The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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Evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) has an innocent sister, Freya (Emily Blunt), who believed in love. After a tragic betrayal in which she lost her baby, Freya’s dormant ice powers surfaced and she became the Ice Queen. To compensate for the loss of her daughter, she had children kidnapped from their families, and trained them as her Huntsmen. Two of her Huntsmen, Eric and Sara (Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain), fell in love, only to be separated by the bitter Freya. When Ravenna is resurrected, it is up to the heroes to save the day.

In theory, the movie could have been a critical success, boasting a star-studded cast. Unfortunately, the script couldn’t live up to its potential. One critic called it a mash up of Frozen, Brave and Narnia, and I agree. The plot is paper-thin, and barely coherent. The biggest problem was that it was both a prequel and a sequel to the first Huntsman movie. Despite some great acting, mostly by Emily Blunt, the movie failed to move me beyond casual indifference to the fate of any of the characters. The only time I felt compelled to pay attention was when Ravenna and Freya interacted with each other. They should have just based the story on the two sisters instead.

I went into the cinema with low expectations, because let’s admit it, the trailer itself doesn’t stand out to begin with. Yet, even with my low expectations, I was disappointed. The pacing was poor, with what little action we had interspersed with long periods of characters talking to each other. Worse, there were hardly any chemistry going on between Eric and Sara.

The action was just so-so. In the trailer, we are treated to some glimpses of epic battles and cool, albeit generic, fight scenes. Unfortunately, what you see in the trailer is pretty much all that you will get in the movie itself. Even the supposedly epic final confrontation turned out to be lackluster and disappointing. It felt like the action director/choreographer has used up all his or her best ideas early on and ran out of steam.

Another aspect that I like about the movie is the costume designs for the Queens, particularly Freya’s. Perhaps it’s partly due to Emily Blunt’s strong screen presence, but I had a hard time taking my eyes off the screen whenever she appears. From her chain-metal cloak to her icy-owl mask and her beautiful silver hair, she was a sight to behold. Ravenna was alluring, regal and seductive, thanks to Charlize Theron’s effective portrayal of the character. Unfortunately, these solid performances from these two accomplished actresses could not save the bland storyline.

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