By Jack Dignan
Snow White and the Huntsman, the 2012 live action tale of Snow White's violent rampage to take down the evil queen, was not that great of a movie. In fact, it was so unremarkable that I've all but forgotten it. I remember moments of it, but nothing major. The Huntsman: Winter's War was not a film I was looking forward to, not only because it just seemed like an unnecessary cash grab, but because it looked.... crap. But, I've seen it, and yes, it's every bit as unnecessary as one would imagine. It may have been advertised as a prequel, but don't be fooled, The Huntsman: Winter's War is far from it, 95% of events taking place after the first film.
It begins with two sisters, Freya (Emily Blunt) and Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Ravenna has embraced her magical powers, whereas Freya sill hasn't come to terms with them, but after a great tragedy enters her life, her powers arise, and she seeks vengeance. She decides to run off, setting up an army of children who will one day serve as great warriors. Among these warriors are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and his forbidden lover Sara (Jessica Chastain). It's up to them two, along with the help of a few familiar faces, to stop Freya and her sister from getting the evil mirror.
It may serve as both a prequel (barely) and a sequel, but don't let that trick you into thinking this is a necessary story to be told. The tale told in Snow White and the Huntsman wasn't an interesting one, nor was it really needed, but I can understand why it existed. I could understand why someone thought it would be a good idea to make that movie, and while I didn't like the end product all that much, the movie exists and we've all forgotten about it. The Huntsman: Winter's War is a completely unnecessary, ridiculously stupid and wholeheartedly unoriginal bore with plenty of moments of unintentional hilarity.
There's appearances from characters we know and (don't) love, yet none of them are relevant to the plot in the slightest, especially the appearance of Ravenna, who's really only in the movie to make yet another connection to the first film. Why? I'm not sure. The story, as lazy and clichéd as it is, did not need to have Freya be related to Ravenna. In fact, it would've worked better if she wasn't. Her evilness is explained, and while it's connected to Ravenna, it really didn't need to be, and Charlize Theron really didn't need this film to appear in her filmography. It won't help her get any jobs anytime soon. Maybe she should just stick to showing producers Mad Max instead. That'll work well for her.
The actors.... try, I guess, and the score isn't the worst thing in the world, but none of that seems to matter when the action is bland, the visual effects are poor and the writing is.... oh boy. Maybe it's best we don't mention just how terrible the writing in this movie is. There's no need to go to the trouble of explaining it. Just do yourself a favour and don't seek this movie out. If it's on TV and you want to have a good laugh at a bad movie, maybe this is the film for you. If that's not what you're after, avoid this at all costs. Unless someone else is paying. Then.... you decide. Maybe. They better be buying you food, though. You're going to need the distraction.
To sum up, The Huntsman: Winter's War is an unnecessary story with ties to the first film that just aren't needed. It's clichéd, predictable and horribly written, although to be fair, the actors do try, if that counts for anything.