The Huntsman: Winter’s War

In 2012 ‘Snow White & the Huntsman’, based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, was released amidst a myriad of behind the scenes dramas. That didn’t stop it from becoming a moderate success.  Miniscule monetary returns never stops Hollywood from pumping out franchises as ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ attests.  With a more involving story and better actors, the re-tread is justified. Although as disposable memory-wise as its predecessor, it at least makes an effort in crafting something new out of an oft-told story.


After her sister, the wicked Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), is killed, the equally despicable Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) resurrects her from the great beyond.  Teaming to take revenge on those who have betrayed them, the sisters’ vileness knows no bounds.  Only rebel Huntsmen, including Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and his wife Sara (Jessica Chastain) can confront the sister’s power and finally rid their land of their unbound wickedness.


It’s ironic ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is named after the male lead as it is a very female driven film.  Through no fault of his own, Hemsworth becomes a second player to the antics of Theron and Blunt. Both have a grand time playing dastardly villains hell-bent on revenge.  Their performances add to the fun of an occasionally slow-moving film.  Hemsworth does his best against these ladies as does Chastain who provides plenty of tough energy.


The simple story allows the action and acting to surface.  You are able to follow the character’s mission and invest in their emotions. ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ isn’t a heavy movie by any means and has a good mix of humour and drama perfectly blended.  It succeeds in having that elusive ‘magical quality’ such works have with a fairy tale-like enchantment easily achieved.  The CGI is spectacular without overshadowing events producing a high quality production.


‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is an entertaining sequel bettering its predecessor.  That’s a rare but welcome occurrence with the fun factor upped a few notches.  Those wanting an enjoyable experience should look no further beyond this film’s fantastical kingdom.


Rating out of 10:  7

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

The young adult book industry has been popular with Hollywood.  Scouring bookshelves for potential franchises, many have been sent to screen.  ‘Twilight’, ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Harry Potter’ among countless others have enthralled with varying success.  ‘The Divergent’ series has been one of the more mediocre entries.  Similar to other films, it hasn’t offered anything new.  Even its latest entry ‘Allegiant’ copies from the ‘Harry Potter’ finale by splitting its final book into two movies.  Duality doesn’t equate to quality with this chapter failing to linger in the memory.


Escaping the clutches of the ruined Chicago’s evil rulers, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) face a new challenge.  Leaving behind their friends and families, they discover what they think they know is wrong.  Battling forces determined to crush any rebellion, Tris and Four arm themselves against a mighty contingent.  Hoping to free their people, their actions lead to lives hanging in the balance.


Based on Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ book trilogy, ‘Allegiant’ presents the final book’s first half. Directly following on from its predecessor, it explores Tris and Four grappling with the aftermath of supposedly defeating their enemies.  Dealing with squabbling rebel leaders and others determined to carry on the mantle of their enemies, the duo’s plight is reasonably engaging.  The action sequences are well staged with the CGI suitably eye-popping.


Despite some good points, Allegiant’ suffers from unoriginality.  There’s very much a familiar feel with director Robert Schwentke showing little flair.  It’s a by-the-numbers affair with scant imagination gone into producing something new.  Working out what’s happening is confusing with so many characters having zero personality.  Woodley and James do their best to inject some energy into their performances.  Their efforts go some way into making ‘Allegiant’ watchable even if everyone looks bored working against a mountain of CGI.


‘Allegiant’ is ok but nothing memorable.  Following many other similar productions, it is easy being confused as to which franchise this is.  Its terminal lack of identity harms a fairly diverting movie with its looming finale mercifully putting this factory made series out to pasture.


Rating out of 10:  5