The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a prequel and a sequel at the same time. Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Nick Frost return in main roles from the original cast of 2012’s so-so Snow White and the Huntsman.
The story begins in the middle, with Charlize Theron’s wicked Queen Ravenna killing her husband and setting up the Snow White scenario. A crisis and a death send Ravenna’s sister Freya north. She’s played wonderfully by Emily Blunt. Freya’s special power is controlling ice, and she becomes the Ice Queen.
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She loathes love and conquers territory, turns all land to an icy tundra, kills parents and captures children to rescue them from the pain of love. Once under her control, Freya turns the children into warriors.
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Hemsworth’s (Thor and The Avengers movies) Huntsman is one of those children. He grows up in Freya’s kingdom and becomes a great warrior. The Huntsman’s name is Eric, and he falls in love with Jessica Chastain’s Sara. It’s a kingdom no-no. Freya puts an end to it, and the story then fast-forwards to the days after Ravenna’s fall.
The magic mirror is missing, and if it falls into Freya’s hands, it’ll be death and slavery for the world. The Huntsman is asked to track it down and put it in a safe haven.
Not much in the way of surprises dot The Huntsman’s landscape. However, while not exactly how the Brothers Grimm imagined Snow White when it was penned in 1812, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, his two writers and a terrific cast set you to wandering an ancient fairytale world in a movie packed with enough good humor and swashbuckling to almost make up for the first film’s flaws.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Drydon, Sope Dirisu
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.