How many movies have been made in the past three years that dealt with revisionist histories of fairy tales? More than I can remember, and in fact, more than I care to remember. Most of them were pretty bad, trying for drama and horror and even trying to take themselves seriously. When I saw the trailers for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, all I could do was guffaw and hope that it would be as ridiculous as it looked.
My dearest hopes for the film were fulfilled. Hansel and Gretel is one of the silliest movies I've ever seen. Magic, monsters, automatic crossbow weapons, leather pants -- and fight scenes that were choreographed as much for slapstick humor as for impact. This movie is a mash-up of Wild, Wild West, Scary Movie, Men in Black, and everything Quentin Tarantino.
Yes, Q. Tarantino. There were decapitations, stabbings, explosions of gore. And a Gatling gun. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is completely over the top.
I was ... embarrassed? that I couldn't help laughing, the gags so absurd -- but then I have always been known to have a primitive sense of humor. Clotheslining a witch on a speeding flying broomstick will get me every time.
The plot? Oh, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), mysteriously orphaned as children, make their way in the world by rescuing villagers from evil witches. This story takes up as the brother and sister magic-fighters seek eleven missing children who may have been kidnapped to be used in a powerful witch's Twelve Moon spell. The twelfth child is kidnapped, and all that is left for the evil witches to complete their mayhem is wrapped up in the mists of Hansel and Gretel's past.
Will this film be successful? I don't know. Was it of value to the future of cinematography? No, of course not. Having seen the ending leave things open to a sequel, would I, somewhere down the road, go see Hansel and Gretel II?
Yes, and start laughing even before the movie begins.
Hello, my name is Toby Backwash, but people usually call me Bottom-dweller. I don't know why, but I figure it's because I live in Cousin Mabel's basement. I'm here today because my good friend Bernie asked me to go to the movies for him since, what with him being a highbrow movie reviewer with a real job at Piker Press, he said that he was not actually allowed in a theater where they were showing a movie like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. He said I was tasteless and thought maybe I would like it. I don't know why he said I was tasteless, but I figure it's because I had most of my sense of taste burnt out from eating Cousin Mabel's fried ghost pepper poppers stuffed with horseradish. They're real good. That horseradish has a nice cooling effect on the tongue as it squirts out when you bite into them.
I said sure I'd go, because I like Bernie a lot, and besides, he paid for my ticket.
I was blowed away by the spectacle that unfolded before my eyes on that movie picture screen. There was Hansel and Gretel all grown up. There was Hansel, who looked just like Hawkeye in the The Avengers except that he has long sleeves and he had given his bow to his sister Gretel. And then there was Gretel who had really grown up good and wore really, really nice pants. She reminds a bit of a cute Dirty Harry, you know, the tough talking good guy with an attitude who doesn't put up with stuff from any bad guy.
There were all kinds of witches, a troll named Edward, even good witches and bad sheriffs.
This was probably the best movie I've seen since Conan the Barbarian, except of course for Boat Trip. I'd give it four Turkeys out of five on the Backwash's Turkey Scale of Fame.
The Piker Press staff would like to assure the reading public that Mr. Pilarski would never have gone to this type of movie, would never have laughed at the low brow humor, would never have noticed Gretel's pants, would never have enjoyed himself, and would never have in any way, shape, or form associated himself with this silly sort of entertainment. In fact, Mr. Pilarski was out of town attending the Symposium on Esoteric Things and could not have attended this movie anyway. He will be attending another symposium when this movie comes out on DVD, and probably will not watch it a second time, and is pretty sure he will be busy when the sequel comes out and will therefore be unable to see it, too.