Huntsman: Winter’s War, The

Featured In Issue 209, September 2016

WSR Score
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Fantasy action violence and some sensuality.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
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DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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In The Huntsman: Winter's War, the evil Queen Raven (Theron) betrays her good sister Freya (Blunt) with an unforgivable act, freezing Freya's heart to love and unleashing in her an icy power she never knew she possessed. Retreating to a kingdom far to the north, Freya raises an army of Huntsmen as her protectors, with the only rule that no two of them should ever fall in love. As a war for domination escalates between the two queens, the hero standing between good and evil is Freya's most elite Huntsman, Eric (Hemsworth). Alongside fellow warrior Sara (Chastain)—the only woman who has ever captured his heart—Eric must help Freya vanquish her sister, or Raven's wickedness will rule for eternity. Also available in a 4K Ultra HD version. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan; five featurettes: Two Queens And Two Warriors (HD 07:22), Meet The Dwarfs (HD 08:10), Magic All Around (HD 08:44), Dressed To Kill (HD 06:03), and Love Conquers All (HD 05:58); four deleted scenes with director commentary (HD 08:57); a gag reel (HD 09:43); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, photographed digitally, is terrific and exhibits a warm, earthy color palette. The forest scenes are perfectly natural with rich browns and greens. At times bright light is brilliant, and the ice and snow is hued believably as real ice. Other color treatments are dominated by cold blue and gray hues. A scene in which the mirror liquified into flowing gold is mesmerizing. Fleshtones also retain a perfectly natural hue throughout, with some stylization at times. Leathery armor and other wooden objects exhibit an impressive naturalness. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. This is particularly evident in forest scenes and darkended castle interiors. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail exhibited throughout, especially during close-ups of facial features, strands of hair and hair stubble, caked-on grime, tattered and tailored clothing, and all manner of object texture. Such imparts outstanding realism of locations and production designs. This is an impressive reference-quality visual experience that will not disappoint. The visuals are stunning! (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding and rendered effectively, with fine nuanced sonics and atmospheric sound effects that draw one into the story. The soundfield is very expansive and enveloping, with an aggressive surround presence that is at times directionalized. Dynamics are often intense with natural sounding, deep .1 LFE bass that extends to sub-25 Hz frequencies. The frontal soundstage is quite wide and deep. The orchestral score is nicely recorded and occupies all channels with excellent spatial definition. Atmospherics are excellent, especially during the forest scenes, with impressive naturalness. Sound effects are also impressive and heighten the sense of excitement in the more intense segments. Arrow whooshes and sword clanks are perfectly realistic sounding, as well as rain and thunder. Another notable effect is the sense of natural reverberation character in numerous scenes. Dialogue sounds natural throughout and is well integrated spatially, including the occasional narration. This is an enthralling holosonic® soundtrack experience that is reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)