“ Mirror, Mirror on the wall, what’s the fairest prequel of them all?” This question is more than apt with the release of “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”, or maybe the real question should be ‘why isn’t this a sequel instead?’ So like the seemly endless barrage of prequels no one asked for, you don’t need to remember the first film (don’t worry most don’t remember either), The Huntsman was the guy who helps Snow White defeat the evil queen, and now we get his backstory.
Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) it seems always as wicked as the rest of her fairytale ilk. Before she became the evil Queen that needed to be de-throned, she was just an evil woman, who killed the King to become Queen. If that didn’t make her evil enough, she drives her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) to become an ice Queen, think of a darker version of “Frozen”. We also get to see as The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) hones his skills, along with other kids he is brought up with. One of those kids is Sara (Jessica Chastain) who he takes a liking to, as they are both the best of the best. Soon they fall in love and since love can only end one way in this kind of tale, they are banished, each thinking one abandoned the other. Fast-forward to the future, where The Huntsman has just helped Snow White rid them of that evil Queen, and just when things seemed good, the mirror has gone missing. The Huntsman is back on the trail again, where he fights an old foe, a new one, and still survives to make another prequel/sequel or whatever.
Given the supposed reason why this particular story was told, you pretty much go in with mild to low expectations. Writer’s Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin weave this story of the past and present together to make something you will forget not too long after seeing it. With a pretty good cast, that includes Blunt, Chastain, Theron, and Nick Frost as well as Rob Brydon, you would think that the cast could carry the weak story. Blunt and Theron both look amazing, as the wardrobe by Costume Designer Colleen Atwood is everything you would expect it to be from an Oscar winner. The problem lies with, while everyone looks good at whatever they’re doing, what they are actually doing, or saying is not so good. With plenty of action, from fighting a bunch of goblins that look more like apes, to scaling a high wall of ice, the film tries to cover up its weak points with some eye candy, and I am not talking about Hemsworth. Very little of this film is memorable as the film feels like a cash grab more than something of substance. Like the first film, if you were to ask the mirror, there is a whole lot more out there, which is fairer for sure.