Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00

The Huntsman: Winter's War Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3 paws out of 4

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures and Roth Films present 114 minute, PG-13, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Drama with a touch of Romance and Comedy, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin with a theater release date of April 22, 2016.


The story starts out as a prequel before it turns into a sequel which is very smartly done. The Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) takes her king not only at a game of chess but in life as well and as they lay him to rest her beloved younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) is by her side. All the women in their family have been so called blessed with powers but Freya had no idea of what she carried inside her body. That is until she falls in love and bares a daughter a child that will never grow up to realize her own beauty. Consumed with grief and anger Freya has realized her powers, that of turning anything into ice and cold. Since she could not raise a child she decided to leave her sister and raise her own army to protect her kingdom. It is now that she has become Queen Freya by taking the children from the lands and raising them as her huntsmen and women. Freya known as the Ice Queen no longer believes in love but rather considers it a sin and it is loyalty to her that will bring joy to her kingdom. With the eyes of an owl Queen Freya watched her warriors grow into adults but two in particular Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) showed much promise that is until they fell in love. Does love conquer all? Not in the kingdom ruled by Queen Freya and not even Tull (Sope Dirisu) can help his friends against what comes next.

Love is nothing more than a fairy tale! Or is it? Seven years later we find The Huntsman in the kingdom of Snow White. If you did not see the first film than this moment may be slightly confusing to you since the Evil Queen Ravenna is gone and actually so is the mirror. The King seeks out The Huntsman, Eric, to find it and he knows he must before Queen Freya finds it first. So this is where the journey begins with Eric who mourns the loss of Sara sets off accompanied by two dwarfs Nion (Nick Frost) and Gryff (Rob Brydon) to find the mirror. What he finds along the way is the past which he believed was gone forever. Eric and the dwarfs also stumble upon two other dwarfs Mrs. Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach) that assist them on their course but after a battle with the goblins what they eventually wake up to is Queen Freya who takes back what is hers and it isn’t just the mirror.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? What Queen Freya discovers is what she once thought was lost forever as well. Yet what she eventually discovers in a sibling rivalry over power is that beauty was truly the beast then and now leaving she to realize how lucky one may be that finds true love. In the end it is love that sets them free.

I was a bit surprised that a few of the other critics around me did not like this film. Personally I thought it had it all, romance, drama, levity, action, intrigue, grief and betrayal all packed into one. Maybe it was a bit hard for others to understand the concept of fantasy mixed with a touch of reality involving love and hatred. Anyway, this story was much better than the last film maybe because they left out the lifeless Kristen Stewart from the film although it refers to her at times. The direction was extremely well done and the writing wonderful although like many stories of this nature maybe fifteen minutes too long! The score is excellent and the costumes superb either way I found myself on a journey as well. If a film can take you out of the craziness of your real world if only for as long as it exists on the big screen then it has done a lot of its job by helping the audience escape into a world of fantasy for a short time. It did that for me by making me forget about the evil in reality of life by taking this fantastical journey into another world which contains a lot of evil but at least not mine.

After speaking with my friend Okeye after the film ended he mentioned that Hemsworth had his work cut out for him surrounded by three very strong women. He did and for the most part played it well with strength and a touch of softness where needed. Theron as always is truly a beauty but boy she knows how to play ugly well. She is spot on! Chastain is one of my favorites in Hollywood and although she may be a bit over-written in this role and slightly over-acted I still love her. Blunt does justice to her character especially since she lived in confusion for the most part, wanting love but over-taken by grief turning her life into anger. Yes very much like the movie “Frozen”. Frost, Brydon, Smith and Roach are the perfect foursome to bring levity into the script and that they did. There are a few characters I would have liked to see more of like Dirisu but either way the supporting cast was perfect for what was expected of them. The film contains an array of animal actors both real and CGI that bring beauty and a touch of scary to the film but still leaving the evil in this story line to the human actors and the roles they played.

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