Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writers: Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, and Emily Blunt
Editor’s Note: This review feature content coverage by Nathan Seiveno and tech specs by Zach Martin. It’s a super hero team up!
This is a story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna…. oops wrong movie, but for real it’s literally the dark fairy tale version of Frozen. Taking place in the time frames of both before and after Snow White and The Huntsman, the movie opens with a look at Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who is as dark and manipulative as she was when we first met her in the Snow White story. She has yet taken control of another kingdom and expanding her empire with her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) by her side. Freya seems more human and compassionate until she loses a child to a fire sparked by her love. This unlocks Freya’s inner powers and turns her heart and body to ice. Freya leaves Ravenna’s Kingdom and starts one of her own in the land to the North. Here she creates her army of Huntsman which are children of the villages she has ravaged and destroyed. Her army of Huntsman is ever growing with each land she conquers. Freya takes these children and tells them there is one rule, “DO NOT LOVE”! Of course , guess what her strongest Huntsmen Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara ( Jessica Chastain), fall in love and plan on leaving Freya’s kingdom, but ultimately they are stopped by their fellow Huntsmen and Queen Freya and Sara is killed and Eric is thrown into the river which led him to the Snow White and The Huntsman story line.
Flashing forward, we meet Eric again when Snow Whites prince asks the Huntsman to track down the Evil Queen Ravenna’s mirror which has drove Snow White mad. (And no we do not see Kristen Stewart in this film) With the help of two dwarfs, The Huntsman accepts this favor of Snow White and begins his search for the evil mirror. Freya discovers the mirror is missing too and she send her Huntsmen in a quests for this mirror because she wants the power within it. On the journey, The Huntsman Eric runs into other Huntsmen and is about to be killed, but is saved by no other than Sara, who actually is not dead at all. It appears Freya had duped both Sara and Eric into seeing what they expected to happen those many years ago. Love sometimes does leave you blind. After a few dark tasks and hidden betrayals, Freya does acquire the mirror which turns out to bring back Ravenna. At this point there becomes a shift of power and now it is Freya and Ravenna against the Huntsmen, and ultimately Freya against Ravenna. Power, Magic, and Love make up The Huntsman Winters War.
Presented in a 2:39.1 aspect ratio, The Huntsman stands out with a great amount of clarity and depth for its just ok film. Colors pop with earthy greens and rich browns, while snow and ice shimmer and shine with high whites and chilling blues. Black levels are deep and solid throughout with no crush apparent. Details abound with lots of small moments where character costumes or sets look immaculate with design. The only issue I found was minor noise, from the source since it was shot digitally, but other than that, this is a stand out presentation from Universal.
Presented in a DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core) mix, The Huntsman is adequate. While I personally only have a 5.1 system for this review, one can generally tell how important a 7.1 mix from a 5.1 based on the surround usage. Unfortunately at no point did I ever think the surrounds were used effectively. That’s not to say its bad! Thundering lows with LFE usage is immense, while the blistering highs of swords clanging and magic being tossed around the sound-field shine through, though it’s an incredibly front heavy mix. From what I’ve read (from other reviews with the DTS-X setup) the overhead presence is minimal, and not used effectively but I wont count off for it here. Dialogue is firm and always prioritized over the action, making it clean and clear.
The Special Features
I liked having the option to choose between the extended or theatrical version. As standard the Special Features also include director commentary and behind the scenes looks into the making of the movie. Nothing here is very outstandingly exciting, I will say however that there was a lot of passion put into this project, cast and crew really called the time put in. The gag reel unfortunately was a gag, I don’t see how waiting for plane sounds, would be considered funny. It seems like the gags would only be funny toward the cast and crew and I see no point why this would be shown to the general audience, well besides more time to look at Chris Hemsworth.
Zach: (paraphrased): Overall I really found it to be boring, I had not seen the first Huntsman Movie, so I was just praying that mouth-breather Kristen Stewart wasn’t going to show up. I thought Theron and Hemsworth were fantastic in chewing up scenery; where as the lady love interest Jessica Chastain was BORING and evil Elsa (Emily Blunt) was just….No! As soon as she got her ice powers I started screaming out Let It GO!
Nathan: Overall I enjoyed this movie so much better than Snow White and The Huntsman. It was an interesting tale that I could watch over again. The casting was brilliant, and personally any movie with Chris Hemsworth is just the cake to my inner fat kid…. YUM! It had some very interesting twists and was funny in its own way. I could connect with the humor and the dramatics of the movie. I would say that the outcome was predictable but the the journey through had its twists and uncertain moments. Not at all what was fully expected.