing to see the promised betrayal between sisters unfold and it’s so witty that there’s even a twist or two you may or may not see coming thrown into the mix.

Jessica Chastain is totally a fish out of water here playing a total action bad ass as opposed to her indie films or heavy dislodge drama. Her character has not only heart and some epic fighting techniques, but really plays well with The Huntsman, who plays well together mixing the heart and the fate of the kingdom at hand.

I basically feel it gets a bit too romantic for comfort but it works just fine being a fairy tale story after all. When I looked at the four leading cast I thought whoa, but much like Charlize recently said in an interview (loosely adapted), “I did die in the first one and when I got the script, I was like, ‘oh please,’ but I really dug the idea and the story.” Although I really liked this film and would even enjoy a sequel, I was originally on the offense about any sort of sequel, however I must say they really provided a far better film than the first. Plus Emily Blunt is really just up to Charlize’s level. That’s 3 Oscar nominated or winning actresses in what you consider a summer cash cow. It was like the Oscar of fantasy films. Chris Hemsworth pulls his weight, too. Plus he gets two hatchets instead of one axe in this film, and none for Kristen Stewart.


What’s also great about the film is the dwarfs. One is played by the brilliant Nick Frost. Usually in these movies the little forest creatures or side characters can get annoying. Just try to fathom the little fairies that would not shut up. They added a ton of great humor to the mix, as well as a bit more romance that I was more than pleased with. The CGI felt great and was not too overdone. Is it the best fairytale ever told? No way, but it is this odd little film that distances itself away from the first almost as if it never existed. So I can promise you it’s a much superior film than the first and it certainly makes some continuity for that film but I was ok with that. My guest hadn’t even seen the first film and there was nothing he didn’t understand and it’s family friendly for the wee ones.

It really all comes down to Charlize who sadly wasn’t in the movie as much as you’d want, but when she’s not around Blunt definitely makes up for it. So in the end, I give it 3 1/2 out of 5. Movies have been so dead lately that it’s an Oscar nominee in comparison. Expect the expected and the cheeriness to flow but it can be witty and it definitely is a ton of fun!

★ ★ ★ ½
Review by Kory Davis