Shortly after “Snow White and the Huntsman” premiered in 2012, it was completely shrouded in scandal. Lead character Kristen Stewart had an affair with her married director Rupert Sanders, forcing people to question the once-set plans for a sequel. However, after a few years and multiple director switches, Universal Pictures decided to give it a go.
“The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” which premiered on April 22, is both the prequel and the sequel to Snow White. Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth reprise their roles as the evil queen Ravenna and Eric the Huntsman. Sam Claflin returns as King William, and Nick Frost as dwarf Nion. Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain join the cast as well, playing the ice queen Freya and Sara, respectively.
The film starts many years before Snow White, and shifts halfway through to seven years after Ravenna’s death. It tells the story of Ravenna’s sister Freya, the origins of the huntsmen, Eric and Sara’s forbidden love and Ravenna’s resurrection. Freya’s ice powers and Ravenna’s dark magic calls for some pretty intense special effects, and this movie definitely delivers on that front.
Sadly, that is pretty much the only positive thing that can be said about this movie. The plot itself is incredibly predictable. While it’s understandable that the director had to make do without the full original cast, they could have done much better. A prime example of this is the introduction of Freya’s huntsmen. As soon as she tells them that love is forbidden in her kingdom, it is obvious that two of them will fall in love. It is also obvious that it will be her two best huntsmen, Eric and Sara.
Not only is the plot predictable, but it is often forced as well. In an attempt to tie this movie to Snow White, connections are made that do not feel natural. For anyone who saw “Snow White and the Huntsman,” they remember the scene where Ravenna disguises herself as William to trick Snow White into eating the poisoned apple. As the fairytale goes, only true love’s kiss could break her spell. Her beloved William’s kiss did not work, but for some reason, Eric’s did. That would imply that there is some kind of connection between Snow White and Eric. However, The Huntsman focuses so much on how Eric never stopped loving Sara and never mentions any kind of connection between him and Snow White. It just drops that little detail in hopes that audiences will forget about it.
Speaking of forced, let’s talk about the final battle for a minute. The entire movie builds to this massive battle at the end. The title even promises a war. Ravenna has been resurrected from the magic mirror, and along with Freya and her army, she plans to take her kingdom back from Snow White. However, after realizing that Ravenna was the one who killed her child, Freya turns on her. This incites an epic battle that lasts all of five minutes. That’s right. The climax of the entire movie lasts only five minutes. Granted, this is when some of the best special effects occur, but even that cannot save it.
Many people wanted this movie to be good, and with such a star-studded cast, it looked truly promising. However, in spite of Sara’s mantra, “I never miss,” this movie definitely misses.