Fairy tales are back on the big screen. This weekend we will find out if grown up versions of Hansel and Gretel can leave a trail of bread crumbs and become a cult classic.
Believe it or not, a lot is riding on this movie. Movie studios have been spending large chunks of cash creating movies based on fairy tales and giving them an edge, and adapting presidential vampire hunter novels. Because every one of those movies (without Kristen Stewart) bombed, this may be the last chance we have at over the top action combined with nursery rhymes and children’s stories.
It’s a shame too, because I was eagerly looking forward to exploring the dark side of The Pokey Little Puppy: Son of Cujo.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play Hansel and Gretel. The movie begins with a different take on the classic Grimm fairy tale. The brother and sister are abandoned in the woods and they find a candy cottage that is too good to pass up. We all know the story so I won’t rehash it here. But after they dispatch of the witch, they become defenders of villages and missing children everywhere. When we catch up with the heroes years later they are decked out in steampunk outfits and armored to the nines. Their legend precedes them wherever they go. Even witches run away from the duo.
While searching for missing children they come face to face with a Grand Witch (Famke Janssen) who is looking to sacrifice 12 children during the next Blood Moon. But the Grand Witch also has plans for the witch hunters. From her, they’ll learn more about what really happened when they were abandoned in the forest.
No one should go into this movie expecting a serious adventure. Hansel and Gretel have all manner of makeshift/modern weapons. They constantly quip during the entire movie. I think Renner was trying to be the apathetic, cool anti-hero, but it just kind of falls flat. This movie has elements of comedy but it’s mostly due to the violence. Each kill is over the top insanity that normally I’d go for, but it just felt added to keep you shocked and make you smirk.
There is no one in this movie to root for. Yes, you want to see how the witch hunters take down each witch, but you never get emotionally involved with them as characters. My biggest gripe with this movie is that I wanted to have fun and it never crosses that line. Even when they mow down a horde of witches with a Gatling gun imbued with holy water, I still couldn’t really care.
I can give this movie a shrug-worthy recommendation for fanboys looking for a violent movie this weekend, but this will quickly be forgotten just as most January movies do. It’s worth a dollar rental, but nothing more.