“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” (Universal)

Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain star in a scene from the movie "The Huntsman: Winter's War." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

Positioned to bookend the action of 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” this lavishly-staged adventure — at once a prequel and a sequel to the original — is well intentioned but dull and derivative.

Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin have doubled up on everything from the first outing, matching their two time frames with a duo of wicked queens (Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt), a pair of rival kingdoms and a brace of brave huntsmen (Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain). A quartet of dwarves (Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach) is thrown in for good measure.

With barely a nod to the Brothers Grimm, the filmmakers cobble together a silly plot involving a quest to locate a missing magic mirror and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Cartoonish action violence, implied premarital sexual activity, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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