Mirror mirror on the wall, does true love really conquer all?
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a prequel (but interestingly also a sequel) to Snow White and the Huntsman. From the producers of Maleficent and with an outstanding cast comprising of Chris Hemsworth (the Huntsman), Charlize Theron (the Evil Queen), Emily Blunt (the Ice Queen) and Jessica Chastain (the Warrior), The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an inspiring new take on two classic fairy tales, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen and Snow White by the Brothers Grimm.
The film follows two sisters; Ravenna, the Evil Queen, who is hell bent on power and being the fairest in all the lands, and Freya, the Ice Queen, who after suffering great heartbreak and loss is determined to rule a kingdom of her own and drive out the concept of love in her subjects. Whilst Ravenna was defeated by Snow White, Freya continued her icy rule in the far north, raising an army of huntsman. Despite Freya’s one rule to never fall in love, two of her best warriors, Eric, the Huntsman, and Sara, an expert archer, do just that and marry in secret.
As a blockbuster film, The Huntsman: Winter’s War thrilled with spectacular action sequences. Chris Hemsworth charmed as the Huntsman with his rugged good looks, humourous wit and dazzling smile. His portrayal of a committed man who believed in the power of love and refused to give up on his marriage, is worth noting. Unlike previous renditions of the Huntsman, Hemsworth’s role in this film added more depth to his character and gave him purpose. Though, I would have liked to see a bit more emotion, something that I personally think Hemsworth lacks in his acting repertoire.
As for the women in this film, their characters were remarkable. Emily Blunt’s depiction of a heartbroken Freya whose heart turns ice cold is well done. Despite her attempts to be cruel and evil, there appeared to be a semblance of good within her, as if there was constantly an internal struggle between wanting to love and wanting to rid love. Either that or Blunt may not have done a very good job of playing a true villain. Her on screen sister, however, was ravenous for power and exuded pure evil. Charlize Theron was born to play the Evil Queen. Her portrayal of Ravenna was so well done that it didn’t take much to despise her. What I really enjoyed most of all though, was Jessica Chastain’s superb performance as a brilliant warrior, not unlike Merida from Disney’s Brave. From her talented archery skills and red hair, it’s hard not to compare the two (if you’re a Disney and fairy tale fan such as myself).
The visual effects were rather good. The magical world in which The Huntsman: Winter’s War is set did appear fantastic with a slew of interesting creatures, including goblins and dwarves. The dwarves, I think, were the highlight of the film, what with their crude humour and bumbling buffoonery. As in most versions of the tale of Snow White, dwarves seem to make the perfect sidekicks, if not for being helpful then certainly for providing comedic relief.
The theme and moral of the story in The Huntsman: Winter’s War is that, while many who have been burnt by love believe that it is but a fairy tail that blinds the weak and the foolish, it is also a source of great power and provides people with their very own happily ever after. We see this point illustrated rather well through the plot and narration of the film, which attempts to take viewers on an emotional roller-coaster ride as we sympathise with Freya, Eric and Sara.
When watching The Huntsman: Winter’s War, my advice is to not read too much into the film and simply enjoy it as a means of entertainment and story-telling. There were several positive aspects of the film which led to my enjoyment, however, upon critical review, I certainly feel that it could have done better. Nevertheless, the film did well to remind me of my own thoughts about heartbreak, love and happily ever afters. As a whole, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, will please fairy tale fans, especially those who have a penchant for Chris Hemsworth.