Verdict: Tries hard to reinforce the power of love, but only barely manages.

When you think fairy tales, you automatically think doe-eyed princesses, intrepid knights, and evil step-mothers or their equally menacing equivalents. Considering off beat is in, it is no surprise that filmmakers have been doling out a plethora of fantasy flicks that are rife with unconventional characters, unlikely heroes and black humor. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s directorial debut, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, is a prequel/sequel/spin-off version of Snow White and the Huntsman, the rather grim rendition of the popular children’s fairy tale. 

The film starts off with the diabolical queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) murdering the king and usurping all his power. With an insatiable lust for control and megalomaniacal tendencies, Ravenna’s sole goal is to rule the world. On the other hand, her tender-hearted little sister, Freya (Emily Blunt) is a staunch believer in love. Upon being spurned by her lover, she is devastated and her inner wrath surfaces as frost – perhaps a metaphor for a warm heart gone cold. Freya moves away to the North, where she begins ruling as the ice-queen. She routinely abducts children, to form an army of trained warriors, the huntsmen. They are taught that love is a lie; it being the only sin the reigning queen refuses to forgive. Despite years of indoctrination, two young huntsmen, Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) dare to defy the rule and fall in love, pledging to be by each other’s side forever. The remorseless Freya commands they be killed. The sequel part of the film looks at events seven years hence when Eric has survived and is in Snow White’s kingdom. Enter dwarfs Nion (Nick Frost) and Griff (Rob Brydon), magic, monsters and beasts and gory battles. 

Chris Hemsworth is his usual gorgeous self and does not disappoint as the huntsman. The only thing that makes him even more adorable is his character’s devotion and undying love for his lover. Jessica Chastain alternates Sara’s stoniness and tenderness quite skillfully. Charlize Theron is remorseless and unyielding as Ravenna, while Emily Blunt is a vision, and manages to portray a woman scorned with the right amount of conviction. However, the set is not particularly impressive and the 3-dimensionality ends up seeming redundant.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a good story, with twists, turns and adventure galore. The plot is a tad unnecessarily confusing and haphazard, owing to which it is easy to get distracted. Not particularly gripping, it still manages to be a one-time watch, especially for teenagers who enjoy murky takes on fairy tales.

Why You Should Watch This Movie:

Watch The Huntsman: Winter’s War because there can never be enough films that reinstate love as the single thing that has the power to change the world.