Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War is a mixed prequel/sequel

Movie Title:  The Huntsman: Winter's War

Grade:  B

Rating:  PG-13, 2 hours 3 minutes

In a Nutshell:    This ain’t no Frozen Film critics are ripping this prequel/sequel to shreds, but I actually enjoyed it.  There is some humor, adventure, great CGI, beautiful landscapes, fun action sequences and even romance.

Sure, the story is a little messy and uneven, but it’s still entertaining and visually stunning, especially if you liked Snow White & The Huntsman .  It has more enchanted charm than the first one, even if it’s a sequel that viewers never asked for.

 Uplifting theme: 
  • “Love doesn’t make you weak.  It’s all that ever gave me strength.” – Eric/The Huntsman
  • What does the mirror show YOU?
  • What is the source of YOUR power?
  • “Love conquers all…so I’ve heard.” – Queen Freya   (It really does.)
  • Jealousy and revenge hurt you more than the other person.

Things I liked:
  • The majority of the CGI is really impressive.  Some of it is fake looking (the fog on people's breath), but most of it is really good and believable.  I thought it was cool (pun intended) how there are delicate snowflakes in the air wherever Queen Freya stands.
  • The musical score by James Newton Howard is really good, noticeably good.
  • I could watch Charlize Theron all day long.  I think she’s absolutely beautiful…the fairest of them all. Unfortunately, the story about how she comes back to life is a bit weak and vague. Who cares though, really?  We get to see Charlize in beautiful gowns looking wicked and glamorous.
  •  I loved the river scene with the sprites and the enchanted forest scenes with the fairies.  Adorable turtle covered in moss.  (You might miss him if you're not paying attention to the background.) The film is from the same producer who worked on Maleficent and has that same feel.  You can read my movie review for Maleficent here.
  • The dwarves offer plenty of comic relief.
  • You get to learn a little bit more about Eric/the Huntsman and his back story. Chris Hemsworth works his charm and even has some funny lines.  I don't remember him talking with a Scottish accent in the first film, but he lays it on pretty thick in this one.
  • I really like the title "Winter's War".  It refers to the coldness of heart and the internal battle between good and evil, love and hate, as well as the actual snowy winter scenes where battles are fought in the movie.

Things I didn’t like:
  • They talk about Snow White, but you only get to see her from the back.  Apparently, Kristen Stewart didn’t want to have anything to do with this film, so they used a body double.
  • I really like Emily Blunt, but her portrayal as Queen Freya was a bit...shall we say...cold?  She has a new movie coming out in October called The Girl on the Train  
  • Lots of leather.  Lots.  Some of the clothing looked like new, fresh costumes and should have been messed up a little bit to look more authentic.  Queen Freya and the Evil Queen look wonderful.
  • There is a fight scene in a tavern that has good action, but it’s filmed too close, so you can’t see everything that’s going on.  It has no music in the background, just fight noises, which actually was an interesting sound choice.
  • Like Maleficent , the protagonist could teach young girls an important lesson in personal empowerment, yet becomes completely unhinged and evil because of a man who betrayed her.  Not exactly a good role model for our daughters.
  • The beginning and end feel a bit heavy, but the middle feels like a magical adventure.

Funny lines:
  • “This is the worst plan ever.” – Eric/The Huntsman
  • “What are you going to do: take on two evil sisters and their entire armies?” – Sara (Jessica Chastain)
“Yeah, pretty much.” – Eric/Huntsman

Interesting lines:
  • “Men have forgotten what it means to be afraid.” – Queen Freya
  • “You may know much, Ravenna, but you do not know all.” – Queen Freya
“I’m afraid I do.” – Ravenna
  • “If she could not raise a child, she would raise an army.” – narrator who is the wonderful Liam Neeson
  • “In my kingdom, there is but one law: do not love.  It is a sin.” – Queen Freya

Tips for parents:   

  •  Some profanity, as well as "colorful" Scottish insults
  • The goblins might scare very young children
  • There are some inappropriate sexual innuendoes, but they’re subtle and will probably fly over most kids’ heads.  There are two scenes when sex is implied, but you don’t really see anything.
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