HUNTING FOR A CONSISTENT TONE
THE fact that The Huntsman: Winter’s War is both a prequel/origin story as well as a sequel is a red flag as to how confused and messy it is.
From the structure to the tone, and the characters and their relationships, there is not a whole lot that meshes with the other elements in this sometimes serious, sometimes jokey fairytale.
We learn how Eric (Chris Hemsworth) came to be The Huntsman, being raised and trained by the devastated and heartbroken Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) to be a member of her vast army.
Love is outlawed, so when Eric and his warrior girlfriend Sara (Jessica Chastain) are caught getting their smooch on, the queen turns them against one another and separates them.
In the meantime, the events of Snow White and The Huntsman take place when the hero vanquishes Freya’s evil sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and pick up several years later when Eric and Sara are reunited and embark on a quest for a magical mirror with four feisty dwarves in tow.
In its attempt to appeal to all age demographics, The Huntsman fails to capture a tone that works as it swings uncomfortably from adult themes and dialogue to slapstick and silly gags.
There are glimmers of an intriguing story and conflict, with the queen’s attempts to breed out love and the set-up in the first half-hour promises a cracking adventure, but it soon loses its way.
Some fun can still be had with this unfocused film: the adult banter between the bickering dwarves is certainly a highlight and Theron is an evil delight.
Her limited screen time leaves us wanting more, and Chastain is also terrific.
Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron star in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.