The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama


The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016) Poster

Eric and fellow warrior Sara, raised as members of ice Queen Freya's army, try to conceal their forbidden love as they fight to survive the wicked intentions of both Freya and her sister Ravenna.


6.1/10
99,715

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6 April 2016 | missashton92
7
| A slick and enjoyable fantasy romp, let down by a muddled plot and basic dialogue.
The Huntsman: Winter's War is great fodder for fans of the genre; the slenderly plotted film moves along at a nice pace and the cast do a decent job with what they're given. Although it's undoubtedly a cash-grab sequel (do not believe the "before Snow White" marketing), it manages to argue its case for existing fairly well. Contractual obligations aside, Hemsworth and Theron resume their roles with great gusto, with Hemsworth arguably vastly improving on his performance in the first film. Throw in Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain and you're confronted with a pretty enviable - if surprising - cast for a film of this level.

The basic driving plot of the film is centred on Eric's (the previously anonymous Huntsman from the first outing) dubiously arranged quest to locate and return the powerful magic mirror, before it falls into the wrong (icy) hands. Accompanied by some foul-mouthed dwarfs, the scenes in the forests and fields are probably some of the better sequences in the film, if only for their tonal consistency rather than their originality. These portions of the film focus on action and comedy, and the camaraderie comes across well enough.

This quest is framed at both the start and end of the film by a strange and rather hastily delivered - yet nonetheless enjoyable - story of two sisters and a sad betrayal. Ravenna (Theron) and Freya (Blunt) are supposedly the closest of siblings who become parted by a very dark event that awakens a great power within Freya. Fleeing her sister's kingdom in a mix of despair, anger and confusion, Freya sets up home in the mysterious "North" and uses her new strength to gather children to train as her army. It is here that the two stories are tied together, with stolen children Eric and Sara (Chastain) growing to become two of her trusted Huntsmen. The scenes in the North are mostly effective and judiciously used; the muted colour palette here isn't allowed to become boring, and this mini saga is undoubtedly uplifted by Blunt's delicate performance.

If you have seen the trailers for this film and are keen to experience the full thing, go in with realistic expectations and you'll have a fun two hours; I am certain that the vast majority of prominent critics will despise this film, but it wasn't made for them. Yes, it's a patchwork production of popular elements from other sources and is generally a rather campy affair, but that's what makes it such an inoffensive and entertaining film. There is plenty to like here, if you give it a chance.

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Box Office

Budget:

$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,445,035 24 April 2016

Gross USA:

$48,390,190

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$164,989,338

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