Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War (3½ Stars)

Isn't it funny to see Chris Hemsworth fighting with axes instead of a big hammer? However many films he appears in I can't help thinking of him as Thor. Unless something big happens in the next 40 years Thor will remain his signature role.

Chris might be a good actor, but one thing he isn't good at is doing accents. He's Australian, which is obvious at the beginning of "The Huntsman". In the middle of the film he seems to be attempting an Irish accent. After that his accent sounds Scottish. Throughout the film he speaks in an artificially deep voice, as if trying to disguise the confusion in his accents. If he were putting on any accent at all it ought to be German, because that's where the original fairy tale of Snow White is supposed to take place. But to be honest, I wouldn't have a problem if he just spoke with his normal Australian accent. In a fantasy world it doesn't matter if the people sound like they come from different countries. It also doesn't matter in historical films, in which the language used isn't the language spoken at the time. To take the example of another actor, Russell Crowe always speaks with his own accent. Does it bother you that a Roman general speaks with a New Zealand accent in "Gladiator"? It's okay with me.

Now to the film itself. It's been incorrectly labelled a prequel to "Snow White and the Huntsman", which was made four years ago. It's actually a sequel, because it takes place after Snow White has become queen. What might have confused reviewers is that the opening scenes are flashbacks to things that happened before Snow White was born. This will especially have confused reviewers who only watched the first five minutes before writing their reviews. The poor overworked reviewers must have so many films to review that they have to make sacrifices in their time allocation.

In "Snow White and the Huntsman" we heard that the Huntsman was a widower. In the flashbacks we see his wife and how she died. We also meet Queen Ravenna's younger sister Freya. Then, when the film's story finally begins, we see that after Ravenna's death at the hands of Snow White in the first film Freya has become a mighty queen and has conquered almost all of the kingdoms surrounding Snow White's kingdom. Freya now intends to attack Snow White using the power of the magic mirror. The Huntsman makes it his goal to find the mirror and return it to Snow White.

This is a cute little fantasy tale. The set pieces succeed, such as the romantic interludes and the humour surrounding the dwarves. Unfortunately, the end result is disjointed. Allegiances change during the film, and the old enemies seem to eager to forgive one another. It's a reasonable film, but far from a masterpiece.

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