Monday, April 25, 2016

Looking at Movies (First Run) - The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)

Snow White and the Huntsman came out in 2012, four years ago, and I saw it once. The Huntsman: Winter's War committed the cardinal sin of sequels in that you have to have seen and understood the first movie to understand this one. Over the course of four years, I have completely forgotten what the first Snow White was about (it was a forgettable movie) and I certainly don't remember any details. That left me at a disadvantage with this sequel, and I don't like when a sequel does that.

The Huntsman: Winter's War is actually a prequel first, and then it turns into a sequel. We supposedly get a set-up as to the story of the Huntsman in the first half of the movie, then we get a convenient "Seven Years Later" transition into the sequel part of it. That is all find and dandy (and pretty economical if you ask me), except for the fact that Winter's War introduces a whole line of new information in the prequel part that was never in the first movie. It is like Winter's War tries to clarify the first movie with more detail, but winds up making everything a lot more confusing.

Because Winter's War attempts to be a prequel to the first movie, it assumes certain information that was given to the audience in Snow White and the Huntsman. The problem is that very little in the prequel portion of Winter's War lines up with the first movie. We are given the Huntsman, who we know, and then we are given an entirely new back story that we had never heard before. Then Winter's War attempts to tie its new story in with the first movie and everything falls apart. Winter's War tries to stand on its own, but it is too fragmented and nonsensical to be its own story. At the same time, it abandons the story it relies on to be its foundation.

Even though I don't remember very much from Snow White and the Huntsman, the disconnect was immediate for me between that movie and Winter's War. Nothing in Winter's War made sense, and the entire story felt grossly incomplete. We are introduced to characters we are supposed to care about, but it is really difficult to actually care about them. We see new characters that feel like they should come and go, but they hang around and become major parts of the story. None of it makes sense, and it takes about an hour for the movie to become remotely interesting.

I am not going to ruin the ending for you because, as a spectacle, this movie is worth at least one viewing. But I can guarantee you that if you try to tie the end of this movie in with the story in the first one, then you will be saying "But that doesn't make any sense" to yourself a lot. The magic mirror becomes something completely different, and the entire premise of the first movie is changed. Instead of forwarding the story from Snow White and the Huntsman, this one twists it until it strangles the life out of it.

Like I said, this movies was very cool to watch once it got going, but it does not stand on its own. Since it also betrays the first film, Winter's War winds up being a confusing interpretation of a story that we find out we didn't really know in the first place.

Rating: 2 out of 5

George N Root III is a drive-in movie addict who was completely confused by The Huntsman: Winter's War. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at