#REVIEW: “THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
When celebrities go from being nobodies to being front page news fans want to know everything about them. The need to know about every moment of the lives of the rich and famous gave birth to everything from the Kardashians to TMZ. In the case of fictional characters, the desire to delve deeper sparked the need for both Prequels and Sequels. It is no longer enough to know that Snow White lived happily ever and her evil stepmother died. Moviegoers now need to know what the stepmother was like before Snow White arrived to ruin her day and perhaps more importantly, what happens after happily ever after.
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War seeks to be both Prequel and Sequel for fans of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. As the Movie opens, a terrible tragedy has befallen Freya (Emily Blunt), causing her latent magic to awaken and her icy, Elsa-like powers to emerge. Freya leaves her sister Ravenna (an underused Charlize Theron) to conquer the North and make her own chilly mark on the world. She expands her kingdom by killing adults and kidnapping the youth of the surrounding lands whom she trains become her army of Huntsmen.
Two of her Huntsmen, Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), fall in love breaking Freya’s one binding edict for her Children. After unsuccessfully trying to escape Freya’s tyranny, Eric witnesses Sara being killed and is himself left for dead.
Now seven years later, Queen Snow White has called upon her Huntsman once more because her stepmother’s mirror has been stolen. Afraid Freya will get her hands on it, Eric and two dwarves go in search of the missing mirror. Along the way they are joined by three women including Sara who, contrary to what Eric saw, was not killed. Eric’s attention is quickly divided as he must now find the mirror, win back Sara’s heart, defeat Freya, and since no one in this fairy tale Sequel is ever really dead, kill Ravenna once more.
It is important to note that Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is never seen in the Movie. Although her character is discussed and is the object of Ravenna’s rage the actress never appears on-screen.
The highlight of the Movie is clearly not the script; penned by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin it shouts loudly with echoes of everything from Frozen to Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The costumes, on the other hand, designed by Oscar winner Colleen Atwood are a feast for the eyes and a reminder that being an evil queen comes with great perks.
For those who find themselves unable to let the story of Snow White go, The Huntsman: Winter’s War the perfect solution. Knowing that love is both the cause and solution to all of life’s problems is perhaps not a bad thing. For as the characters in this fairy tale must learn, happily ever after doesn’t come without a little work and a lot of challenges.
Universal Pictures Canada opens The Huntsman: Winter’s War on Friday, April 22, 2016.