Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

Gritty retelling of fairytales X star power X film industry politics = erm, family movie?

A bunch of statuesque white ladies and a single white Hemsy running around some amazing sets, practical or otherwise. What do little girls make of this stuff? Little boys?

There’s romance, action, dazzling costumes, meticulously-rendered fantasy setpieces, and the power of (exclusively heteronormative notions of) love… but then there are some odd asides and images that (I guess?) are aimed to fly over the heads of children and right at their parents. And that final resolution with the wicked witch looks truly terrifying – it certainly would have scarred a young me.

Who is this even for?

The odd narration from Liam Neeson seems to be for another story entirely: he tells tale of how love “cannot last for the heart is a treacherous thing” or something, while the movie clearly shows the real treacherous things are narcissistic older sisters and the younger sisters they abuse psychologically (and possibly physically?).

Who is this even for? This sequel/prequel to the also-gritty-retelling Snow White and the Huntsman ditched that film’s star Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders because reasons, and “was intended to build off of the success of that film yet featured none of those elements” (Forbes).