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In this image released by Universal Pictures, Emily Blunt, left, and Charlize Theron appear in a scene from “Huntsman: Winter’s War.” (Giles Keyte / Universal Pictures)

By Maggie Lu, Waubonsie Valley

Once upon a time in a kingdom of redundant sequels, there lived a movie that unsuccessfully welded elements from “Frozen,” “Brave”, “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” into a train wreck called “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” Lifeless and bland, the film tells a tale of a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya. As the conflict escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions.

A drearily sonorous voiceover introduces us to the fabulously dull back-story of all that went before. In the prequel portion, Freya, portrayed by Emily Blunt, suffers a devastating loss at the hands of her lover, which causes her to spontaneously transform into ice. She retreats to the North to rule as the Ice Queen, (Elsa, anyone?) where she wears fabulously glittery gowns and builds an army by kidnapping children and forcing them to become her huntsmen. Eric, played by Chris Hemsworth, and Jessica Chastain’s Sara fall in love there, but Freya, ever jaded, has only one rule: no love.

In the sequel part, helmed by a “seven years later” title, Eric and Sara have been driven apart, Ravenna has been dispatched, and Freya continues on a kingdom-conquering, kid-snatching rampage. For the majority, the film is lifeless and lackluster. The scenes and character introductions feel random, the time jump implausible, and even the supposed “love” between Sara and Eric seems contrived. Theron’s Ravenna is a cartoonish version of The Game of Thrones Cersei Lannister, Blunt’s Freya wears a steel blue-gray gown that’s a dead ringer for Elsa in Frozen, and Sara, an awkward mesh of Merida from Brave and Katniss from The Hunger Games, can’t seem to get enough of leather jumpsuits.

The movie cost $115 million to produce and is a follow-up to the 2012 fairy tale fantasy “Snow White and the Huntsman,” this time focused on Hemsworth’s character. The first film was budgeted at $170 million, earned $56.2 million in its debut and went on to gross $396.6 million worldwide. Meanwhile, The Huntsman: Winter’s War brought in just $20 million in its opening weekend.

Despite the star studded cast, this “Huntsman” blatantly misses its target.

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