[movies] Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Yesterday afternoon, [info]the_child and I went with a friend to see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters imdb ]. This was mostly at the blog recommendation of the magnificent Howard Tayler. We were highly entertained by a movie so very bad that it transcended its own misbegotten tropes and acquired a weird magnificence. If Walt Disney and and Russ Meyer had been conjoined twins, and Quentin Tarantino their go-to director, this is the kind of fairy tale fare we would have seen from Big Mouse.

I’m not going to talk about Hansel & Gretel‘s contributions to the American cinematic oeuvre. The plot was linear but not quite running on rails, the cinematography was Matrix: Faux Medieval minus the Wachowski’s incredible sense of design, the acting was competent (which was probably better than the script deserved), and Jeremy Renner was Jeremy Renner. But it was fun, in a sort of bloody-handed way.

It’s perfectly possible to complain about the movie’s gender politics and apparent position on female empowerment. There’s more than a whiff of racial issues with respect to the troll character, though there’s also a surprising redemption. The politics of the movie’s rendition of Medieval Augsburg are sort of High Noon crossed with low cunning. And historicity got tossed in the same rubbish bin as continuity when they made this leather-clad, red-stained monster of a film.

On the plus side, the opening credits were worth the price of admission. The music was quite good. The running gags, including Renner’s riffs on John McClane in stylish ahistorical drag, were funny to the point of inspired. The witch costuming and makeup, especially in the final scenes, were straight out of Hieronymus Bosch.

Did I mention it was fun? Sort of the way Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was fun, but without that movie’s nuanced treatment of historical issues and complex characters. Don’t go unless you’re prepared for blood on the walls and gingerbread house induced diabetes (really), but, man… We liked it.

Howard, I think you owe me one. Or maybe the other way around.

9 thoughts on “[movies] Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

  1. Don says:

    Definitely worth seeing in the theater, but at a matinee. The over the top anachronisms…Well, Over the top, down the street and throwing a rave for attention, were the biggest issue for me.

    1. Jay says:

      I wound up just swallowing the anachronisms as part of the package. But yes, waaay over the top.

  2. Cora says:

    I’m not a fan of the current wave of Americanized fairy tale retellings in general, basically because the cultural appropriation aspects bother me. I’m not against fairy tale retellings (or using tropes of a culture not one’s own) in general and indeed was a big fan of the Czech fairy tale film adaptions that were a TV staple of my youth. But the current wave of US fairy tale retellings is so completely divorced from the cultural and historical background those stories originated in and occasionally snooty about it, too (“Well, the old fairy tales were flawed and we improved upon them.”). Interestingly, most of my countrymen seem to feel similarly about Americanized fairy tales retellings, since none of them have found much success over here.

  3. Lucy says:

    I don’t know about cultural appropriation. Personally I’m more concerned with the oh so clever (not really) use of diabetes in the plot. As a person with type 1 diabetes I’ve seen Hollywood films that depicted diabetes incorrectly before, and I have never really cared about it, you known it’s Hollywood, not a documentary. But this one just stuck out as being particularly annoying. Don’t really care if I sound like Debbie Downer, but can we not use diabetes as a punchline until we all understand that sugar is not the sole cause. It can contribute to type 2 diabetes, but probably not on the way the general public thinks. To be honest it just sucks to have a not very fun chronic illness that people think you inflicted on yourself because you couldn’t hold back on the soda and cupcakes. I am not so precious that I don’t ever want people to joke about diabetes, but can we please stop with the sugar causes diabetes lulz.

    Anyway rant over! One last thing, how on earth, in what universe are Hawkeye and Gemma Arterton related?

    1. Jay says:

      Actually, the treatment of diabetes in the movie bugged me.

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