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A fairy tale not worth telling

Ross Siev, Contributing Writer

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Once upon a time, “Snow White and the Huntsman” made more than what it originally deserved. Now the follow-up,  “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”, shows off less of a story than its predecessor and forcefully attempt to bank on the recent success of Disney’s Frozen.

The plot is simplified: Evil McGuffin must be kept out of the antagonist’s hands and things go exactly as predicted in the realm of Murphy’s Law.

Winter’s War retcons several key plot points by setting up previously unintroduced characters such as Freya the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt) and Sara the Warrior (Jessica Chastain), both of whom have a personal relationship with Eric sometime before his escapades in the previous film.

Chris Hemsworth and his weird accent makes way to the center stage. Joining him is romantic interest Sara, performed by Jessica Chastain and her equally weird accent, so they’re a match made in heaven, even if I couldn’t understand some of the words they were saying and I’m not convinced by their romantic relationship.

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Kristen Stewart’s character, Snow White, sends away the evil mirror from the previous film to an area known as Sanctuary. Hemsworth is sent off to protect the mirror as evil forces attempt to retrieve it for their own evil deeds even though most of the audience’s knowledge about it involves good advice and that’s it.

Freya’s dark past has led her to kidnap children and turn them into her personal army. Think of her powers and past similar to Frozen’s Elsa, but with a gritty spin and none of the charm. In the overarching narrative of the story, she isn’t too much of a villain and spends most of her time coldly plotting in her ice castle that looks even darker than Elsa’s. Leave much of that antagonism up to her sister from the previous film, Ravenna the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) who should be better left off as a cameo.

Nick Frost returns to provide some comedy backup as the dwarf Nion, who ventures along with his shoehorned half-brother, Gryff, played by Rob Brydon. While they do provide some comedy trade-offs with Eric and Sara, apparently just two dwarves aren’t enough so two more are introduced. The comedy is a guilty pleasure despite the low-brow insults when it came to a dwarven woman’s appearance.

The mirror is repeatedly established as being evil. As if being used by an evil queen wasn’t enough, it thrice mentions that anyone close enough to the mirror will force them to kill their own friends.

While “Snow White and The Huntsman” sets up the world, Winter’s War instead finds a lackluster excuse to further explore said world. The story’s pace gets thrown off as the heroes have to retrieve the mirror back from gold-loving goblins, which, in the main context of the plot, have no discernable support to the larger events at hand. There are only two new areas that the heroes explore, such as the aforementioned goblin hideout and the ice queen’s realm, which is a mix of a village and an ice castle.

The plot is a clunky mess with its pacing in several places. Even if it were written down on paper, it would look like it’s in disarray.

The action scenes have some great moments, but only if it was against actual human enemies. Fighting CGI goblins alleviate any sort of tension because of how fake everything looks, so it’s difficult trying not to imagine Hemsworth bear riding on someone wearing a huge green suit that resembles the Hulk if he exclusively had McDonalds food for the last five years. It even looks less impressive than the previous film’s action scenes where the heroes fought against the glass enemies.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War isn’t a good film nor is it any terrible. I wasn’t too bored by the action, humor, and costumes, but above all of those, this gritty fairy tale to a film no one really wanted leaves much to be told. Perhaps this tale should be left gathering dust in your local bookstore’s backroom.

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