"The Huntsman: Winter’s War" serves as a prequel to "Snow White and the Huntsman."
This is a very expensive movie filled with lavish sets and impressive visuals. Unfortunately, that’s about all it’s got going for it, as it ultimately falls apart by being so swamped by its own predictability and lack of any excitement.
Chris Hemsworth returns as the titular character and in this film, we’re shown what his life was like as he was trained by his queen Freya (Emily Blunt) to be a soldier for her kingdom. He falls in love with one of the other children, Sara (Jessica Chastain), and together the two of them plan to elope as the queen forbids love of any kind.
We learn that Freya’s child was killed by her duke and that’s the reason she has no use for love whatsoever. Is that going to keep our star-crossed lovers apart for the rest of the movie? I think I just answered my own question.
In the meantime, Freya’s sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) learns from her magical mirror that Freya’s daughter would become more beautiful than she would, and that didn’t sit too well for Theron.
There are three really good things going for this movie: The visuals, the production design and Theron’s wickedly seductive performance. Those are all first-rate. Everything else falls flat, including Hemsworth’s work, complete with his faux-Scottish accent, complete with zero chemistry between him and Chastain. Not to mention, a couple of dwarves, who look like a couple of "Game of Thrones" rejects, for sidekicks.
This movie may appeal to diehard fans despite the fact that Kristen Stewart is nowhere to be found. That may turn out to be a plus in other arenas. I do think that audiences in general may end up seeing "The Jungle Book" a second time if they want to embrace any real visual wonder or splendor.
(Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.