NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: THIS WEEK: THOR meets FROZEN? The Kristen-Stewart-less sequel to SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN gives us the back story to Chris “Avenger” Hemsworth’s Huntsman as a kid, now partnered with Jessica “Interstellar” Chastain as warriors, then teams him up with a pair of dwarves going after Ravenna The Evil Queen(Charlize “Mad Max” Theron)’s frozen sis, The Ice Queen Freya (Emily “Edge Of Tomorrow” Blunt) and the all-powerful golden “mirror, mirror.” And together they refuse to “let it go.” (HA! Like I could resist.)
Written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin with characters by Evan Daugherty. Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (who also directed the first film).
The “best-part” wild and wonderful costumes and set designs are back and just as cool as the first movie. The dresses of the two queens would make the top of the red carpet list.
Same with the great special effects. The last film’s mirror FX are back (only once, so it’s not repetitive) but this one introduces all kinds of cool icy stuff that’s just as…err, cool. And it took me a while to recognize “extra large” Nick Frost as a small dwarf! That must’ve cost some serious production coin, but it worked.
Casting and acting: Pretty near perfection. Even if you think this stuff is corny, the actors are pretty much a-list. Jessica C. is easy on the eyes and hard on the action, Hemsworth does his usual “stoic heroic” convincing bit, Blunt is icy perfect and Theron just chews up every scene she’s in. You can tell she’s having a blast as her character gets off on every bit of misery and pain she inflicts. Over the top but it’s what you expect for a fairy tale.
Liam Neeson as the (uncredited) narrator has a special voice-over skill set.
The goblins: You’ll think they’re either brilliant or stupid, but I give ‘em props for a completely unique take. Can’t think of any other flick with goblins that presented ‘em like this.
Two good cleavage scenes: one great close-up in a pub to open a scene, and one of Jessica Chest—err, Chastain near the end. Plus we get some nice pause-worthy side boob of her in a love scene with Thor (who has his shirt off too, so there ya go, ladies and gents-who-like-gents). (FROM MIKE: It’s a freaking fairy tale, you perv! Can’t you tone it down just for two hours?) Hey, shut up; my public knows what I likes.
Very cool “ice owl” and ice mask. Cue the collectibles and Halloween costumes!
New pop culture archer debate: Sara vs. Snow White, Merida, Green Arrow, Speedy, Arsenal, Nyssa, Malcolm Merlin and Hawkeye. Oh yeah, and Robin Hood!
This film has more humor than the last one. The afore-mentioned Frost is funny (wish there were more of him and his lines), and the banter between the dwarves (especially the two females that show up), Huntsman and Sarah, and all of them together is entertaining.
Good solid story. Motivation made sense, even if it was simplified or preachy/predictable. Easy to follow. Decent obstacles and a couple twists.
People will draw comparisons, fair or not, to FROZEN and even BRAVE (Irish ginger archer-chick) and cry “rip-off” or (if they’re critics), “derivative,” not knowing that The Snow Queen was an 1845 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. How many will take the time to Wiki?
The “major revelation” I could see coming from a football-field away. No big shock. But the smaller twist earlier on was more of a surprise and became more intriguing.
Inconsistent animal effects. The polar-bear-wolf thing the queen rode was awesome but the squirrels looked totally fake.
The heavy Irish accents for the two main protagonists can be a bit hard to understand.
For you diversity fans, the only black dude is kind of a dud. Not much character development or screen time, except when he’s a kid (at least that part is good—especially the actor/acting).
For you cynical types, this whole thing is a fairy tale about love. Love being forbidden, eternal, overcoming obstacles, enduring, blah, blah, blah. If you hate that kinda thing, stay away. (Me, I’m okay with it because there’s enough action, battle scenes, hand-to-hand combat, monsters, special effects and hot babes.)
No real reason for a sequel but it’s alluded to anyway (all that was missing was the phrase, “If there’s money in it”). And no button after the credits.
If you really dug the first one then you’ll want to see this in the theater. For everyone else, it’s definitely worth watching, but no hurry; you can wait till your home screen. Watch the previous flick first if you haven’t yet, though. It’s a solid entertainment thrill ride/fairy tale and doesn’t pretend to be anything more, which is fine by me.
P.S.: Want a warrior babe or boy for your wall? Monsters and dwarves? Battle scene? Comedy? Get an original art commission by Pascale! Just tell Craig here.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the frozen North, the south, the four lands, or Disneyland. Bru-Hed thinks the Ice Queen goes best with a Coke while wearing only a smile, but he would love to have her with him when he gets his summer beers at the 7-11 so they don’t get warm on the ride home. Every morning he asks, “Mirror, mirror, on the bathroom wall, who’s the beerest one of all?” The mirror hasn’t answered yet.