Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Get out your steampunk corsets and machine gun crossbows, we're reviewing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters!
"We heard from a rabbit you like children!"
Hansel(Jeremy Renner) and Gretel(Gemma Arterton) were abandoned by their parents in the forest as children and almost eaten by a witch, so obviously they have to devote their lives to killing every witch they find! But when a grand witch(Famke Janssen) comes along and starts kidnapping ALL OF THE CHILDREN, Hanel and Gretel must stop her! Then they discover some strange things about their past.

I think the main reason I was excited for this is that this is the first extreme-fairytale version of the Hansel and Gretel mythos. And that should be something to boast about in itself. I mean, remember last year when we had to watch all of the Snow White re-imaginings?  Or the year before that when we had all of the Alice in Wonderland re-imaginings? And let's not count out Red Riding Hood or Beauty and the Beast. So color me excited when I finally get to see a fairy tale that hasn't been tapped yet.

And thankfully, it is exactly as awesome as I expected it to be. Well, let me clarify that. It's not more awesome, or less awesome, it is the exact amount of awesome that I expected, which is rare. But that means that it's still a fairly kick-ass movie. It actually feels a lot like Van Helsing, except the story to action ratio is about 1 to 10 instead of the other way around.  There is a lot of action here, a lot of bloody gory steampunky fighting action. It's a lot more bloody than I thought'd it be, with heads getting squashed and limbs getting torn apart and great big gobs of blood gushing every which way.  Which I guess I should have expected with the R rating? Also lots of swearing and some nudity. So there you go with that!

The movie is short(only 88 minutes) and feels quite quick, which is probably better than it overstaying it's welcome. It gets a bit slow in the middle but speeds back up quickly. And it has a very bloody big final third act. You will not be bored with this movie is what I'm saying.

Not to say that there's no story or that the story is bad. It's actually pretty interesting what they do with the mythos. It's pretty easy to spot the twists right away, but they're still fun and a pretty nice ironic twist on the story.  I think they could have taken it more to the dramatic, but it's still interesting.  I kind of love Hansel's secret illness, once you figure out what it is. Really though, I'm surprised they took the high road and didn't have a running joke of how silly Hansel's name sounds.  And we're all just accepting that this is Marvel cannon that Jean Grey/Phoenix went back in time after she was destroyed in X-Men 3 and fights Hawkeye's ancestor, right? Because that would make so much sense. I mean he even wears basically the same suit one time in the movie!

Renner and Arterton are pretty badass in this, and Janssen finally gets a role where she seems like she's having fun!  And hey look, lots of badass ladies. Gretel gets nursed back to health by a couple fo guys and she does need saving by Hansel in the end, but then she does punch a lot of dudes in the face. I don't really know how well the portrayal of women holds up with this movie. On the one hand, the women main characters seem to outnumber the male main characters, and they are all quite badass, but on the otherhand, it seems only females can be witches(no warlocks huh?) and more male characters survive than female, so I don't know about this one.

The cgi is alright, but the make-up and practical effects are incredibly well done. I'm surprised they didn't show any of the troll in the previews, I guess because it would make the movie look silly? He does look like something that stepped out of The Neverending Story, but it's kind of great that he looks like that and he's in this violent swearing action movie. I saw this in 3D and it was...adequate. It wasn't all in 3D, but there were just barely enough stuff-coming-at-you shots that it wasn't a complete waste.  I would say it's fine to see it in either 2D or 3D.  And the animated opening credits and closing credits are really well done for anyone like me who likes that sort of thing.  Also, the soundtrack is pretty good! It kind of reminds me of the first Hellboy score, and it gets stuck in your head, but in a good way.
The many faces of Famke Janssen.
Hansel and Gretel: WItch Hunters is about as good as I expected it to be. It's not amazing and it's not bad, but it's a pretty great fairy tale action movie worth checking out. Loads of bloody silly action if you're into that sort of thing.

THE GOOD: Lots of good action, nice to see a new classic fairy tale, steampunk style, good soundtrack, bloody, Hawkeye, good make-up, overall fun.

THE BAD: might be too gory? not amazing, cgi is only ok, 3D isn't great

THE VERDICT: $$$$ See it! It's a fun action movie with Hawkeye and that girl from The Prince of Persia fighting Jean Grey with steampunk crossbows! That is a thing that is out in theaters now.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Van Helsing, Snow White and the Huntsman, Alice in Wonderland, The Brothers Grimm

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Hansel and Gretel fight a witch with shotguns and high-speed crossbows. Which scene is that specifically? Pretty much ALL OF THE SCENES.  I mean, that's basically the whole movie. Does that sound fun? Yes? Then go see it.

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