A grand gesture to appeal to fans of fairytales, not quite enough for anyone else.
No one really wanted a sequel to the 2012 critical failure Snow White and the Huntsman, but we got one anyway. This time star Kristen Stewart won’t be reprising her role as the fairest in the Kingdom, rather it will focus on Chris Hemsworth the ever ripped Aussie as The Huntsman as he battles newcomer Emily Blunt the frost Queen alongside his former lover Jessica Chastain – Sara.
Campy isn’t necessarily bad, with good complimentary features around the edges it could even lead the elements onto splendour. Winter’s War didn’t quite get there, it’s used extreme characters, emotions and actions to its advantage, but didn’t really gather much plot in its essence to bring out the fantastical experience it’s going for.
Somewhat disjointed, the opening as well as the film in its entirety has a rather unsatisfactory and tedious balance between the past and the present – since it is technically a pre-sequel. There’s quite the volume of flashbacks to explain the ongoing objectives on screen, yet at the same time vice versa; it’s as if both times are conflictingly attempting to embellish each other, however providing little contrast or tension in return.
In addition, the story of Snow White has already been told in the original film, naturally the sequel will lack the flair – which in Snow White and the Huntsman’s case was pretty messy, so let’s disregard that. But despite which, Winter’s War had a mass of well-casted characters who didn’t get the chance to explore the complexity and depth of the story, or any exiting part of it for that matter since there’s jut not much to talk about resulting in some utterly useless scenes dragging screen time.
On the other hand, in these scenes there has always been nice visuals to be enjoyed – with some nods to Frozen but in a much more gothic tone. Costumes were exquisite and there were some wonderfully choreographed actions recorded with some not so wonderfully produced cinematography. Makeup and hairstyles was of an excellent standard, not quite as long lasting to play any major part in the story but the efforts and its results are worth applauding, shame that these are showcased mostly on Charlize Theron as the evil Queen, who doesn’t make much of an appearance until the third act where by then the story has already been stretched pretty far out of our interest.
Relationships between the characters are somewhat illogical, for Freya the ice queen and the evil queen to be a tad extreme plays fine with most foks, that’s what being campy’s all about; but to some extent the entire casts’ actions have been single-minded and stubborn, rather hard for the audiences to relate to and keep up with, not to mention root for. Specifically, Huntsman and Sara could have had more bonding time for the emotions to grow on us which would have made the fairy-tale love more realistic or at least watchable rather than muddled.
In the end though villains – Emily Blunt as Ice Queen and Charlize Theron certainly do project some degree of uneasiness or even fear, we don’t really care about what they threaten in this battle between kingdoms since the foundation hasn’t been laid – the huntsman and his wife aren’t the best representation to be found as agents of justice, nor do the dwarves whose entire level of presence is minimal anyway.
Overall it’s a very campy, predictable film, there are some excellent visuals however the plot feels too discontinuous and fragmented to be appreciated and in the end there just wasn’t much to talk about nor was there much to amaze anybody.
In theatres Australia wide from 8th of April
MPAA Rating: PG-13
ACB Rating: M
Run Time: 114 min
An overzealous film critic wannabe, Henry Pan makes a trip down cinema lane once a week, in order to decrease his ever-increasing massive watch list. You can follow him and hear all about his rants on films, life and pet dogs on Twitter @LifeOfPan.