Looks like the Hunstman is going to “let it go,” eh?
I'm amazed that they really are actually releasing a sequel to “Snow White And The Huntsman,” which felt like about as indifferent and generic a blockbuster as we've seen in recent memory. It's certainly better than “Alice In Wonderland,” which was a straight-up nightmare, but it's not something that stuck to me as a viewer. It reminded me of Ridley Scott's “Legend,” well-designed and occasionally quite beautiful, but not particularly strong as a narrative or compelling as a piece of drama.
By far, the best performance in the original film was Charlize Theron's as the Evil Queen. She was better than the film, and while I think Rupert Sanders managed to create some lovely imagery in places, the script for the film simply didn't work, putting the least interesting character front and center. Now that Snow White has exited the series, the Huntsman (played here again by a contractually obligated Chris Hemsworth) is at the center of things, as reflected by the just announced title of the sequel, “The Huntsman: Winter's War.”
Here's the just released synopsis for the sequel, which arrives in theaters next April:
The fantastical world of Snow White and the Huntsman expands to reveal how the fates of The Huntsman Eric and Queen Ravenna are deeply and dangerously intertwined. Chris Hemsworth and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron return to their roles in The Huntsman Winter”s War, an epic action-adventure in which they are joined by Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, as well as director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. Producer Joe Roth (Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland) once again leads the team in a breathtaking new tale nested in the legendary saga.
Long before the evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) was thought vanquished by Snow White”s blade, she watched silently as her sister, Freya (Blunt), suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom. With Freya”s ability to freeze any enemy, the young ice queen has spent decades in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly huntsmen-including Eric (Hemsworth) and warrior Sara (Chastain)-only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: Forever harden your hearts to love.
When Freya learns of her sister”s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she discovers Ravenna can be resurrected from its golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkest force it”s ever seen. Now, their amassing army shall prove undefeatable…unless the banished huntsmen who broke their queen”s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another.
My first thought is that this is a very strange franchise. I honestly can't believe there's really a second film, and it feels like Joe Roth and the creative team including writers Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin and director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan all looked at “Frozen” and said, “But what if it was badass?”
Look, I'm all for any fantasy epic that releases four character posters, and three of them feature three of the best female leads in the business. Jessica Chastain? Emily Blunt? Theron back in creepy evil mode? Sure. Please. I'm down with that.
But there wasn't anything about that first film that made a sequel necessary aside from some financial spreadsheet somewhere in a Universal executive office. And ultimately, story is the first thing I consider about a film. This sounds like a completely different story that they reverse engineered to figure out how to graft it onto the end of that first movie.
Will I end up seeing this? I guess. There's a trailer for the movie arriving this Wednesday, and I'm sure that by the time April rolls around, this will be inescapable. But like “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” this feels like a sequel no one is actively asking for, a function of business and not a genuinely motivated story that someone wanted to tell. This is the cinematic landscape we have to navigate these days… full of sequels that the studio is far more excited about than any audience will ever be.
“The Huntsman: Winter's War” is in theaters April 22, 2016.