This belated follow up to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman is confusingly both prequel and sequel, with Snow White’s absence awkwardly conspicuous. It threatens to be bloated, patronising, and over-scored, but weaves an impressively complex narrative to become a campy delight. Elements of the plot echo Mad Max and Deathly Hallows, yet emotion-led character arcs give Winter’s War its own message and coherence.
Brydon, Smith and Frost’s irreverent dwarves inject joyous hilarity, while the main romance is quite touching. The special effects are, however, as inconsistent as Chastain’s accent, with many inelegantly shot battle scenes proving tedious.
Winter’s War is a total guilty pleasure that revels in its own flaws. Its tongue-in-cheek charm won’t be for everyone, but Colleen Atwood’s costumes and Theron’s awesome performance should prove universal highlights.
CAST: Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Nick Frost
DIRECTOR: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
WRITERS: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin, Evan Daugherty
SYNOPSIS: As two evil sisters (Blunt and Theron) prepare to conquer the land, two renegades, Eric the Huntsman (Hemsworth), who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara (Chastain), set out to stop them.