Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War Review

Four years ago the film Snow White and the Huntsman was released and it made a fair amount of money, but in these days of bloated budgets and unreal financial expectations a total worldwide cume of under 400 million isn't much to get excited about. The film starred Kristen Stewart at a time when she was regarded as nothing more than the girl from the Twilight franchise, and I don't remember the specifics but I know that her lack of inclusion in a sequel was seen as a positive, as if she was the force on the picture imposing limitations. The irony of this of course is that now Stewart has proven herself to be one hell of an actress, delivering inspired supporting work in films like Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria, and here we are witnessing the release of The Huntsman: Winter's War, a movie that inspires absolutely nothing.

To be fair though, the failures of this film are not due to any performance issues as the cast is not only star-studded but completely worthy of delivering the goods, bringing back some gorgeous faces from the first film like Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron and adding in Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain (this war is not short on aesthetically pleasing humans). The problem is that the material they are given to work with is flat, dull and completely silly, but not in an amusing put a smile on your face sort of way. The jokes don't land and the drama won't make you care a lick, which is a troubling combination for a film trying to entertain in both ways.

I never expected a ton from this movie, but I will admit having some hope of at the very least finding it a bit compelling when I saw the cast additions. Emily Blunt is an outstanding talent and Jessica Chastain is one of my favorite actors working right now, but the screenplay for The Huntsman: Winter's War was dead on arrival. Splitting credit for these words are Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin, and the issue here isn't so much that the dialogue is outright bad, it's that it is downright bland. Everything I witnessed and all that was said have been done before and better, making watching the film more of an exercise in going through the motions rather than ever being moved in even the slightest way by the material. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I yawned more than I smiled during the 100 or so minutes of cinema here.

Consider the science of physical attraction and the chemical reaction we naturally experience when we see something beautiful, a cocktail of wonderful rushing through our system. By this logic, just merely putting such a cast on the screen should appeal to our senses in some fashion, not to mention the obscene amount of money pumped into modern visual effects and the choreographed action sequences designed to excite an audience.

It's almost literally physically impossible to be as bored as I was by The Huntsman: Winter's War.



  1. 4 years?! I didn't think it was that long ago...ouch. Honestly the only thing I can remember about that first movie was that there was a lot of walking....and walking....and landscapes.

    1. There is less walking here. They cut down on the walking budget. Honestly another big problem I didn't specifically mention in my review is that for a movie trying to be epic, it felt so small in scope and scale. Like a film that was intentionally trying to limit spending a bit in order to make profit, and sure enough this one cost 60 million less than the first did.