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“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” lacks development

5.5

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” acts as a poorly written prequel and a sequel to the 2012 film “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The movie tells the origins of Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the return of the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Despite the movie’s stellar cast and amazing special effects, the story is unorganized and fails to have a compelling effect.

The movie begins with the ice queen Freya (Emily Blunt) fleeing to the north suffering a devastating betrayal at the hands of her older sister Ravenna. There, Freya amasses an army of elite warriors to serve her. Two of her most exceptional warriors, Eric and Sara (Jessica Chastain) disobey the queen by falling in love and are brutally separated by her. Their love story becomes tangled with the warring sisters’ strife and ultimately results in an uninspired, predictable ending.

About halfway into the movie, the prologue suddenly skips forward seven years into fast-paced events with virtually no context; you have to watch “Snow White and the Huntsman” in order to understand the second half of this movie. Unexplained gaps between events and distracting references to Snow White, the previous movie’s heroine who never even appears in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” makes the plot messy and confusing.

The story is already cliché with the classic sibling rivalry and forbidden love, but the excessive plot twists make the movie even more ridiculous. From faked deaths to crushing betrayals, the constant surprises try to make the movie more interesting but ultimately just confuse the audience with unnecessary plot complications.

Despite the subpar storyline, the movie’s epic orchestral soundtrack immerses the audience in each scene. From the fast-paced strings in the action sequences to the ethereal vocals that play when the queens clash, the background music adds more emotion. The featured single, an altered version of Halsey’s “Castle,” captures the power struggle between the queens with intense strings and heavy percussion.

Besides the soundtrack, the only other element the movie executes well is the captivating visual effects. The animated qualities of the queens’ magical powers and Freya’s Nordic-inspired ice castle are feats of CGI genius. In addition, costume designer Colleen Atwood does a magnificent job capturing the two queens in their glamorous gowns of icy metal and molten gold. Though the movie doesn’t deliver a creative story, it still succeeds in dazzling the audience with gorgeous special effects.

Initially, the movie draws in viewers with its spectacular visuals and dramatic soundtrack, but the overly complex plot tries too hard to be original. The excessive plot twists and muddled plotline ruin the movie, despite how aesthetically appealing it is. Overall, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is a cliché high fantasy film that is nothing more than eye-candy.

By Natalie Jiang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of IMDb

The Breakdown


Plot development
3
Acting
7
Musical score
9
Character development
3


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