Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

To be honest, I went into this film with very low expectations.  I came out wonderfully surprised and pleased.  Spoiler-free reasons below:

First and foremost, I expected: the Grimm fairytale to just be a background point to thrust Hansel and Gretel into crazy situations and violence.  I didn’t even entirely expect to see a representation of the Grimm tale.

What happened: This portrayal of the fairytale  attained the feeling of true nightmare in a few simple, brutal strokes.  It truly lives up to the Grimm brothers.  Additionally, the candy house is beautifully designed and more interesting than the more fluffy, familiar versions I’ve seen.  Moreover, the backstory to their version of the fairytale is the keystone of the plot, keeping center stage.  No matter what else it is, it is a real fairytale film.

Secondly, I expected: that this film would attempt to follow up its violence and gore with drama.

The truth: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is FAR from taking itself too seriously.  It unabashedly includes modern swearing, anachronistic inventions, and comedy.  It’s like “Wanted” if the film itself had admitted how ridiculous its premises were, instead of just accepting that the viewers would do that for them.  The violence and gore is like the fantasy version of “Wanted”-lots of action, booyah moments are paramount, and any real injuries are quickly overcome (by washing instead of wax, this time).  It’s a grand, old time.

Thirdly, I expected: to have a lot of thoughts about how they treat gender in this movie where the two protagonists are of different genders.

What I’ve Got: They did a good job.  Are there a couple of nits that could be picked?  Of course there are.  (Such as  including the butt and breasts of a girl, but only the naked torso of a guy, in accordance with current Hollywood rules.)   But by and large, I found their portrayals of Hansel and Gretal and their abilities fairly equal.

What I did not expect: Goofy references to other fairy tales.

What happened: a “Goldilocks” reference, of all things.  They could have at least thrown in a couple more, so it would be another comedy thing instead of that one what are you doing? instance.

In short, I really enjoyed this movie.  It could have gone on a little longer for me, even!  And even for those who wouldn’t enjoy the comedic action film that it is, the opening scene depicting the Grimm tale is still a marvelous addition to cinematic folklore.  Hurrah for pleasant surprises!

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