The Huntsman: Winter's War

Brodie's Grade: C-

Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain & Nick Frost

I am admittedly not a fan of the first film, 2012's Snow White & The Huntsman. It was a drab, overly serious take on the Snow White tale, marked by decent performances, but not much else. So I entered the sequel with drastically lowered expectations. On the one hand, I'm pleasantly surprised these expectations were met. On the other hand, it's still very disappointing that they were only merely met.

I have to wonder if director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, writers Evan Spiliotopoulos & Craig Mazin, and editor Conrad Buff IV (the only one returning from the previous installment) all knew that they were all technically collaborating on the same film. The film was tonally all over the place. We had serious Game of Thrones-ian drama and action book-ending a light-hearted adventure. It's like none of the four creative heads could figure out exactly what it wanted to be, so it took what was probably the best of both worlds and mashed them together into one Frankenfilm that just didn't work.

The byproduct of that mash-up is that we lost Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt for a good chunk of the movie. We get them right up front. Blunt for a little longer as we get introduced to her army, the Huntsmen. Then nothing for maybe an hour, as the story shifts focus to Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain, then folding Theron and Blunt back into the story so abruptly that you almost forgot they were in the film. It's a terrible waste of two terrific actresses.

Which is what's so confounding about the film. Theron, Blunt, Chastain, Hemsworth (despite his truly awful probably-Irish accent) and Nick Frost are all talented actors, ranging from good to fantastic. And to their credit, they work very well with what they're given. It's frustrating to see talented people put forth such effort to have the final product turn out so horribly, and it's not their fault. But they save the film from an even sharper nose-dive.

If you're a fan of the cast, or are slightly curious as to the story they tell, I'd suggest waiting for the DVD release. It's not really worth the ticket price. And we're less than two weeks from the summer season, which looks to have stronger films in the pipeline.