The Brothers Grimm certainly didn’t envision a franchise when they compiled the Snow White fairytale way back when. Decades later, the heavily hyped The Huntsman: Winter's War
, a spin-off/prequel to 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman
, has just hit theaters. A pastiche of other fantasy adventure tales (think Hunger Games
), the movie fails to deliver more than fantasy film clichés.
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who served as visual effects supervisor on Snow White and the Huntsman
, directs this film that centers on Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), two warriors who live under the thumb of evil ice queen Freya (Emily Blunt) and struggle to find a way out of her control.
The film begins by telling Freya’s backstory. In love with the Duke of Blackwood (Colin Morgan), with whom she had an affair, she had a child with him hoping he would leave his wife. But when he breaks her heart, she takes the advice of her power-hungry sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and builds an ice palace, putting together a fierce army of children and teaching them that love is nothing more than myth. When she learns that her two best warriors, Eric and Sara, have fallen in love, she separates them, banishing Eric and imprisoning Sara.
The two eventually reunite and set out on a quest to find a magical mirror that possesses special powers. At this point, the film becomes something like The Hobbit
as the group has to travel great distances and endure many obstacles (goblins and what-not) if it hopes to get the mirror before Freya.
Nicolas-Troyan successfully creates an alternate world of fantastic ice castles and haunted forests, and the film possesses plenty of suspense. But the characters too often indulge in platitudes as they talk about love and loyalty.