The Huntsman: Winter’s War Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land; two renegades - Eric the Huntsman - who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara set out to stop them.

The Review
Okay so it fell on me a while back to review the first in this saga, Snow White and The Huntsman. Unless you feel like clicking the link and reading the full review here’s the summary… visually stunning with a major lack of story and character development and of course “One-Facial Expression” Kristen Stewart. (Click to read review)

So when the word hit the street that there would be a sequel/prequel type thing happening, I guess a bunch of things freaked me out. Firstly, did I want to see something like that? As the word then flowed through that the idea of a direct sequel was squelched and the previous director removed from the pic and whoops Kristen Stewart went with him. (Pun intended), a bit of hope came into my heart. Perhaps we might see something a little better.

So they brought on a new guy in the form of Cedric Nicolas-Troyer for his directing debut and I have to admit for a first timer, this guy has done a better job. The film has more twists and turns while still playing with the fairy-tale format in a manner that makes it a reasonable cinematic outing. It certainly helps when you add in a couple of heavy weight actresses that have a history of bringing in the cinema audiences. Jessica Chastain is awesome as the Huntsman’s love interest and the addition of Emily Blunt as the evil ice queen Freya is something rather delightful. Blunt’s ability to play cold and frosty is spectacular as is her capacity to then twist it all to have you caring a little about her and the events that broke her heart.

The film is stunning and they don’t hinge everything on a massive battle scene as they did in Snow White and The Huntsman, instead it is a more intimate film, with cleverly integrated fight sequences that add to the story rather than replace it. Having said that, there are plenty of throwbacks to a stack of fantasy films that have gone before, such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Lord of The Rings and many more. I am sure that you will watch this film and feel the borrowed components as they fall into place. A White Witch turning enemies to statues, a group of people tasked at destroying a round thing that is full of evil. and that fellowship (So to speak) has a pale face archer, a couple of short dudes, a masculine axe-weilder and so on... Any of this sounding familiar?

At first glance you might think this is predominately a film for the ladies, and yet there was plenty of elements for a wide range of audiences. I do love that it is full of super strong female characters in both the good and evil side of the scale. Plus this is not a story about a princess needing to be saved by the strong and dashing man. The Huntsman’s name may be in the title and yet he is not the only hero.

The Verdict
A fun and interesting fairytale with a lot more balance in its cinematic elements that is as entertaining as it is lush.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 7th April 2016
Rating: M - Contains violence and offensive language
Duration: 114 minutes 
Genre:  Fantasy
Starring:  Sam Claflin, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (Debut Feature Film)

The Extras
Kristen Stewart will not be returning for the sequel to reprise her role as the character Snow White. Her character is reportedly not appearing in this installment.

Universal Pictures had originally planned to do a "Snow White and the Huntsman 2", but had dropped Kristen Stewart from the sequel. It is speculated that it was due to her indiscretion with director Rupert Sanders. However, Universal's statement in Aug 2012 emphatically denied she was being dropped from the film [for the indiscretion] but they were exploring all options which later turned out to be the prequel 'The Huntsman' starring Chris Hemsworth.

Freya is also the name of a Norse goddess, associated with love, magic and death. According to the legend she was married to a god named Odin who vanished one day. Freya searched the entire world to find him, getting a new name in every land she passed by was unable to find him again. The broken hearted goddess cried tears which became gold. This experience made the goddess particularly sympathetic to lovers.

The first trailer of the film featured the song Castle by Halsey.

The runic inscription briefly seen on the mirror in the first trailer reads "I SEE". The glimpse seen in the second trailer reads "...IS POWER"


Chris Hemsworth who plays the lead in this film, is also famous for playing the Norse god Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emily Blunts character is named Freya, which is the name of a Norse goddess,