Josh’s Movie Review Catch-Up Extravaganza, The Hunstman: Winter’s War
by Josh Morris
In “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” the producers are trying their damnedest to create a cinematic world as rich and full as “Lord of the Rings,” dwarves, goblins and all. They attempted the same with its predecessor “Snow White and The Huntsman” (2012); both times they have fallen short. Shoot for the moon though, yeah?
The movie begins somewhere in time decades before the events of “Snow White” but takes place mostly seven years after the events of that film. In the beginning, a bitter, broken-hearted Freya the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt) is stealing all the land’s children and training them to be her unstoppable army. Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) was one of these children, as was Sara (Jessica Chastain) the Katniss wannabe. Years later, when Eric and Sara fall in love, they are separated by dark magic and Eric becomes the lonely, aimless huntsman we see in “Snow White.” Around seven years later, Queen Ravenna is brought back to life to assist her sister Freya in taking control of all kingdoms. Eric is called upon by Queen White via King William (Sam Claflin) to stop them.
The story is obviously a bit chaotic, jumping back and forth between protagonists and throughout time frequently. The plot developments, however, are predictable due to their formulaic, assembly-line nature, but there’s just* enough surprise in them to make it tolerable. And the actors, at least, put some effort in. Hemsworth and Chastain have great charisma together, and bring a light-heartedness to the otherwise chilly, dark soap opera. Theron is once again slippery, wicked yet majestic as Queen Ravenna. And will there ever exist a film that isn’t improved by a Blunt performance? No, but unfortunately, I can’t answer the same for Liam Neeson whose “uncredited” role as Narrator is a waste of his mesmerizing voice; yes, his struggle to redeem the awful lines written for him is admirable but even he can’t overpower his own unnecessity.
I sneered with contempt that anyone was actually supposed to believe Jessica Chastain’s Sara was killed in the first act of “Huntsman.” How silly, of course there would be some cliché, cinematic resurrection, right? And certainly The Huntsman himself was going to live on for future sequels, no? So please don’t waste precious screen time grubbing drama. Make it fun, make it exciting, move on.
If you would, please indulge my speculations for a moment and consider the fate of Han Solo. It was just announced that Alden Ehrenreich will be portraying a young Han Solo in the 2018 spin-off/ tweenquel. I suspect the film will most likely suffer the same lacking. Not that it can’t or won’t be a good movie, that is yet to be seen; but since audiences were just* exposed to this character’s death in “The Force Awakens”, knowing how and when Solo dies makes the daring escapes of his younger days a little less thrilling regardless of where they exist on the Star Wars timeline. Even now, before the film begins production, we know for sure, without doubt, that he’s going to be fine. He won’t even lose a hand or an eye in the movie. Nope, he’ll continue to be beautiful and charming for a good long while.
But in comparison, did you know* with 100 percent certainty that he was going to make it of the carbonate frame when The Empire struck back? I highly doubt it.
If a main character is going to live for certain then the fate of the other characters around him/her must be terminable (especially those he/she cares about) and the transitions this character goes through must be substantial enough to warrant the story. Note that the Star Wars prequel trilogy weren’t all that great, but at least we saw the gradual, substantial transformation of young Anakin Skywalker into evil Darth Vader.
You’ll notice these are only distinctions and guidelines that must be made for the ever-enlarging film franchises and cinematic universes comprised of sequels, prequels, tweenquels, spin-offs and do-overs.
I doubt Jim Jarmusch will ever stress about them.