Did you, or anyone you know, see Snow White & The Huntsman? I mean, I know a few of us might have soldiered our way to the cinema to ensure that our viewing of everything that’s every featured K-Stew was seen, but for the rest of the sanity holding world, I’m pretty show this was a no-go. So, no-go, why do you get another show?
I think it’s safe to say that the question you should have looming over your the entire time you’re watching The Huntsmen: Winter’s War is “Why does this movie exist?” Why does a fairly undeveloped character, from a massively underwhelming film, a film that made chump change in today’s billion dollar market, need a sequel? I guess there’s something to say about the vacuum of fantasy franchises clogging the market. And it could be that with Lord of the Rings a distant memory, some bearded exec is hoping another film with dwarves and goblins and hirsute men fighting could be the proverbial “gold mine.” Another question to ask would be: why does a prequel/sequel that no one seems to want have a cast that features Chris Hemsworth (the titular Huntsmen), Jessica Chastain (the titular Huntsman’s boo), Emily Blunt (bad ice lady), Charlize Theron (bad gold lady, returning for another dose of evil), and a bevy of some truly great Brits resigned to peripheral comedic roles? I couldn’t tell you, but they’re here and they somehow manage to elevate this cliche-riddled, romantic fantasy to somewhere just below decent. In the past, bad things happen and because of the bad things Freya (Blunt) is turned into the Ice Queen and she recruits an army of children (ahem, Huntsmen) to kill her enemies (because, if I watched this right, that’s what people do). Love, forbidden as it might be happens between the Huntsman (the famous one) and another huntsman (the Jessica Chastain one) and they’re banished from the kingdom and, well, seven years later, uh, and then, dwarves, and mirrors and fighting and, hell, it all just blurs down into another CGI-heavy attempt to get a little bit of that nostalgic LOTR money. And you know, as a one time purveyor of bottom of the barrel fantasy novels (Dragonlance, I miss you!), the Huntsman’s trek, with his trusty dwarves at his side, to find the Magic Mirror and return it to Sanctuary kind of works. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, or do anything of particular note, but it has an okay time playing around in the old fantasy sandbox and yeah you’re going to walk out and try to remember if you just saw Willow or Lord of the Rings, but hey, a bunch of great actors wearing funny outfits and hitting each other is actually pretty alright.
One Last Thought:
This film is pretty much hamstrung by its sequel/prequel structure. The entire time I sat there wondering if something someone was saying (I write those innocuous words because none of the names of any character really stuck in my craw) was an allusion to the first film and that I was supposed to say, “Oh! That makes sense, that expands this universe to a new level!” If it did though, I couldn’t tell, and this film, which posited as just an original bit of fantasy filmmaker could’ve been at least a mild a surprise, just sloughs down the drain, another sequel no one is going to give a shit about.