Film Review “The Huntsmen: Winter’s War”

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First, the Recap:

Jealousy. Envy. The lust for power and the drive to cast away that which was lost, replacing all love with the desire to take revenge on those who’ve wronged us in the often misguided notion that it will actually bring the inner peace we’re truly seeking. In years before Snow White would come to establish her kingdom after the defeat of true evil, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) looked to live and rule their lands with temperance, though Ravenna’s reliance on the power of the Mirror hides darker intent. Only when love forms between Freya and a young man does Ravenna’s rage and covetousness come to light, and the tragedy that follows pushes Freya over the edge.

Now reborn with a newly released power made manifest in her pain and anguish, Queen Freya begins to amass a new, though forced, army of elite warriors called Huntsmen. Among the most adept from childhood training to adulthood are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), whose skills eclipse all others. But, they also have formed a hidden love, forbidden under Freya’s icy, embittered reign. Discovered and separated, 7 years pass, and a freed Eric soon finds himself in the company of four Dwarves, Nion (Nick Frost), Gryff (Rob Brydon), Mrs. Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith), and Doreena (Alexandra Roach), plus an old friend, as they venture forth to locate the since stolen Mirror.

But it’s menacing power brings back an angry, revenge-minded foe, and soon, a new battle rages, as the comrades fight against Freya and the resurrected Ravenna for the lives of not only themselves, but every kingdom in the world, and a restoration of love as the powerful force for change and good in the world.

Next, my Mind:

A huge “Thank You!!” to first time major film director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan for delivering to us a wonderfully straight-forward, honestly dramatic, visually fun, and character-driven fantasy film that gives us the best elements of the otherwise dreadful “Snow White & The Huntsmen” plus adding new cast and better overall plot to help us truly forget its dismal predecessor.  With a its mix of humor, mild pathos, love story, action, and intensity, the narrative moves along at a solid pacing like a lighter version of “The Lord of the Rings”, providing satisfying characters to root for, feel sorry for, or flat out love to hate, while infusing it with monsters, action pieces, and at least slightly deeper indication of purpose that might not be expected. Suffice it to say, one can also tell Troyan’s previous and excellent special effects work on “Maleficent” and “Snow White” is present in this effort as well.

Hemsworth and Chastain as Eric and Sara both command the screen well, playing off each other and the relationship the two characters have with effective and not overbearing emotive moments as well as great fight sequences. I personally believed their connection, and that’s often what needs to be most plausible when dealing with two character’s love being genuine for each other and not seem forced or overtly melodramatic.  The same can be said for Theron and Blunt in their respective evil Queens, as both so emphatically project the rage, vanity, hatred for love, and sheer force of will to rule embodied within each of them, only for one to ultimately get the real truth behind her suffering revealed. You can tell Theron especially relishes the role of Ravenna, as her purposefully exaggerated delivery just exudes the pure, delicious evil she represents, making the viewer both cringe yet smile inwardly in the giddy entertainment of it all.

Add the wonderful supporting characters from Frost, Brydon, Smith, and Roach and what we end up with is a fantasy/adventure film exactly as it should be–a pure, unadulterated, enjoyable diversion from reality for a spell–which “The Huntsmen: Winter’s War” most certainly presents in fine fashion.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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