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Castle (The Huntsman: Winter's War Version)
Written by Halsey (as Ashley Frangipane) and Lido (as Peder Losnegård)
Performed by Halsey
Orchestral Arrangements by James Newton Howard
Courtesy of Astralwerks
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
Uneven prequel/sequel with elements that are both superior and inferior to 'Snow White and the Huntsman'
'Snow White and the Huntsman' from personal opinion was neither a good or awful film. It was visually stunning and had a terrific Charlize Theron, but suffered from a badly miscast Kristen Stewart, a clunky script and muddled story.
'Huntsman: Winter's War' was at times enjoyable, but uneven prequel/sequel. It has elements that are superior, but also some inferior elements too. The best asset is the production values. The film is very beautiful to look at, with luscious but also atmospheric photography, Gothic but also elegant and rustic set and scenery design and lavish costumes, particularly Ravenna and Freya. Most of the special effects are fine, especially the ones for the golden mirror liquid and ice. There is an exception and that was the forest beast, which had a cheaply rendered video game look and didn't mesh with the background.
Once again, James Newton Howard's score complements very well, it's beautifully orchestrated, rousing, elegiac, atmosphere-enhancing and very involving. This said, the one for 'Snow White and the Huntsman' is better and more inspired, the score here also has a few forgettable moments and doesn't really stand out among other fantasy-adventure scores and occasionally derivative. There are good performances here, Emily Blunt's sinister and moving Freya standing out. Another standout is Charlize Theron, Ravenna is far less developed (Freya is a much more interesting character here, and the only one that's developed well) and somewhat one-dimensional as a villain, but Theron makes the most of her limited screen time, bringing great energy, an at times camp edge (though mostly there is more subtlety) and menace.
Rob Brydon, Nick Frost and Sheridan Smith bring some welcome comic relief, this could have easily jarred but was actually a breath of fresh air. The final twenty minutes are thrilling, and the action is slickly edited and choreographed.
Other elements are mixed. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan's direction has solid moments and shows a mastery of visual style, more so than Rupert Sanders for 'Snow White and the Huntsman', but he isn't quite so good stopping the pace flagging or smoothing over narrative cracks. Was mixed on Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain. Hemsworth does have brooding charisma and looks more comfortable, but has a tendency to slur his words and his accent sounds like three different ones constantly changing. Chastain is a great actress and does bring pathos and nuances to her character, but again her accent is unconvincing, with a mix of Scottish and Irish. Their chemistry is much stronger than Hemsworth's and Stewart in 'Snow White and the Huntsman', due to that there actually is some.
Elements here underwhelm drastically. The script is underwritten, simplistic and clunky, with many awkward parts and only properly shining with the dwarfs. The story has some exciting moments, but the pace badly flags too often with a rambling beginning, over-explanatory narration and stretches that feel meandering and muddled. Again the forest beast is poorly done, only Freya is developed well, there are continuity errors meaning that the film just doesn't fit within the storytelling and time-line of 'Snow White and the Huntsman' (while it was a good idea not having Stewart's dead-weight presence in the film, the absence of Snow White- mentioned only in passing fleetingly- does leave a gaping hole in the plot) and Sam Claflin is both underused and out of place.
All in all, uneven film with things that are both good and bad. 5.5-6/10 Bethany Cox
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