The Huntsman

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What is it about? :: The movie begins a long time before the incidents which were depicted in Snow White and the Huntsman, as Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the dark sorceress finds out that her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) has an affair with Andrew (Colin Morgan), and is carrying her child. But the marriage doesn’t happen as Andrew is engaged to someone else, and after giving birth to a baby girl, Freya on a dark night, sees that he has murdered their child. This unleashes an uncontrolled fury in her which brings out the hidden powers of ice and snow from inside her, killing her lover and transforming her love into hate. She abandons her sister’s kingdom and comes up with a new kingdom in the north which is covered in ice and snow under her power.

So what happens next? :: It is a new world of depression and sadness that she creates far north to the kingdom of her sister who unleashes her own evil. She gets children kidnapped so that they could be trained to become remorseless huntsmen, who were to become part of her army. She raises the group to become her soldiers who know no love and has no regret. All of them trains to become the elite group of huntsmen who are feared and fight her battles. Soon she finds the best of them in Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), but they only fall in love many years later, something that she can never agree to. She successfully separates them, and the former lives in the grief of having watched the latter die.

And then to the present :: Then the scene shifts to many years later, after the incidents of the first movie, as Eric is wandering through the forest only to find that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is ill and the magic mirror has gone missing. Freya is having an eye on these lands, and the dark magic in the mirror threatens the kingdom. Now it is up-to Eric the Huntsman to save the day and he is joined by Nion (Nick Frost) and his half-brother Gryff (Rob Brydon). Two other dwarves Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach) also join their team. There will be magic and there shall be goblins on their way. Freya has sent her own team of huntsmen, but another big surprise awaits them. What about true love? Does it go beyond death and devastation?

The defence of The Huntsman: Winter’s War :: There is one thing that a person can be sure about here, and it is that The Huntsman: Winter’s War is cent percent a better movie than its predecessor Snow White and the Huntsman which was so empty a movie with empty expressions from its heroine. We also have some of the most amazing visuals here, with all the magic around. The snow and ice on the screen never ceases to be interesting. With magical creatures added, there is the further scope for visual beauty an that is explored very well here. The final scene of battle is also a very good one, which means that the movie manages to finish off really well. It is mostly all that a fairy-tale should be, and is a clear improvement from the predecessor; the lower box-office collection should go to the credit of the terrible predecessor which had already ruined the opinion about what was to follow.

The claws of flaw :: There are those predictable lines going through this movie too. A number of things can be guessed, and there is no real attempt to try differently either. The journey from a prequel to sequel goes rather strange too – it could have been just the sequel with a very small flashback and that could have worked out perfectly. There is also the chance to make use of its potential, which is not fully taken. Charlize Theron is underused, and we needed more battles of magic like the final one. In a movie in which there are two evil sorceresses, we see a little too less use of powerful magic. There is also the case of the mirror which should have been better utilized. There are those times when the direction of the movie is a little doubtful and some of the jokes also go on without making the desired effect.

Performers of the soul :: Even though Charlize Theron is there only for a few minutes, she has that kind of a presence that is strong enough to steal the show. We are sure to ask for more of her. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt shines in her ice and snow avatar while Jessica Chastain remains just okay in her role as the huntswoman. Maybe these two could have switched their roles to bring a better effect as we all know what the former is capable of in such a role with her Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow. Chris Hemsworth continues the same thing as he did with the earlier movie, and that manages to be okay. The actors and actresses who played the dwarves bring some good fun. It is nice to have gotten rid of Kristen Stewart’s Snow White though, as that certainly made things a lot better.

How it finishes :: As many other fairy-tales, this one also focuses on that one special thing, which is true love. The main idea here itself is about the two main protagonists and the lost love even though the villains do steal the show in between. It is the usual battle between love and hate that goes on here, and the much awaited defeat of evil waiting to happen by the finish. As a whole, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an entertaining movie which takes those usual elements of fairy-tales and deals them well enough with some interesting messages. It was just too much underrated by the audience and the critics judging it as a part of its predecessor. There are things that fairy-tales could do, and this one thankfully knows that well enough.

Release date: 22nd April 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, Alexandra Roach, Sheridan Smith, Sope Dirisu, Colin Morgan, Fred Tatasciore, Sam Hazeldine, Sophie Cookson, Madeleine Worrall, Kristen Stewart

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ice Age IV

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The Ice Age glory :: The Ice Age is that movie series which made me interested in animated movies, after an age which had only the action and horror movies. Its significance can’t be lessened by the fact that I would have started liking them with Kung-fu Panda or Finding Nemo and I would have reached its zenith with Megamind, and I have liked all the three movies, especially Ice Age: The Meltdown, even though I have to say that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs had the best moments in the series. The first movie might be the one which I liked a little less, as the team wasn’t established and the better characters were yet to come, having that origin story problem. As far as the foreign revenue of the franchise is concerned, it has been on the increase – this fourth movie is the first time an Ice Age movie has been released here in a theatre, that too in a multiplex. The talking pre-historic creatures have never ceased to interest the viewers. Ice Age: Continental Drift, the first not to be directed by Carlos Saldanha would go on to become the highest grossing animated movie of 2012 and the second highest grossing Ice Age movie in total collection.

On Ice Age: Continental Drift :: The director has changed, but we will see more from him with Rio 2, and I have got a feeling that it is going to be awesome. The Rio franchise might be the one with more life than this, considering the continental drift has already occurred. Another movie in the Ice Age series might still occur, but how far they can go with this is a question worth asking. They have got the mammoth married and now has kid, and by the end of this movie, the sabretoothed tiger also has his love, so the story is moving through a path which needs more material. There is so much the predictable side working throughout this one, but they have hidden it well. Ice Age: Continental Drift is no different, but it has managed to keep high standards in what it showed on the screen. It has successfully managed to stay above its immediate challenger Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as well as its unworthy challenger Brave as well as the non-challenge which was Hotel Transylvania to finish as the fifth highest grossing movie and the best grossing animated movie of the year.

What is it about? :: Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) faces problems as their unruly teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is going through social crisis. She seems to have inherited the stupidity of Sid (John Leguizamo), and has a crush on a mammoth named Ethan (Drake) despite the warnings of her molehog friend Louis (Josh Gad). Meanwhile Sid’s family abandons Granny (Wanda Sykes) with him. Manny gets separated from the herd along with Sid, Granny and Diego (Denis Leary), thanks to the effects of having an ungrateful and worthless kid like Peaches who even degrades her own friend, or rather her only friend. Meanwhile the continental drift is occurring, and Ellie, Louis, Peaches, Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) have to make it to safe lands while our heroic team is caught floating towards nowhere until caught by pirates led by a gigantopithecus, Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) who owns a giant floating iceberg which he calls his ship, from where they manage to escape. His crew includes Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a sabretoothed tigress whom Diego shall fall in love with. Chased by pirates and the continental drift, the question remains if Manny can get to his family and Diego can attain his true love.

The defence of Ice Age: Continental Drift :: The Ice Age movies are mostly easy to defend, more than any other animated movie, even as most of them can also come up against simple defence. This is another simple movie from the franchise, with the same characters, Manny, Sid and Diego going on another adventure (a forced one) joined by Granny only to later combine forces with the new-found member Shira. Ellie, Eddie and Crash are not part of the adventure this time, and it is surely for the good. To add to it, there is also Scrat, the squirrel who has his own adventures which is somehow indirectly connected to the lives of each and every creatures of that age. It is going to be very interesting for the kids, no doubt – its innovations and the use of the pre-historic setting will also interest the older ones. This movie lives up to the 3D added to the end of its name too, as it has its pre-historic creatures of awesomeness coming towards you from the screen along with some of other stuff which are not alive. They have indeed tried their best to put something nice and things of good standard into this movie which is part of a franchise that deserves attention.

Pre-historic positives and negatives :: Well, this isn’t the most creative and innovative movie of the series, and it follows the path of its predecessors, with another adventure which happens due to a dumb squirrel and an equally dumb teenage elephant. These characters are too familiar, and so the whole thing had to work perfectly, with the favourite characters on screen. The most loved character would be Sid’s grandma though, as Granny brings more fun than anybody else. The new creatures are well selected for their roles, and as they are close enough to their real pre-historic world in the first look, there won’t be any questions asked. Still, asking questions in a movie like this might be a little too cruel. We know what kind of audience it makes really happy, and as long as it has a lot for the rest of the viewers too, there is not much chance for complaints. At the end of the day, Ice Age will be Ice Age, and most of us will be fans of the series. If taken in the way it is to be taken, this one is a worthy world of snow and ice, next only to a few.

Soul exploration :: The movie tries too much to venture into the world of teenage problems of the new generation which doesn’t give a damn about the opinions of the parents. It is a theme which has been eaten to the core by many other movies without pre-historic creatures, but just this time, it is rather cute, and in the end, we love them all and no harm is done – they all had a great adventure and has returned with no bones broken or teeth fallen. Everybody is happy and feeling good. The end moment of Scrat is also worth a mention when he is told “rise above this base desire; be more than a rodent”, to which he answers by going for his most basic desire which deprives him of everything – he takes out the oak nut which lets the water in and sinks the island full of nuts and lands him in the Death Valley desert. Scrat has always been the symbol of the materialistic man, and here they have taken it to another level as he destroys his Garden of Eden and falls from the paradise. It is not direct, but it is a lesson for the present society after money, just like Peaches is a symbol of anti-family new generation which can end up losing them all.

How it finishes :: I was just wandering through the Hollywood movie channels until stopping at Star Movies the day before yesterday when this movie was showing. It is good to watch the movies you watched on the big screen on the television for a change. But Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is indeed better than this one in many ways despite the box-office results. I would also say that Rise of the Guardians is a much better animated movie of the year compared to this one. But which movie is more enjoyable could be rather left to the people, even as I have already recommended Rise of the Guardians as the animated movie of the year 2012, just like I felt that Frozen is the best animated film of 2013. Ice Age 4 is indeed a success, but it doesn’t come as an improvement to its predecessor. Its fun is still so undeniable that most of us would love to have it. As they say in the movie, “the spifeful ones live the longest”, we can hope that this franchise doesn’t go down in quality, as there surely are some signs around.

Release date: 13th July 2012
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Starring (voice): Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Nicki Minaj, Keke Palmer, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Chris Wedge, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Aziz Ansari, Nick Frost, Heather Morris, Alain Chabat, Joy Behar, Ester Dean, Rebel Wilson, Kunal Nayyar, Alan Tudyk

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.