Movie Review – The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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MV5BMTkzNzc2MDQ1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAyNzkyNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is a prequel-sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman,” telling another angle of Evil Queen Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron, “Prometheus”) life pre-Snow White and post-Snow White’s emergence and reclaim to the throne.

Queen Ravenna, who craves for royal power and timeless beauty, first learned black magic through a tragedy and found that beauty would give her the ultimate power.  She wins the hearts of kings, kills them and takes over kingdoms.  She’s devilishly ruthless to the core.

It turns out that Ravenna has a sister, Freya (Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Adjustment Bureau“).  Romantic-at-heart, she believes in true love, even as Ravenna tells her that love would eventually hurt her.  When an unspeakable act befalls her newborn daughter and her lover is shown to have betrayed her, she unleashes a frosty power she never knew she had.  Out of grief and anger, she leaves Ravenna’s side, creates her own kingdom up north and rules as an Ice Queen.

Queen Freya builds her empire by taking children away from their parents, raising them to be warriors (Huntsmen), and creating an army out of them to win wars.  Love is forbidden in her wintry kingdom.

Two of the children, Eric/the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, “Rush,” “The Avengers” and “Thor” series) and Sara (Jessica Chastain, “The Martian,” “ Zero Dark Thirty”) grow up, and despite of the frigid rule, fall in love.  They commit to each other and consider themselves married.  Freya finds out and tears them apart through a cruel deceit.

The movie then flashes seven years into the future.  Ravenna is presumed dead and the kingdom is now under Snow White’s rule.  One day Ravenna’s golden mirror is missing and the Huntsman is called back to track it down and return it to the castle.  He’s tagged along by several dwarfs.  They bring comic relief, but extended goofy scenes between the jovial Huntsman and the dwarfs are a bit much.  They feel tonally inconsistent with their journey, which is mired with danger.

The Huntsman encounters a long-lost ally and gains the mirror back with the help from his team.  Freya, who also wants Ravenna’s missing mirror, entraps them.  It’s not as straightforward as it looks; there’s a reason why Freya and her army are able to find them easily.

As predicted, Ravenna eventually reappears and it’s showdown time.  If you want to know what true evil looks like, Ravenna takes the crown.  Freya, behind the frozen exterior, still has humanity inside of her.

The costumes are at an award-winning level.  The head pieces and dresses are regal and intricate with contrasting colors and fabrics.  Feather, leather, spiky metals, ice crystals, high collars and long capes in metallic, silver, indigo, black and liquid gold.

Plot holes and inconsistencies from the previous installment won’t earn the movie points, but if you’re enchanted by fantasy action adventures in general, you may enjoy this one too.  Blunt is menacing and melancholic in her iciness.  Theron has such a magnetic presence that you’d wish Ravenna were given more screen time. The movie has a good story with twists and is lavish in visuals.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” may not be the fairest of them all, but it’s a pretty escapism.

Copyright (c) 2016.  Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at

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