Arts & Culture

‘Huntsman’ revitalizes fairytale franchise

Sequel to ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ plays to dark fantasy trend in blockbuster films

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“In my kingdom there is but one law: Do not love. It is a sin,” says Emily Blunt, starring as Freya, the Ice Queen, in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” The upcoming film is a spin-off sequel to the 2012 movie, “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

While the film features characters reprising their roles from the franchise’s first installment, it also introduces a host of new characters, enough to revitalize the franchise and allow it to serve as a standalone film separate from but consistent with its successor.

“Huntsman” also gives the franchise a broader backstory with the addition of Freya, the sister of returning protagonist Ravenna, the Evil Queen, played by Charlize Theron. Prior to the first film, Freya is betrayed by her lover and flees from Ravenna’s queendom to start her own regime in the far north. Under the rein of Freya, this new kingdom is ruled by her power over ice and with the overriding credo that love is strictly rejected among all her subjects. In her northern palace, Freya raises an army of huntsmen by training her subordinates to fight as children. Chris Hemsworth’s character, Eric, and his love interest, Sara, played by Jessica Chastain, are among the huntsmen. Discovering that the two had fallen susceptible to love despite her forbiddance, Freya breaks the pair apart, sending Eric floating off down a river and into the events of “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

While not featured in the film, Kristen Stewart’s Snow White serves as an unseen plot device spurring the events of the sequel — four years after the events of the first film, she sends riders to convince Eric to seek the lost magic mirror left behind by a supposedly vanquished Ravenna.

Though the film’s theme of the spirit of love can be overwrought at points, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” still serves as a fun blockbuster film. It follows a continued Hollywood trend of dark fantasy films loosely rooted in traditional fairytales — similar to films like “Maleficent” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.”

Though somewhat auxiliary characters to the plot of the film, a quartet of dwarves, including Nick Frost, returning as Nion from the first film, Rob Brydon as Gryff, Alexandra Roach as Doreena and Sheridan Smith as Bromwyn, offer the film much-needed comic relief.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is set to be released April 22.

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