Thanks to the chance to pick the brain of director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, I was even more excited to view the spectacle that is The Huntsman: Winter’s War. While Snow White & The Huntsman turned back the clock on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” this new film serves as both a prequel and sequel to the events in SW&H. Regardless of where it falls in the fairy tale realm, it is a visual buffet from an image master searching for ‘cool.’
Narrated by Liam Neeson, we follow the exploits of Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her sister, Freya (Emily Blunt), whose nasty ice powers make Elsa look like a snow bunny. We learn about the creation of the Huntsmen, a kind of class or race of soldier/slaves, of which ours (Chris Hemsworth) is one. Unfortunately, he falls for another, Sara (Jessica Chastain), and that’s a major problem.
While Ravenna might have previously been the most twisted sister in most of our imaginations, Freya’s darkness is … worse. Her violence isn’t contained, but it’s merely the proposal that if good has been destroyed in someone that then others should be deprived of it as well. (Isn’t that basically, ‘If I can’t play, then I’m going to take my ball and go home?’) But both films go out of their way to tackle the poor behavior that occurs when someone is hurt – and ask us to consider how we might recognize someone else’s pain when evaluating their current actions.
Reuniting some of the team from SW&H, the continuity is evident, especially thanks to Nicolas-Troyan’s sliding from the visual arts to director’s chair. We can hear more from him thanks to the commentary track, and see the way they created the visuals through “Winter’s Vistas” in the special features. Additional deleted scenes and gag reel are also on the Blu-ray Extended Cut, as the package includes more looks at the story, the women who make the story, and the visual effects that dominate our experience.