THE MOVIE GUY: Pretty costumes can’t save ‘The Huntsman’

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

The 2012 movie, “Snow White and the Huntsman” made waves by putting a feminist-warrior spin on the Snow White fairytale. It was also quite profitable and featured a then-unknown actor named Chris Hemsworth, so it’s no surprise that a sequel would eventually hit theaters.

The surprise is that the new film, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” dropped Snow White from the story altogether. The feminist point of view is pushed to the background in favor of a traditional hero story and the result is a muddled mash up of multiple stories and timelines.

I can’t claim to be a big fan of the original film, but it was certainly better than this special-effects-heavy dud.

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This new film actually begins before the events of “Snow White and the Huntsman.” We meet two sister queens, Ravena (Charlize Theron) and Freya (Emily Blunt). One is evil and one is good, until Freya’s infant child is murdered, turning her heart to ice. Freya flees to the woods and becomes the ice queen. She gathers up an army of child soldiers with the edict that romance is forbidden.

Naturally two of Freya’s best warriors, the Huntsman, Eric, (Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) fall hard for each other, putting them at odds with their ice queen. The Huntsman goes off for his adventure in the original film, but after the credits roll, he gets a chance to reclaim his lost love.

I suppose that has the potential for a good story, but it certainly doesn’t work here. The romance between Eric and Sara falls flat because Hemsworth and Chastain have very little on-screen chemistry. Their accents (Irish? Scottish?) don’t even match. At least they know how to handle the battle scenes.

The special effects are still pretty cool, which is to be expected, as the new director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan was the effects coordinator on the original film. This sequel is certainly looks spectacular, with the two queen’s gowns and magical powers making this film into a sort of “Game of Thrones” gussied up for fashion week.

Pretty costumes and special effects can’t hide the fact that this is a film about uninteresting characters trudging through a story that never really gathers any momentum. Perhaps if the romance had been believable, or if the film had focused more on the two sister queens, then there might have been enough campy melodrama to make this into a guilty pleasure.

Alas, there is very little pleasure in “The Huntsman: Winter’s Tale,” unless you’re a big fan of cool costumes and not much else.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at