Studio: Universal (2 hrs. 3 min.)
Plot: 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.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt
Bottom Line: **1/2
By Jon Rutledge
The cinematic universe of “The Huntsman” is breathtakingly beautiful, from its terrific CGI effects to its spectacular landscapes to its beautiful cast. There is eye candy for everyone. Unfortunately, like real candy it lacks substance. This is Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s first time directing a feature length film. As such, he did fine. You can tell that his experiences come from the visual side of the production. (See eye candy comment above.)
This is really targeted to a preteen audience and doesn’t dive very deeply into character development or storytelling. There are elements that seem to get lost and make the pacing stumble a bit. The choice to bring in the Show White elements seems contrived. Not having Kristen Stewart reprises her role even for a quick cameo makes the scenes with her character painful. It would have been better to mention her in name if at all.
The writers on the film come from two different genres and you can pick out the elements that each brought to the table. Evan Spiliotopulos, known for a string of Disney movies (Tinkerbell and The Lost Treasure , Tarzan II) brings the more fairytale aspects whereas Craig Mazin adds sophomoreish humor to the characters as seen in his shticky films (Hangover II, Scary Movie 4).
The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) seems to be more light-hearted than in the previous film which seems to undermine the character. The fight scenes with him and Sara (Jessica Chastain) are top-notch. Other notable performances come from Nick Frost and Rob Brydon as dwarves Nion and Gryff. Their comedic talents dominate the scenes they are in.
Emily Blunt’s performance as Queen Freya was outstanding. She brought passion and fire to a cold-hearted character while Charlize Theron oozed evil as she brought Queen Ravenna back from the dead. She does do sinister very well. Their love/hate relationship as sisters really provided a great contrast to each other, one was evil from the start and the other was evil by way of circumstance. Together they created the perfect amount of on-screen tension at the films climax.
Go see this movie for the visual appeal and enjoyable performances, leave your brain at home as you won’t need it.
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This column was printed in the May 15, 2016 - May 28, 2016 edition.