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A fairy-tale without a story, a sequel with no reason to exist and “Who’s the dullest franchise of them all?” are just a few of the terms being used to describe The Huntsman sequel, Winter’s War, released in theaters nationwide on Friday.
“Even Charlize Theron’s deliciously evil Queen Ravenna and the hunky Chris Hemsworth can’t save it,” says the Seattle Times, giving the film 1.5 stars out of 4.
Sean McBride, The Movie Guy at The Port Arthur News, writes that “pretty costumes and special effects can’t hide the fact that this is a film about uninteresting characters trudging through a story that never really gathers any momentum,” adding that “unless you’re a big fan of cool costumes and not much else,” you’ll derive very little pleasure in watching it.
This new film begins before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman, with the added star power of Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain — but even they aren’t enough to enliven it.
Charlize Theron’s Queen Ravenna disappears after just a few brief scenes, not to return until the final act, leaving many of her fans wishing they’d left with her, while Kristen Stewart seems to have magically disappeared. Her character is seen just once, and from the back, with little explanation — perhaps they thought audiences wouldn’t notice?
Of course, we all know it was the cheating scandal involving director Rupert Sanders that resulted in her not reprising the Snow White role. And Sanders has also been discarded, replaced by first-timer Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.
When you’re trying desperately to keep your eyes from closing before Ravenna finally makes her return, you might try to decipher the Shrek-like accent Chris Hemsworth has developed, while contemplating the fact that his good looks really don’t make him any less awkward and awful in the title role, as Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun notes.
If you’re still thinking about going to see it, you might want to consider these final thoughts from the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Christopher Lawrence, who sums it up well:
“The magic mirror from The Huntsman: Winter’s War is really more of a shiny metal disc,” he writes. “It looks quite a bit like a gong. If only Chuck Barris were there to save us from the movie’s lazy Frozen rip-offs and general cut-rate Tolkien aesthetic.
“Honestly, after 10 minutes of The Huntsman, all I could think about was how fantastic it would be for a computer-generated Phyllis Diller to appear, bang that gong, summon Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and send everybody home.”