Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

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