“The Huntsman: Winter’s War”

the-huntsman-winters-war-billboard-art

Net Worth: Small nuggets of Gold

It’s movies like this that cause me to have trust issues. When I first saw the trailer for it, I thought, “Damn, Hemsworth is cute.” (I know I said I was tomboy, but that does not mean I can’t appreciate a finely honed Australian cutie).  The second thought that went through my head was “Is this what happens when Anna and Elsa have a fight?” I was prepared to have Hemsworth be it’s only redeeming feature.

[Mini-Rant: I have trust issues with trailers to begin with. The purpose of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, but 9/10 times I watch one and decide that the movie ISN’T worth seeing because of what they’ve picked. Either they’ve picked the grossest comedic lines possible (not a huge fan of comedy slapstick) or they’ve picked the most violent parts. I know it’s a balancing act of revealing just enough and not too much but if I had seen the trailer for Bourne Identity before I saw the movie, I would never have decided to watch one of my favorite movies. And that makes me sad.]

So yeah, I was prepared to dislike The Hunstman: Winter’s War. I had decided long ago that I wasn’t going to see Snow White and the Huntsman for reasons that were half-formed at best. But being me, I couldn’t resist the allure of Chris Hemsworth and the lack of Kristen Stewart so I took a chance. I was prepared for wooden acting, bad fight sequences, and just all around horrible movie-making.

I was wrong.

The Box Office will tell you I’m insane. They will say it had a disappointing start and that it failed to take off. This is probably true. But if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you will remember that I rarely like what the critics dub as a “smash” (and if you haven’t, you do now). I have yet to figure out this strange little twist of fate but for whatever reason, I actually liked this movie.  And now, I’ve added Snow White and the Huntsman to my list to watch as well. What’s chronological order anyway?

It had great visuals that were a nice combination of magical whimsy and down and dirty without actually leaning too heavily one way or another. The sets were simple and functional but they suited the storyline and the time period in which it was set. In short, it worked for them.

There were far more comedic moments in the movie than I was expecting and even more surprising was that Chris Hemsworth was responsible for most of them. He was definitely the comedian to Jessica Chastain’s straight arrow. She was a BAMF in almost every aspect. I know that it’s based around Snow White which means there should be dwarves, but the ones the screenwriters dug up are far from your typical Dopey and Doc (let’s be honest – they were no Fíli and Kíli either). They were irritating in the beginning but once they added the female dwarves to their little ragtag group, the fun began and the dwarves finally found their niche. The comedy was interspersed nicely throughout the movie and was usually well-timed. The choice to use the Scottish accent took a little while to get used to but it didn’t detract from the movie. It was just…odd.

The director, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, was completely unknown to me as a director, but after a little bit of careful research (also known as IMDB.com), I discovered that I have seen his work as a Visual Effects Supervisor several times. This explains the overall beauty of the movie. Seriously, it’s actually far more visually appealing with beautiful color palettes throughout than I had expected it to be. The music was a perfect counterpoint to the action and beauty on screen.  I love all music by James Newton Howard anyway and I am happy to say once again, he hit the mark.

Chris Hemsworth was charming and cheesy and willing to laugh at the idiocy of his plans or lack thereof and was basically amazing. The two queens, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt, played perfectly against each other and were visually very stunning with their respective powers. Even the dwarves won my heart with their overall grumpiness and massively entertaining snarkiness. While I can’t say I fell in love with the character of Sara, she was acted to perfection by Jessica Chastain.

One last thought: I want, no need to have Liam Neeson narrate my life. Most people say that they want Morgan Freeman, but I would choose Liam Neeson every time.  He does a fantastic voiceover and I may or may not have started squealing internally (there were other people in the theater after all) when I heard his voice come on screen.

Overall, this is a movie I will be seeing again and once it hits blu ray, I will happily add it to my collection of Fairy Tales.

TL;DR

Adults: A fun date-night with enough action to satisfy all and enough romance to make you go ‘awww.’ Or, if you are like me, a great movie to watch while single so you can stare at Chris Hemsworth’s abs (Seriously – they must write a clause in his contract or something) and/or watch the epic swordfights.

Children: Yeah, that’s a nope. Hide your eyes, kids. Lots of ideas you (hopefully) won’t understand for a long time. Let your parents go see this one while you wander into Zootopia or The Jungle Book. This is not a Fairy Tale for children.

**Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall, With These Spoilers, I Reveal All”

 

Below there are major plot spoilers so if that’s not your game, stop reading now…

 

There was actually a plot line that was far more involved than shown in the trailer. Seriously. My notes from before I watched the movie on what to watch for literally said “This is what happens when Anna and Elsa fight,” because the entire trailer pits the Ice Queen against the Gold Queen (also known as Freya and Ravenna). If you go to the www.imdb.com and look at the summary it says, “As a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions.”

This is so far from the reality of the movie that it’s almost laughable. The first part, war between the sister Queens? Yeah, that doesn’t actually happen until like the last 20 minutes of the movie. The Hunstmen weren’t raised to protect Freya, they were raised to wage war for Freya and they did it well. In fact, in her twisted mind, Freya was protecting the children she kidnapped. The plot summary makes it sound like Eric and Sara were hiding from Ravenna, when they actually spent most of the movie hiding from Freya and then from each other, and eventually Chris Hemsworth proves that with love all things are possible. (Yes there are cheesy parts, but it’s usually Hemsworth and he does it with such adorable earnestness that it has to be forgiven).  

This movie is almost entirely based around the concept of love in it’s many different forms (parent/child, lovers, friends, etc). The mirror doesn’t even become important until at least halfway through the movie and then unexplainable magic happens. Despite its failings, the plot is actually semi-decent and there were a couple of times where I did say “huh, didn’t see that coming.” Which for me to say is unusual because usually I’m a champion foreshadower.

Plot Hole: Chris Hemsworth sends Snow White’s soldiers to the border of the Ice Queen’s realm. And then they vanish. And are never heard from again. Whoops, down the plot hole they go!

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