Back in 2012, we got a rather mediocre movie called Snow White and the Huntsman, which featured Kristen Stewart as the boring female lead. The movie was a much better trailer than it was a film, as it featured some great visuals but very little depth. I was hopeful for this sequel, as they seemed to oust Stewart and add both Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain.
Will this new film get rid of the bad taste in our mouth from the first?
The timeline for this movie isn’t readily apparent from the trailers. It begins as a flashback, showcasing the relationship between Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Ravenna is blessed with magic and Freya seems to be normal. That is, until a tragedy befalls Freya and it triggers her to gain incredible and powerful ice magic. She takes over entire kingdoms and raises an army, which includes both Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain. Now here’s the weird thing. Most of this movie actually is a sequel to the 2012 movie, taking place after those events. I was under the impression it was entirely a prequel and it’s definitely not.
We also have some supporting characters like Nick Frost and Rob Brydon as the Huntsman’s dwarf companions, Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games films) returning from the original movie, and newcomers to the franchise Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach as a pair of female dwarves.
This movie is spectacular in a few key ways. It is incredibly creative and visionary when it comes to the imagery. Both sorceresses in the film pull off some amazing moments and it all looks fantastic. There are great moments, like the team knew that there were these snapshots that would look great. “What if the mirror melted and formed into a person?” “What if these monsters that covet gold actually looked like they were kind of made of gold?” Cool ideas. And most of the visual effects do these moments justice. Like the first movie, it makes for a spectacular trailer (but so did Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch).
The actors all do a relatively decent job with what they were given. Theron’s Ravenna again steals the show, though she’s in the movie surprisingly little. Hemsworth is fine but his character is a bit confusing, a weird mesh of rugged and tortured loner and then this charismatic ladykiller. I didn’t really buy either but I don’t think it was Hemsworth’s fault.
What didn’t work?
The trailers led us to expect a movie that we didn’t really get. Almost every single cool moment was showcased in the trailer, which left us with a solid two hours of boring moments that occur between them. There are only a few big action scenes and the editing of these action scenes made my head hurt, the cuts were so fast. The movie would show us the aftermath of battles and Freya’s armies sweeping the countryside but never really show us these battles.
Also between these cool moments, they had to put some dialogue. This dialogue is really corny and surprisingly bad. Some people might not mind, if they really want this romantic adventure but I found the dialogue to be almost laughable.
You’d think the addition of Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, arguably two of the best actresses in the business today, would have elevated this movie to a really high bar. They also get rid of Kristen Stewart, the worst part of the original. Yet somehow… this movie manages to be just as boring as the original and made all the same mistakes.
Also there’s a narrator that feels like a parody of modern movie trailers. “In a land where love was forbidden…” It’s meant to carry weight and meaning but the narration detracted from the rest of the movie.
This isn’t a bad film but it fails to live up to the great trailers they manage to put out. There are moments that are brilliant, beautifully shot and creative and engaging. There are three of today’s best working actresses together here but the movie fails to capitalize. If you liked the first, this one might be your cup of tea, but for me, it made all the same mistakes and is generally pretty forgettable.