Monday, 11 April 2016

The Huntsman: Winters War Review

'The Huntsman: Winters War' is the second live action visit to the world of Snow White but this time the story isn't based on the fairest one of them all. It is the sequel to 'Snow White and The Huntsman' which was highly successful at the box office. There is a high chance that 'Winters War' could also be a commercial success worldwide but would the film actually be any good?

When tragedy strikes, Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) decides to leave her sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) as well as Ravenna's kingdom to move to the north and pursue a kingdom of her own. Whilst doing so she plans to raise children to become Huntsman to protect her. She also teaches them to not to fall in love out of bitterness due to what happened to her. However when Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) look to defy her, she tries her best to split them and keep them apart from each other. The sisters start to develop a rivalry leading in events between the two to escalate very quickly.
The two Queen sisters Freya and Ravenna

The main reason that I wanted to see this film was due to the abundance of talent in this film. The four on the poster are some of my favourite actors and actresses working today so I was interested in this film for that sole reason. I'm happy to say that I left the film pleased with the performances and none more than Emily Blunt. Her character was by far the most troubled and Blunt's performance showed the troubles the character faces extremely well. The character was clearly suffering and used this to drive her towards building a successful and ruthless kingdom. I would say that Blunt's performance in 'Winters War' is a great addition to her ever growing reputation.
Jessica Chastain was another stand out in this film for me as Sara who was a strong female character in this film. A very badass character who is more than capable at holding her own and is also very clever. A good character to add to the list of great, strong female characters in recent years. 

Emily Blunt as The Ice Queen Freya

I was surprised to see Nick Frost- known for the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz- to appear as Nion, a dwarf in this film. Thankfully he brought great comedy to the film that did add a bit of life to the earlier parts of the film which it definitely needed at points. The comedy was also helped by fellow dwarves Gryff (Rob Brydon), Doreena (Alexandra Roach) and Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith). The quartet bring great humour including a fantastic scene where Bromwyn and Gryff exchange insults that were truly great. The love-hate relationship between the two is highly entertaining as it develops throughout the film. 

I would say that Charlize Theron was underused in this film for sure. We have seen how great she is and she was one of the main reasons to why I wanted to see this film. However I was disappointed that she was only in the film for a short time at the start and then only reappears once again at the end. I would've liked to have seen more of her in the film. When she was on screen she was good but not in it quite enough for my liking.
Charlize Theron returning as Ravenna

The visuals in 'Snow White and the Huntsman' was deemed good enough that it was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects. The effects in this film are fantastic and really make this world look really beautiful. I was taken back by the animals in this film due to how realistic they looked in the film. I also loved the look of the animals that they combined with plant life such as turtles and snakes. They looked incredible and as if they were actually real creatures rather than just a fantasy creation. 

The action scenes in this film had both good and bad moments to them. I really enjoyed most of the fight scenes as they weren't completely one sided showing that the characters weren't indestructible and could easily vanquish their opposition. The action was also filmed fairly well with wide shots showing great detail to what was going on. However there were moments in the film where the action scenes had far too many fast jump cuts that made some parts of the action hard to watch. This was a problem at parts as you were intrigued enough but just couldn't keep up with the fast cuts making it a real test to watch at points. 

The two queens had an abundance of powers, some making more sense than the others. The abilities that some fantasy characters get to change clothes instantly has always amazed me. There is a particular power that Freya possesses whenever she puts on a magical ice mask that is quite odd. Ravenna also posses some powers that are questionable but I guess with what is going on in the comic book universes, anything is available.

There is one last thing that I want to talk about and that is the accents. Being Scottish I absolutely have to talk about them as it seems as if that is what both Hemsworth and Chastain were trying to pull off. They weren't terrible but at times it was definitely overdone to the extent that it was hard to understand what was being said. I can only imagine what those who aren't used to the accent thought of it!
Sara (Jessica Chastain) & Eric (Chris Hemsworth)

Final Verdict: The Huntsman: Winters War = C+
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I ever thought I would. I was very surprised at this film and most definitely feel that there are a lot of things to enjoy from this film. The cast do a good job and in my book is a good addition to the world of Snow White.

So have you seen 'The Huntsman'? If so what did you think of it? If you were planning on seeing this film, I hope this review helped make your decision. Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor