Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Frozen Hearted

Despite mostly middling reviews, the 2012 Snow White fantasy epic (one of two released that year) ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ exceeded all expectations and went on to gross nearly $400 million at the box office against a budget of $170 million.  With a deliciously nasty villain played by the ever lovely Charlize Theron, SW&TH overcame the miscasting of Kristen Stewart as Snow White and the near simultaneous release of another Snow White film, the lighter and more kid-friendly ‘Mirror Mirror’ starring Julia Roberts.
So it should come as no surprise that a sequel is in order.  In ‘The Huntsman: Winter's War,’ we discover how Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) came to be and what drives him (i.e. love).  We also go back in time to see how the vain and scheming Queen Ravenna (Theron) manipulated her own sister Freya (Emily Blunt) to become the cold and heartless Ice Queen of the North through a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, who then went on to build a mighty conquering army of Huntsmen (and Huntswomen) plucked while they're children and trained in the art of war.  When the Magic Mirror was taken while being transported by Snow White’s men, Eric and his beloved Sara (Jessica Chastain) must join forces to recover the artifact with the help of a quartet of hearty dwarves, including one who bears a striking resemblance to Nick Frost.  Wait, didn’t SW&TH also featured dwarves aplenty?  What is it with huntsmen and dwarves, anyway?

Beautifully filmed and replete with stunning costume and set designs, not to mention three gorgeous femme fatales in Theron, Blunt and Chastain (plus something for the ladies as well in Hemsworth, eh?), 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' is a fantasy adventure quest/tragedy/love story with all the markings of a crowd-pleaser despite being panned by the critics.

Grade: A-

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