‘The Hunstman: Winter’s War’ and ‘The Jungle Book’

By on April 27, 2016

‘The Hunstman: Winter’s War’

This is not your child’s Snow White. This is the sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Chris Hemsworth (a.k.a. Thor) is back as Eric the huntsman in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” and provides the story of what happened before and after his encounter with Snow White (previously played by Kristen Stewart, who is not in this film).

We meet again Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the wicked queen who first possessed the magic mirror and swore to end the fair Snow White. This time she has a sister (although she only had a brother in the first film, hmmm), Freya (Emily Blunt), who has yet to discover her powers until one fateful night when her newborn child is slain.

In what can only be described as rip off of “Frozen” (which is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”), Freya immediately develops the ability to turn things to ice. She heads off to the north to start her own kingdom. On her way she plunders every town, killing the adults and stealing the children. These children are trained to become her loyal huntsman army; enter Sara (Jessica Chastain) who grows up to be Eric’s true love.

In the end, all is wrapped up tightly, but, the narrator lets us know of an impending third film. Although, after a miserable showing at the box office (for a big-budget flick), I’m not sure Universal Pictures will sink more millions into this franchise.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is not a horrible movie, but it’s not really good either. This is Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s first shot as director, and it won’t be his last — although it probably should be ­ as he is penned into the credits of a “Highlander” remake. Unless you really, really liked “Snow White and the Huntsman,” don’t bother with this cash grab disguised as a movie.

 

Sexy Charlize Theron is downright evil as Ravenna in “The Hunstman: Winter’s War.” But even she and the handsome Chris Hemworth (”Thor”) cannot save what reviewer Michael Upton calls a “cash grab disguised as a movie.”

Sexy Charlize Theron is downright evil as Ravenna in “The Hunstman: Winter’s War.” But even she and the handsome Chris Hemworth (”Thor”) cannot save what reviewer Michael Upton calls a “cash grab disguised as a movie.”

‘The Jungle Book’

I was leery of “The Jungle Book.” I grew up on the original. My kids love the original. So, it was with some trepidation I entered the theater to see this remake of the 1967 Disney classic.

I don’t want to spend the column inches going over the storyline, because I’m sure most readers already know the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and Baloo (Bill Murray). So, some highlights: The biggest thing I took away from “The Jungle Book” is that it is not “The Jungle Book” I grew up with. This version features a live actor playing Mowgli as opposed to the animated one from the original. Sethi does a great job, even incorporating free-swinging arm motions as he walks the forest floor. The rest of the cast is animated, including the evil Shere Khan (Idris Elba, Heimdall in Marvel universe).

There are some scary parts in the original, but this new version packs an even bigger punch with some “jump out of your seat” moments. Most of the songs are missing, which is one thing I love about the original. “The Bare Necessities” makes a forced and unmoving appearance and “I Wan’na Be like You” is awkwardly sung by Christopher Walken as King Louie. The grand ape was the highlight for me as Walken takes on classic Brando-isms to portray the powerful character.

It’s not the original, but this version of “The Jungle Book” is good. I loved it, the kids loved it, and receipts at the box office show many others love it, too! With a soft slate of movies opening this weekend, look for this feature to stay ahead of the pack.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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