Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[movies] Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Yesterday afternoon, [info]the_child and I went with a friend to see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters imdb ]. This was mostly at the blog recommendation of the magnificent Howard Tayler. We were highly entertained by a movie so very bad that it transcended its own misbegotten tropes and acquired a weird magnificence. If Walt Disney and and Russ Meyer had been conjoined twins, and Quentin Tarantino their go-to director, this is the kind of fairy tale fare we would have seen from Big Mouse.

I'm not going to talk about Hansel & Gretel's contributions to the American cinematic oeuvre. The plot was linear but not quite running on rails, the cinematography was Matrix: Faux Medieval minus the Wachowski's incredible sense of design, the acting was competent (which was probably better than the script deserved), and Jeremy Renner was Jeremy Renner. But it was fun, in a sort of bloody-handed way.

It's perfectly possible to complain about the movie's gender politics and apparent position on female empowerment. There's more than a whiff of racial issues with respect to the troll character, though there's also a surprising redemption. The politics of the movie's rendition of Medieval Augsburg are sort of High Noon crossed with low cunning. And historicity got tossed in the same rubbish bin as continuity when they made this leather-clad, red-stained monster of a film.

On the plus side, the opening credits were worth the price of admission. The music was quite good. The running gags, including Renner's riffs on John McClane in stylish ahistorical drag, were funny to the point of inspired. The witch costuming and makeup, especially in the final scenes, were straight out of Hieronymus Bosch.

Did I mention it was fun? Sort of the way Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was fun, but without that movie's nuanced treatment of historical issues and complex characters. Don't go unless you're prepared for blood on the walls and gingerbread house induced diabetes (really), but, man... We liked it.

Howard, I think you owe me one. Or maybe the other way around.

Tags: child, friends, movies, reviews

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