It takes quite some thought to wonder what made Universal Pictures feel that the world was crying out for a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman. Though it had a decent turn out at the box office, much of that success could go down to the post-twilight fandom that still surrounded Kristen Stewart at the time, as no credit could go to the plot or acting. Despite not knowing whether it was Stewart or the producers’ idea to skip out on the sequel, it meant that no longer could the name Snow White belong in the title. Instead we only have ‘The Huntsman’ to bring in the audiences. A name I don’t think will have the same effect.
Fortunate for some, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Nick Frost reprise their roles with familiar additions of Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and (for British readers) Rob Brydon. This time round it turns out that the Evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) has a somewhat vulnerable and innocent sister, Freya (Blunt) who turns into a bitter icy villainess after the man she is seeing kills their child in order to hide the love affair from his wife (or so it seems). As a new Elsa-like queen she wages a war on love in which she steals away the children of the kingdom to raise them as huntsman. The best of which, Hemsworth and Chastain, grow into leaders of Freya’s army while their love for each other blossoms in secret. Fast forward several years to events after the first film and the Huntsman and co take the arduous task of keeping the Ice Queen away from the fabled mirror before all hell breaks loose.
There is no need to uncover more of the film as my only intention is to steer you away from it. It’s a struggle to recognise any redeeming features of what is a tiresome movie that doesn’t know its own appeal. Hemsworth and Chastain have deplorable Scottish accents, the comedic relief is off-putting and tonally distracting, and in all with the acting pedigree available to them (and Rob Brydon) there is a complete waste of talent across the board. However, the repeated cinematic failings that Winter’s War brings to audiences is short change compared to its allure that we might actually want a third instalment. Hopefully the brick wall that is the critical reception of this movie will show the producers there is no scope for one, and that will be that. Unfortunately, we all know that sometimes Hollywood finds a way to let us down a little bit more.