Movie Review: “The Huntsman–Winter’s War”


1star6Even Kristen Stewart knew the world was in no need of a sequel to that dreary “Snow White and the Huntsman” movie she made.

But being pointless turns out to be the least of the shortcomings of “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.”

A hackwork script of stock characters spouting lines that aren’t funny and wouldn’t pass muster in a junior high English class, actors forced to stand stock still because they’re playing dwarves and Universal, which didn’t make “The Lord of the Rings,” apparently couldn’t hire anybody who knew how to let them move around — you know, act — a plot borrowed from “Frozen” with scenes from “Lord of the You Know Who,” well, you get the picture.

A sequel that’s a prequel, because well, they got confused.

Two hours of this, with poor Chris Hemsworth, manfully manning up as the manly Huntsman, a Scots-accented hero with a sometimes bemused self-awareness — think Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast.” There’s Jessica Chastain as his beloved, the one the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt) took from him before “Snow White and the Huntsman,” an ax-wielding warrior Scots lass who is pretty handy with a bow.

“I never miss.”

Returning is Charlize Theron, the vanquished and vain evil queen, the one so dependent on her “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” who lords it over her baby sister (Blunt), teaching her that true love is a lie.

“Love blinds even the most trusting eye,” Liam Neeson narrates. But consider that sentence. It makes no sense. The most trusting eye would OF COURSE be blinded by love.

“Love ends in betrayal,” Chastain’s Scots-sounding redhead declares, “aye, and always.”

Those are just the first head-slappingly-stupid English-Must-Be-Our-Second-Language groaners from typists Evan Spiliotpoulos and Craig Mazin–may-they-never-work-in-movies-again.

The Evil Queen wants the Ice Queen to lend her a hand, or her army of trained killers, her “Huntsmen,” just until she gets back on her evil feet.

“I will regain my kingdom again!”

The Ice Queen, in a daze from a long-ago betrayal, doesn’t stop to say “‘Again’ is unnecessary in that sentence, Sister. That’s what REGAIN means.”

Ice Queen wants the mirror to help her “Save every child” within her reach from the dread consequences of love. The Huntsman, with dwarf sidekicks Nick Frost (“Shaun of the
Dead”, “Cuban Fury”) and Rob Brydon (“The Trip,” “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story”), Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach, must get to the mirror first.

The dwarves are meant to be comic relief, but our intrepid hacks can think of nothing funny for them to say. And our effects team can manage nothing funny or daring for them to do. They’d have to walk and talk and fight and it just seems beyond them.

The mirror effects are still striking, Theron, Blunt, Hemsworth and Chastain still fairy-tale beautiful.

But “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” is the very picture of a movie that should have never been made. It never, for one second, gives us a reason to think otherwise.


MPAA Rating:PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality

Cast: Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Bryden
Credits: Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, script by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin. A Universal release.

Running time: 1:54. A Universal release.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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