Film, Movie Reviews

Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

Film Review

Left heartbroken after the loss of her only child, Freya abandons the forest land and her evil Queen sister Ravenna for a solitary confinement in the winter wilderness of the North,  taking a new command over the dominion. Bitter from her past, the icy Queen raises an army of Huntsmen, capturing and training children into toughened soldiers. Star-crossed lovers Sara and Eric are forced apart from the resentful monarch, after prohibiting the existence of love in her realm. When finally reunited, along with new accomplices, they must together regain back the lost, magic mirror before anything further can happen to the future of their lands.

A somewhat magical tale, managing to appear as both a sequel and a prequel to the disregarded Snow White and the Huntsmen simultaneously and attempting to continue an alternative fairytale theme. The obvious absence of Kristen Stewart was undoubtably the main appeal to the viewing of this instalment. This cast, however, was satisfyingly fresh and compelling to watch. The arrival of Rob Brydon and Nick Frost as dwarf companions was without a doubt one of the most favourable occurrences, due to their light-hearted personas, bringing some fun to the seemingly serious and rich environments.

A prominent favour was the overall appearance and presentation of the two contrasting Queens. The audience is presented with two very strong characters, especially when seen apart from one another. Freya develops a newly discovered command over frozen elements, manifesting into a icy figure bringing fear to her young, devoted followers. Her avid banishment of love, stimulated by her grieving history, reflects her visualisations – an ice cold heart matching the icy colour palette chosen for her wardrobe works fluidly. The brilliantly constructed costume design indicates a beautiful association with icicles and enhances the characters persona.

huntsman_winters_war
source: Universal Pictures

We can then refer to the golden, evil presence of sister Queen Ravenna, who realistically doesn’t share as much screen time as first expected. Charlize Theron brings a degree of grace and poise that makes the Evil Queen appear admirable despite her negative motives. Her golden demeanour overshadows the icy cold when present with her sister, the inferior whites and subtle blues become washed when contrasting the bold, brilliant shine of the Evil Queen. The striking colours solely hide the darkness underneath.

What stands out for me, is the visual contrasts, a pleasant view of a somewhat familiar set of elements we’ve seen before in fantasies such as LotR, Frozen – even Sara’s character is very much like the protagonist of Pixar’s Brave. The plot may not be the most imaginative – merely two dysfunctional soldiers on a quest to stop the evil from getting her hands on additional evil objects, yet there is an appeal that keeps the audience interested.


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