THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Director: Cedric Nicolas- Troyan ( debut) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon Verdict: And we all lived unhappily ever after IT’S a prequel, it’s a sequel, and it’s in no way equal to the movie that came before.
That movie was Snow White and the Huntsman, a surprisingly worthwhile fantasy action- adventure hit from 2012.
This movie benches Ms White ( and just as importantly, the star who played her, Kristen Stewart) and subs a few new feisty female players into a dull and uninspired game.
Front and centre and frostily frowny at all times is Freya ( Emily Blunt), an irritable ice queen who has a thing against happy loving couples.
This is bad news for Sara ( Jessica Chastain), who’s been ranked as Freya’s top woman warrior since the renegade royal fi rst started abducting children to fi ll her fairytale army.
Though strictly forbidden from having a boyfriend, Sara has been secretly hooking up with that hunk of He- Man hotness The Huntsman ( Chris Hemsworth) for many years.
After an angry Freya fi nds out about the illicit aff air, she puts the relationship in a deep freeze, and the lovers go their separate ways. Sara concentrates on her career, which mostly involves carrying on like the groovy aunt of Katniss Everdeen ( same love of archery, same fashion sense). The Huntsman wanders the countryside with some comic- relief “little people” ( Nick Frost and Rob Brydon), doing his best to forget his ex by spoiling for fi ghts with Game of Thrones extras and CGI goblins.
If the story of Winter’s War isn’t already overstuff ed with excess fl uff , bursting point looms with the return of the villainous Ravenna ( Charlize Theron).
Yes, she did die at the end of the last movie, but that doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is that Ravenna is Freya’s older sister, and she really hates The Huntsman. You know, because he killed her. Kind of.
If any of this sounds like fun to you, rest assured that it most certainly is not. That unnecessarily scrambled plot is a total buzzkill magnet. While some dire narration in the opening act sets the bar very low, not even the promise of yet more “mirror, mirror on the wall” business later on can get anything jumping here.
The lifeless performances of the four leads are especially baffl ing. The only love that Hemsworth and Chastain’s chemistry- free pairing suggests is a shared aff ection for shonky Scottish accents.
Blunt comes across as uncharacteristically stilted. Having to stand in the one spot so that digitaleff ects artists can do their thing does not agree with her.
Theron fares slightly better, if only because she doesn’t seem quite as invested in this piffl e as the others.