Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
January 28, 2013
Or as we like to call it in my household, Hawkeye and Gretel.
The short review: It passed the Bechdel Test, and Gretel wore sensible flat-heeled boots the entire time! Also, that shirtless Jeremy Renner scene I requested turned out mighty fine.
The longer review: I would not have gone to see this at all if not for Jeremy Renner in leather. I figured I’d suffer through another terrible Van Helsing-like mess of a movie, but hoped that Jeremy Renner in leather would be enough to get me through. But you know what? I’m really glad I saw this. This thing is delightful. Darkly campy in a totally intentional, self-aware way. There’s a brief, quite wonderful visual gag right after the opening credits that’s just too good to give away, everyone in the theater laughed, and it clearly stated the filmmakers’ intention with this movie: it’s going to be funny, you are allowed to laugh. And then they delivered. The scene with Ben the witch hunter groupie in the tavern? (“That’s kind of weird,” Gretel says. “Kind of creepy,” Hansel adds.) So awesome. The action is fast-paced and gross and reminded me very much of early Sam Raimi, which counts as a good thing in my book. And there’s a plot! Holy crap, a plot that makes sense! Things are set up! There is payoff! The movie is no longer than it needs to be!
In fact, the more I think about it, the more this feels like a throwback to the kind of cheesy 80’s fantasy movie I loved so much. Our badasses collect a band of endearing allies in their quest to defeat, in a very straightforward manner, the very straightforward bad guys. There are a lot of jokes and quirks, done intelligently and intentionally. No angst or machinations shoehorned in in an attempt to seem deep and serious. Good actors having straight-up fun. And Gretel. Oh, my. She’s wonderful, an old-school kick-ass heroine from the days of Xena and Valeria, before the Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale versions of the kick-ass heroine made it all about sex more than action. I wasn’t much of a fan of Gemma Arterton, but I am now. SHE WORE SENSIBLE BOOTS!!!
Seriously, it’s the little things.
(Update: It’s also been pointed out to me that Gretel wears her hair pulled back and out of her face the whole time. Double sensible!)
Bonus G.I. Joe commentary: they ran a special long preview of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and I have a couple of comments. Love Snake Eyes’ new outfit. Love the gonzo straight-from-the-comic-book bits. (Seriously, the Cobra banners on the White House? I needed that.) Hate the 3-D conversion.