Thursday, May 19, 2016

Film: "The Huntsman: Winter's War"

A long, long time ago….wait…that’s the beginning to a much, much, very much better film!

To my chagrin and quite Intriguingly, Universal Pictures found a premise for the excuse that is “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”, a prequel to its original (and much better) “Snow White and the Huntsman”. And because it boasts such a stellar cast (including the baritone narration of Liam Neeson), I was expecting the movie would be much more worthy of my time than its predecessor.  Alas, I was proven wrong and I shall never get that 1 hour and 51 minutes of my life back. 

Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt collide in 

"The Huntsman: Winter's War" from Universal Studios. 
Let’s begin with the plot. The ruthless Ravenna (Charlize Theron reprising her prior role from “Snow White…”) has a younger sister named Freya (Emily Blunt) who bears a child with a dashing soldier.  When the child is killed, Freya’s hidden latent power – which in this case is the inherent ability to create/destroy using ice – is unleashed and she exiles herself to the lands north of Ravenna’s dominion.  
The ubiquitous Emily Blunt plays Freya, the sister to Charlize Theron's Ravenna, whose ice power are unleashed with the death of her baby daughter. 
In capturing the kingdoms that stand in her path, she kidnaps all of the children and trains them to become her army. “There is one rule in my kingdom,” Freya commands, “…there can be no love.” Yup, well, they don’t call her the Ice Queen for nothing! And so it goes until Sara and Eric – two of Freya's captured - grow up together in Freya’s army and realize they have fallen in love (uh oh….no, no, no!).  But their plans to escape go awry, and they are separated. 

Several years later, and Freya has become frantic in search of Ravenna's all-powerful, all-knowing Mirror Mirror, a prized possession which should have been left in a place that would have quelled its evil power had it not been stolen by some goblins. Eric and Sara - who have now grown into Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain – have since reunited and must now join forces (with some very wise-cracking dwarves) in order to prevent Freya from finding the Mirror…and yet again, predictably as always, they fail and everything comes down to one final, epic, winner-take-all battle….blah, blah, blah…..

Chris Hemsworth as "Eric" and Jessica Chastain as "Sara". 

One could argue that Sara was a feminist of her generation. 

.....and oh, BTW...Ravenna was not killed or "died" per se....nope, she BECAME part of the Mirror and is unwittingly released from its capture by Freya herself (you know...."Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...Who's the Fairest of them All...?) you can cue the final battle....

The Sisters will battle their enemies first before battling each other for the final prize!
Charlize Theron as, what a byatch! 
I am unsure why this particular prequel was created unless it was supposedly an obscure homage to Disney’s “Frozen”.  The actors do their best with the flimsy lines and muted action sequences. Ravenna is just one, huge bitch and Theron is perfectly fine in doling out the wickedness both in word and in 'action'. Blunt, who for the most part carries almost all of the 'evilness' in the movie, is on point with her iciness and trepidation. Hemsworth carries the same laissez-faire towards Eric which he did not do in the prequel and Chastain, I guess, was just added simply in response to the lack of a Snow White as another character.  The final scene between the two queens left me wanting a bit…no, a LOT….more than what was given. And the predictable ending was as lackadaisical as a camel taking a stroll in the desert. There's even a 'hint' - be it ever so slight - that there might be yet another entry into this overworked franchise looming down the forest path! 

Perhaps the only element, er elements, of this movie that made it absolutely bearable for this watcher was the banter and hilarity of the dwarves - Rob Brydon (Gryff), Nick Frost (Nion), Sheridan Smith (Bromwyn) and Alexandra Roach (Doreena) - who displayed an awesomeness of bravery as well as a lot of compassion. Plus, they had some very funny and witty lines!  

I say ditch the Queens, keep the dwarves, shatter the Mirror and keep Hansel and, I mean....Eric and Sara...maybe THEY could possibly be a better movie!