In Which We Wage A War That Never Changes


Where Is Kristen Stewart When I Need Her?


The Huntsman: Winter’s War
dir. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
114 minutes

One minute Sara (Jessica Chastain) and Eric (Chris Hemsworth) were children raised in kingdom of a sorceress named Freya (a weird-looking Emily Blunt). The next they are in their late 30s, except they are young lovers. I guess to a child anyone who is an adult is old anyway, so who cares if it seems like thirty years passed in the crow’s feet of Jessica Chastain? Her agent probably has a substantial fixed rate mortgage.

Charlize Theron shows up for like three scenes in The Huntsman: Winter’s War. She has been replaced in her entirety by the plot of Frozen. I can’t complain since frankly the Disney version needed a darker, more adult take. Emily Blunt’s eyebrows are on point, but when she finds out that two of her child/adult soldiers are in love, she is very upset with them. Personal tragedy colors her opinion of the situation, as does the fact that Hemsworth is inexplicably the only person in her entire kingdom with an Australian accent.

As children, Chastain and Hemsworth hefted bows too large to properly draw, but their soldiering is unquestionable. “Who are those children?” screams Blunt, and her assistant is like, which ones, and she replies, “THE BEST!?!?!” She separates the happy couple with an ice wall and her African-American servant stabs Chastain in the back. Hemsworth flails at the ice for two seconds, but he knew what he was getting into when he had sex with a ginger in a hot tub amidst an ice kingdom. How could he not?

A further decade passes and Snow White ascends the throne, displacing Charlize Theron on the grounds of superior femininity. Anticipating a sequel, they should have shot a few key scenes with Kristen Stewart but no one wanted to pay her salary or deal with her constant playing of Sufjan Stevens and whining on set.

After the ginger has been forcibly removed from his life and Kristen Stewart also declines a romantic relationship, Hemsworth’s Huntsman character is quite surly. Dwarves (Rob Brydon and Nick Frost), perhaps not very knowledgeable, proclaim he is the finest tracker in the south. He leads them to a mess of corpses, which he strolls over slowly, recalling the battle like he is the mentalist.

I would be lying if I said I understand very much of what Hemsworth said, but there are some disgusting things about dwarves and women and female dwarves. Finally Chastain shows up even though Hemsworth thought she was dead from the tiniest stab wound I’ve ever seen. She saves him from some evil men and knocks him unconscious, and it turns out she is very upset that Hemsworth abandoned their marriage pact.

“You’re still my wife,” he tells her when she does something that he does not like. He bullies her and makes fun of her age, telling her that she is too old to be in this movie and that she makes Emily Blunt look like Demi Lovato. The Huntsman: Winter’s War seems intent on brilliantly exposing the canard that female beauty can be at all tarnished by age, as its characters search for a literal and metaphorical mirror. After they bathe themselves in its golden reflection, they will be as they once were.

Accompanied by the two dwarves, Chastain and Hemsworth run into a female little person, who wields a crossbow and is given an unattractive haircut. She also forfeits the gobs of makeup bestowed upon Chastain and Blunt in every scene of The Winter’s War. Later on, when Emily Blunt sees her, she is completely overwhelmed.

Instead of explaining why he abandoned her for the last decade or mentioning the entire events of the previous film, Hemsworth starts flirting with his wife and giving her little negs, like “We both look different I guess IDK” and “You’re no female dwarf but you’re pretty in your own way IDK.” You would think this would be unnecessary given that they are already wed, but there is a precious lack of anything else going on in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

It is honestly embarrassing that Charlize Theron was featured so prominently in the promotional material for this movie. I mean I understand a fat check is somewhat reassuring when you have to cope with the emotional fallout from your breakup with Sean Penn, but she could have at least demanded a new costume designer, because everything she wears in this is not good (see above).

Chastain is the only one even attempting to act in The Huntsman: Winter’s War. “It seems like I have to love you, but I don’t,” Chastain informs her husband, demanding that he let her go. “The one you love is dead, and I don’t remember what it was like to even be her.” She goes on to inform him that she has done unforgivable things. He responds, “So have I,” and she gets this look on her face like she was just kidding before they have sex. Disappointingly, the wintercourse is missionary-style, but it is still penetration, thank god.

The next morning, his first sentence to her is, “Have you been true?” He holds up her knife to his heart as he asks the question. Because if she has so much as tongue-kissed another man, he doesn’t care about her anymore. She doesn’t answer, I mean, what could she realistically say? “I blew a guy after you ran off, sorry.”

At that moment Emily strides up, riding a really cute bear.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

“You Are So Beautiful” – Bootstraps (mp3)

“Natural Blues” – Bootstraps (mp3)

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.47.18 AM


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