A Beautiful World Of Drama, Great Acting, and Underutilized Characters

Winter's War

 

Snow white, a tale that has been beaten to death over the last five decades. From cute cartoon masterpieces to cheap knockoffs you can get the classic Grimm’s tale in a variety of forms that you can deem the “fairest” of them all. This weekend, we get the sequel that drops Snow White and substitutes with her handsome, axe wielding sidekick Eric entitled The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Can this tale succeed without the beautiful, raven-haired beauty, or will it fail like its predecessor? As always I’m Robbie K and this is my report on the latest movie.

 

The GOOD:

 

  • Beautiful visuals
  • Fantastic Acting
  • A nice portrayal of love
  • Decent comedic relief

 

If you remember the first movie Snow White and The Huntsman, you remember that the world was beautifully designed. Winter’s War takes that trend and runs with it, filling the screen with a beautiful fantasy world that brings you into the fairy tale. Breathtaking shots of gorgeous countryside are intermingled with CGI creatures that are a blend of flora and fauna that reflect their very environment. The kingdoms that surround this wilderness are also well designed, the houses, temples, and palaces mirroring the personalities of their rulers, who themselves are in stunning costumes.

But seldom do visuals make the movie by itself and fortunately Winter’s War has a great cast to further bring the world to life. Chris Hemsworth leads the cast, playing the same role he always plays…the hot guy. Girls swooned in my showing over the smoldering grin and strong chin as he battled fictional enemies and argued with just about everyone. Fortunately he brings a balanced performance that contains fun, honor, love, and some choreography. The lovely Emily Blunt also brings her A game as the ice queen Freya. Her ability to play such an emotional and detailed role never ceases to amaze me and other than the ugly (guttural) crying she won my heart for favorite character. Jessica Chastain revisits her role of strong woman kicking lots of ass and being pissed off at everything, only this time with a strong (and comical) Scottish accent. While certainly not the most unique role, she still manages to pull the performance off with two thumbs up. Charlize Theron reprises her role once more as well, an arrogant , power hungry, ruthless queen who is a good example of the B word. And Theron plays it so well that you can’t help but hate her for it.

Actors aside the story is another generic plot about Snow White’s kingdom. Once more we get a tale all about love and the twisted game it plays with us all. Despite the annoying broken record of its power, the movie does a nice job at capturing the magic of infatuation in more ways than one. While it can be preachy and overdramatic at times, it does hit home and the actor’s portrayal of love is very well received. Throw in a comedic portrayal with the dwarves and you have an entertaining love story.

 

THE BAD:

  • Very rushed story and a little underdeveloped
  • Dulled down action with the other Huntsmen
  • Character imbalance

 

Hard to believe I’m saying this, but the love component was the best part of the whole movie. The rest of the plot was rather simplistic/rushed for me. Winter’s War is shown as a prequel in the trailers, but it is actually a prequel and sequel, which I think was the problem. Our story team could not decide where it wanted to take the movie and as such tried to cover everything it could. The background of the huntsman was a montage of punching, only to quickly transition to the love component. This motive carries for all of the characters, leaving much of the cast underdeveloped and relying on superficial qualities (like looks) to latch on to. In addition, this uncoordinated plot was boring at times that I wanted to take a nap to make them pass faster.

While the rushed story is a large hurdle to jump, the underutilization of characters is the bigger crime. Theron and Chastain have a much more dilute role than I thought and I was very disappointed that the former’s role was pretty much portrayed in the commercial. This disproportional use of characters dropped wrenches in the cast dynamic and their conventional reentry into the world only made me laugh or shake my head. You would think that with big price tags they would get their money’s worth, but sadly balance seems to remain an issue in Hollywood.

Finally the action component. Good news is that the action is a step above the cataclysmic failure of the first installment. Bad news is it is still simple and kind of corny at parts. The Huntsmen are supposed to be elite warriors, but this movie downplayed this component and made them rather pathetic. Many battles were very corny bouts of extras standing in a circle, stern looks filling their faces before getting pummeled by the only warriors with skills. The special effects helped a little, but the excitement quickly waned as the momentum was starting to build. However, it does fit well with the theme of the movie and the world crafted by our studio.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Winter’s War is a decent love story with a blockbuster cast and gorgeous visual prowess. Unfortunately, it still feels like an underdeveloped story whose characters still haven’t reached their potential yet. Should there be a third movie, I hope that we get more character development and some more bite to give the world some edge. Is it worth a trip to the theater? For a visual standpoint yes, but this reviewer thinks Winter’s War should be reserved for a RedBox rent.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Drama: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

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