I think the best word to describe this film is a word I try not to use in any context: “meh.” It’s a nonsense word that doesn’t carry a lot of meaning but I thought the film was very nondescript with not a lot to say in regards to real positive or negative aspects of it. But since this is my job, I will do my best to describe what I liked and didn’t like about the film seeing as how this is a review and all.
To start off with, I should explain that I never saw Snow White and the Huntsman because while it looked intriguing, I just never got around to watching it and I didn’t really hear anyone sing its praises either that made me want to immediately seek it out. However, I didn’t find this prequel particularly difficult to follow in the slightest. Basically, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) sees her sister, Freya (Emily Blunt), flee their castle after witnessing the death of her infant son by a man that she thought was her true love. Afterwards, Freya starts to rule a child army and makes them vow to not succumb to their emotions and feel love for anyone. Of course, this doesn’t work out as one huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) falls for another (Jessica Chastain) and thus Hemsworth is barred from the kingdom after witnessing a tragic event. Later on, the Magic Mirror goes missing and Hemsworth must seek it out along with a few helpful hands before it falls into the wrong hands. Yep, it sounds long-winded because, quite frankly it is!
The plot being convoluted was one issue but another problem laid within the overall acting in the film. Don’t get me wrong; the actors were all pretty decent but most of them didn’t really have a whole lot to do. Chris Hemsworth grinned and charmed his way through his role which was fine because he has a cool smile and he’s a charming dude. He did what he had to do here. Emily Blunt was decent as one of the villains but I feel like she got stuck with the uber-serious part of the two villains. She tried her best but her character was fairly weak; Blunt did rise above the material at times though. Charlize Theron was able to go completely over-the-top with her character and definitely had the most fun out of everyone and the same can be said about Nick Frost, who provided some comic relief as a funny little dwarf. Jessica Chastain, however, was completely miscast and looked incredibly awkward in this role. Again, this had nothing to do with her acting specifically but rather just the placement of Chastain in this type of role in the first place.
After watching a film like The Jungle Book, it’s hard to not bring up the special effects in this film because the CGI was severely lacking at times. In one scene, the gang face off against a bunch of “goblins” and it’s a fairly dull and listless scene where one doesn’t feel a lot of connection to it because it just seems like they’re fighting a bunch of cartoon characters. At times it is very good though, especially when it comes to the action scenes involving Blunt and Theron and their magical powers of ice and… uh… spike things? The fight scenes themselves are decent at times but a lot of it falls victim to that fast-paced MTV-style garbage of not being able to see anything or even tell who is doing what in the fights themselves. It’s not necessarily a rant independent to this film either because people have been doing it for what seems like forever; it was just more noticeable to me in this film.
So while I wouldn’t say that it was a COMPLETE waste of time and most of the cast did try to make the best of their situation, it wasn’t a great or even good film. Still, it was not as bad as it could have been in retrospect.
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)