Every once and a while a film surprises me. This was one of those films. Now to be fair it is easier to surprise Ol' Boony when his expectations are dirt low... possibly six feet below dirt level low. I remember watching the first trailer and thinking - Well, that could be some lovely fun, but it will probably be some PG-13 crap, and well nah, forget it. Then um, it made 400 million world wide. And well sometimes when all the local critics be slamming a film, I like the think the world at large can occasionally prove them wrong.
So, Hansel & Gretel. One of the original Grimm Brothers fairy tales gets quite the update here. The two young children get led into the woods and abandoned by dear ol' Dad. Then wander around until they discover a candy house. They enter the house (of course who wouldn't), it turns out to belong to an evil witch that loves to eat children. They discover they are immune to witch magic, kill the candy house witch, and decide to dedicate themselves to the destruction of Witches, and well, most things evil. Enter a village some twenty years later that needs their town and children protected and saved. Of course their is actually a super evil witch, with a super evil witch plan. And they must stop them.
Yup. This could have been horrible, in fact, I will go so far as to say it should have been. Yet, the movie does one thing so well that it actually works: the movie gets that it's bad, in the best way. It embraces the lunacy, and goes so far across the line that you just get sucked in. Also, R rated! Who knew. And tonnes of the red stuff folks, I mean giddy amounts. For instance, one scene in particular involves I think 4 or 5 peeps getting their heads popped - in spectacular red cherry pie exploding -fashion in about twenty seconds. That is a applause worthy amount of bloodshed/time ratio.
Within that level of lunacy everything goes because we should understand quickly this film is meant to be fun, and nothing else. Even the usually stone faced action man himself - Jeremy Renner (as Hansel) is so obviously enjoying planting his tongue firmly in cheek that I found myself laughing when he wanted to. What's that? They have all these crazy advanced witch hunting weapons like gatling guns and handheld canons, and well the list goes on... who cares. Sit back and enjoy the explosions, and exploding witches.
|Gingers. The soulless must die!|
The always attractive Gemma Arterton as Gretel is a blast too, though she plays it a little more straight laced than Hansel. Surprisingly because of the level of Lunacy and the likeability of the leads I found myself enjoying the story more than I expected. And Famke Janssen is another actor just cutting lose here. Super evil witch with sex appeal and crazy cracked blue makeup...
Listen the story is silly. You just need to accept that. Where the hell did they get all this weapontry and how did they skip decades of firearm evolution? I have no idea, and ya it kinda bothered me, but should it? I'm watching a big budget R rated action movie based on a fairy tale written over a hundred years ago about children being lured to a candy house... If I have a problem with a plot loop hole I should probably slap myself.
And there was a TROLL! A giant awesome troll. You know how long it's been since I saw a good troll on the Tele? Too freaking long thats how long. This is in a way, probably the funnest big budget fantasy tale in a while. Do away with all that doom and gloom of LOTR, and forget the teen heroic evolution of Harry Potts, and just toss some magic on top of big guns and some great one liners.
|In fairness to Jeremy Renner. I'd hit a crazy siamese witch bitch in the face too.|
Did I mention this large budgeted film is directed by Tommy Wirkola... the man behind the cult zombie nazi sensation that was Dead Snow. Ya. So a big studio handed a whole bunch of millions to a indie horror director and said make a cool movie about witch hunting... and it can be R rated... You just have to be pumped about that.
I am sitting here to tell you if you enjoyed the strange, and are a wee bit of a B movie fan. This should be right up your alley, but even for the casual viewer, with no interest in the non mainstream, this should still hold you in your chair. As long as the doritos aren't too far...
Can't believe I'm saying this... I think I'm pumped for a sequel.
- Charles B Boonsweet
Popcorn.... blood... and sexy ladies... Yes please.