The Huntsman : Winter Wars is a 2016 film American high fantasy adventure film. It acts as both a prequel and, mostly, a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, and is based on characters from the German fairy tale “Snow White”, compiled by the Brothers Grimm, as well as “The Snow Queen”, by Hans Christian Andersen. The film, a directorial debut for Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who acted as visual effects supervisor on the first film, and is written by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos stars Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost and Sam Claflin, reprising their roles, and Emily Blunt, Rob Brydon, and Jessica Chastain, playing new characters.
The movie starts off as a prequel with Queen Raveena who learns from her magic mirror that that her younger sister Freya is not only engaged in an illicit affair with Andrew: Duke of Blackwood, but is carrying his child, who is destined to become fairest of them all. Sometime after Freya gives birth to a baby girl, Freya discovers that Andrew has murdered their child and, in a grief-fueled rage, kills him with her long-suppressed ice powers. Freya abandons her home and establishes a kingdom of her own and builds herself a solitary ice palace deep in the north, murdering anyone who opposes her while amassing an army of children and training them so their hearts will be forever hardened. Chief among them are Eric and Sara who fall in love with each other. As they grow up the two plan to elop but Freya is aware of their plan creates a massive ice wall to separate them before forcing Eric to watch as Sara is killed by her fellow huntsmen.
Seven years later, Raveena having been killed, King William of Tabor comes across Eric and informs him that the Magic Mirror was taken while en route to a place known as “Sanctuary”. Eric sets off to find it, joined by the dwarfs Nion and his half-brother Gryff. While en route, the trio are attacked by a legion of Freya’s huntsmen, but are rescued by Sara who is revealed to have been alive the entire time. Sara believes she saw “Eric” run away from the palace and feels betrayed by him. Eric concludes her death was a vision conjured by Freya in order to trick him. He reveals that he never stopped loving Sara and they agree to work together. Sometime later, the quartet is ensnared in a trap laid out by female dwarves Bromwyn and Doreena, but convince them to help find the Mirror. At Sanctuary they defeat the goblins who have the mirror but are ambushed by Freya and her soldiers and it turns out that Sara has been working for the queen all along. Nion and Doreena are turned into ice statues and Sara reluctantly fires an arrow into Eric’s chest. Freya departs with the Magic Mirror, unaware that Sara intentionally shot the arrow at a medallion she gave Eric long before, and that he is still alive.
Meanwhile, Freya approaches the Mirror and recites a spell that causes a golden liquid to emerge and transform into Ravenna, who reveals she sent her spirit into the Mirror before Snow White took her life. With the help of the other two dwarfs Eric infiltrates the ice palace and he attempts to murder Freya, but is stopped by Ravenna. When Freya realizes that Sara hadn’t actually killed Eric, she corners her and because of Ravenna’s wishes, sentences them both to death. Eric however has convinced his former comrades, some of the huntsmen, to fight against Ravenna and Freya After this, Ravenna kills many huntsmen, and Freya forms an ice wall between the huntsmen and the sisters. As the remaining huntsmen climb over the wall, the two sisters argue over the icy kingdom, during which Freya discovers that Ravenna cursed Andrew into murdering her child rather than risk someone being more beautiful than her. Freya is filled with anger at this and turns against her sister, joining forces with Eric and Sara.
Freya is fatally wounded, but not before she freezes the magic mirror, as Eric throws his axe, breaking the mirror and destroying Ravenna’s spirit. As she dies, Freya witnesses Eric and Sara together and states they were “lucky” before succumbing to her wounds. The inhabitants of the kingdom, now free, celebrate Eric and Sara kiss as they can now be together while Doreena and Nion and Gryff and Bromwyn confess their love to each other. Meanwhile a mysterious golden bird flies overhead, hinting that possibly Ravenna’s spirit still lives.
A bit dull during the first half and the action picks up a bit during the second but the movie is a bit dull and uninspired and had tons of cliches that you expect from this genre now. The only positive thing is getting to see Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain and Charlize Theron together in the same flick. Yet these lovely ladies cannot bring this movie up from mediocrity and I give it a 6.5 outta 10!