Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Writing and one-liners highlights in ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Published: February 8, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” is exactly how the movie is advertised. It follows in the tradition of those wintertime action movies loaded with copious amounts of explosions and action that seem to prequel summer blockbusters. Hansel (Jeremy Renner, who played Hawkeye in “The Avengers”) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton, the Princess in “Prince of Persia” and the mysterious maiden in “Clash of the Titans”), the two siblings from the famous fairy tale, teach children not to accept candy from strangers.

In the first 10 minutes of the movie, the original fairy tale is re-enacted—albeit with a twist: the children get lured into the witch’s candy hut, but they kill the foul temptress and move on with their lives by using amazing fighting skills that they possess. Then, a series of images and caricatures in the form of “Your Highness” (2011) show the pair growing up, fighting and killing more witches, which seems to be their calling in life. Finally, they are led to a town that has, conveniently enough, lost 11 children born in 11 different months. Using their great sleuthing abilities, the pair discern that only one child is missing from this evil plot: cue a great amount of destruction, appealing women who suddenly turn into shrieking, grotesque harpies and an oddly touching but extremely creepy love story involving a troll.

The movie has some amazing one-liners but only a few of which are actually worthy of chuckles. The characters say their lines in a manner that appears as if they too, know how ridiculous the movie is. Lines like, “One thing this job has taught me over the years: Don’t eat the fucking candy!” and “We kill witches, what do you do?” are accompanied by some kind of crossed-arms posture. These are all delivered with a droll sense of humor, as if the actors are struggling to say them without breaking out into laughter at the absurdity of it all.

The most interesting plot twist centers around the troll who, suddenly, with absolutely no explanation, decides to defy the witches for whom he has faithfully served his entire life. Despite his line, “Trolls always serve witches,” he changes his mind in order to help Hansel and Gretel, presumably because Gretel falls in front of him with her leather suit pulled down a little. They then use him for his strength and convenience, with almost no recompense. In fact, he is thrown into the middle of an enormous battle against magic-wielding witches while the main characters stay far away, unleashing blood with machine guns, shot guns and exploding crossbow bolts. Yes, all these weapons magically exist in the 1500s—and no, the witches don’t possess any of them.

On the plus side, the scenery chosen for the film was exquisite, and the shots cost more than most people will make in their entire lifetime. The movie did not have a fully thought-out plot, but it was not advertised as such. It followed the mold of many Hollywood fairy tale movies with a new twist, such as recent releases “Red Riding Hood” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” None of these movies could be said to have thought-provoking, interesting plots, as they were released for the explosions and the action more than anything else. And with that, audiences got exactly what they paid for. One does not walk into this movie expecting some great, in-depth plot line that will play tricks on the mind.

A person should expect an 88-minute long movie with quite a few explosions, houses falling down, fake screams of terror, huge amounts of blood, some nonsensical plot twists and an attractive lead actress. If anyone were to see this movie expecting a serious spectacle, they would be disappointed. It delivers everything that is promised, and for that, it is an enjoyable movie. If you are in the mood for watching some random village get decimated, some ugly witches get killed, a blundering sheriff get humiliated, multiple things blow up with enough blood to fill a large crater, and most important of all, learn that you should never, ever, enter a house made of candy, then this movie is for you.