Remember 2012’s Snow White And The Huntsman that was hampered by Kristin Stewart’s rather dull Snow White? Well this prequel that is also a sequel (bear with us) thankfully ditches the dreary damsel and focuses more on not just her hunky huntsman Eric (Thor star Hemsworth) but also on the evil queen Ravenna (Theron) and her equally forthright sister Freya (Blunt).
It seems, years before, that Freya suffered a tragedy that turned her heart to ice and gave her the ability to deep freeze anything in her path. Determined to conquer lands and turn them into sub-zero parts of her kingdom, Freya snatched loads of children and trained them to be huntsmen (and women), including Eric and feisty young Sara (Chastain). Fast forward a decade or two, and it’s up to this pair of renegade warriors and a handful of dwarves to stop Freya from finally conquering everything in her path. Or something.
One of the problems with this movie is that it starts before Snow White… and then jumps to events set after the first film, which doesn’t always make sense. Hemsworth makes a perfectly fine hero but he isn’t given much to do, so the most memorable characters end up being the bad girls, with both Blunt and Theron strutting around in gorgeous frocks (who would want to be good if you only get a stunning wardrobe when you’re being bad?) while goodie Chastain gets the dowdy wardrobe and the even more drab plotline (does she love Eric? Will she betray him? Do we care?)
The sets and costumes look impressive, and there is comic relief from Rob Brydon, Nick Frost and Sheridan Smith’s dwarves, but while this is quite enjoyable you can’t help wishing there was more wit, more action, and more sense to the whole fairytale adventure. But at least the dresses are stunning…
Is The Huntsman: Winter’s War suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Younger children (under 8s) may find Ravenna scary, especially when she oozes black goo from her mouth towards the end of the movie.
There are various moments of danger for Eric and his friends, and SPOILER we are led to believe one major character has been murdered.
Children may be upset by the idea of young children being snatched from their homes and made to fight by Freya.