Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)

Because Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) was apparently such a great character, those behind 'Snow White and the Huntsman' have decided to give him a film named solely after him. This one briefly covers Eric's background as he is raised as a child soldier in Ice Queen Freya's (Emily Blunt) army before he finds love (something that is forbidden by Freya because of her own history of being broken-hearted and all) with Jessica Chastain's Merida wannabe who goes by the name of Sara. After the backstory is out of the way, the film turns its attention to everybody going after the magic mirror and, as the trailers like to show off, the return of Charlize Theron's Evil Queen Ravenna (who is barely in the film so what you see in the marketing is the entire climax, along with every other detail in the film).

A sequel that very few people (if any at all) probably wanted following the plagiaristic first film that few people actually remember. But if it makes money, then it usually spawns some kind of offspring. And, after watching 'Frozen', the filmmakers decided they'd throw in an Ice Queen while they're still hot property. Oh, and there's no Kristen Stewart this time.

The best thing I can probably say about 'The Huntsman' is that I found it to be a bit more watchable than the first film (at least, from what I remember about watching the first film). But, at the end of the day, this was a dull and cringey affair that seems to believe it some badass, 'mature' (but not too mature - it wants that 12A rating) fairytale and generally takes itself more seriously than it should, though at least not as seriously as 'Snow White and the Huntsman' took itself.

For what it is/wants to be, it's a film surprisingly small-in-scale. For all the character's talk of armies and kingdoms, to whole world feels small and empty, as if you're watching a video game from 20 years ago where you have the main character and then a couple of locals. In this case, you have some forest, an ice castle, an inn/pub with no visitors, and some shots of a couple of huts. Not much really goes on in any of these places.

Within each setting, the film plays out generic scenes in a clunky fashion. Even if the trailer hadn't shared everything with everyone, you'd still be sitting there knowing how it all plays out. But that doesn't stop the film from going on, allowing the cast to look like idiots (and having a couple of them put on some faux Scottish accents - because that worked so well the first time) as they regurgitate words from a silly screenplay (it's like something written by some GCSE student taking themselves too seriously). It was hard enough having to see things through the '3D' glasses (I didn't have much choice because of the showtimes). It's even harder when you spend half the film cringing at the large chunks of embarrassment it presents.

There isn't much I can add to that. At the end of the day, it's just another bland, forgettable fantasy flick to chuck in the pile with all the others like it.

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