‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEWS

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The premise: The betrayed “Ice Queen” consumed with rage over the loss of her daughter, ruled over the land destroying and conquering kingdoms, leaving children parentless in the wake of her misguided mind. In her self-righteous absurdity she believed… or at least pretended to… be gifting the orphaned children with the absence of all whom they loved. Her kingdom’s only law, that love was forbidden (but truthfully merely existing was also forbidden if you weren’t a child).

My reaction to The Huntsman: Winter’s War: I saw the movie opening day with the intention of writing a review. The movie I thought too dark and violent for most children, so… I decided to skip the review, believing most parents wouldn’t be wrestling with the idea of bringing their little ones. Over the last couple days, I have received a couple emails asking me when I was planning on writing a review. Alas, I was wrong, so here I go.

The movie is not just a prequel, but also a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman. The two movies have the same air about them, so if you have seen the previous film, you should be safe using the “prequel/sequel” as a barometer in deciding whether or not the movie would be appropriate for you child to view.

I love most fairytales. To be transported to a land of theatrical magic and fabulous costumes is always wonderfully entertaining. Yet, in some ways I was disappointed by this movie. The trailer most frequently shown led me to believe that Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and Freya (Emily Blunt) would be dueling sister throughout the film. The truth… Ravenna may have set all pieces in motion for the storyline, but had little screen time in the film. The movie followed the rule of Freya, in her journey of destruction, all while she suppressed the freedoms to her people to enforce her blind ideals.

The film has betrayal, moral corruption and death. It’s not gory or very graphic, but there are many implied murders and others shown with little blood or detail. There is a bit of language and a scene with goblins with gold plated horns. For little children, the goblins are probably the scariest part. There are also a few love scenes, also not graphic.

From a child’s point of view: My 4-year-old saw the movie and was delighted with the wardrobe and fairies. She was not startled by the violence (deaths implied), but many children are (warning). At first I apologized for taking her. She replied, “Mommy, people die in all the Disney movies I see and the stories have just as many naughty witches.” The more I thought about it, she was completely right. Besides the “lack” of colorfulness and the film not being a cartoon, the tale isn’t too far off from the princess movies she loves.

The theater: No children were in the theater even though we were at the very first showing of the day. Apparently, everyone else got the memo, NOT FOR CHILDREN.

My final thoughts: My children love live-action movies. For a while in the theater I felt bad taking my eldest daughter but her words really rang true to me. The more I thought of it, I realized I doubted my decision to take her because the movie was literally “dark.” Her favorite movie is Guardians of the Galaxy, and there are just as many if not more people killed. The gloomy look hovering over the film skewed my thinking. That being said, I don’t believe this movie is for every child. If you have any doubts, don’t go, or see the movie beforehand. I know many children who would find the movie terrifying and even more parents who would find it inappropriate for their children to see. Would I see it again? Yes, although I say this rarely but it could have been much better.


Disclaimer

I am not a movie reviewer, a film buff, or well versed in cinema history. You do not want to read my movie reviews if you want a play-by-play of the technical insights of the cinematic experience or a smart rant by a “film snob.” I am, however, a mother of two very small children: a baby and a toddler. My children have seen every kids movie in the theaters since their birth. They love going to the theater, and my toddler always offers up her own review after. Not only will my reviews briefly discuss my feelings, but also my children’s reaction to the movie. These reviews may have a lot more to do with a child’s point of view than many others. Many times I have a very different reaction than my children. I am also usually alone, taking my children to the movies. I do not have a pen and paper, writing down my analysis as I watch. I experience the movie with a baby on my lap, a toddler seated next to me, doling out snacks, water and hugs as I watch.

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