Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hansel and Gretel....Franchise or Flop?

   Hansel and Gretel. We all remember the fairy tale, but this is certainly not a kids story. The movie takes the fairy tale characters and turns them into a brother and sister version of Van Helsing. The famous vampire hunter was not exactly a fan favorite so how do the witch hunters fare?

  The kids are abandoned by their parents and come across a cottage made of candy. The begin to eat, Hansel more than Gretel, but quickly learn that the house belongs to a witch. They survive the encounter, burn the witch, and begin a career of hunting and killing witches. They enter a small town where children have gone missing and for a price begin a quest to find the children and kill the witch.
What they find is a bigger plot with multiple witches that will teach them not only about there beliefs, but also about their past.

  Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the title characters and do a decent job. Renner's Hansel does feel a bit like Hawkeye minus the bow, but it does work. While it does feel like Van Helsing, I found it to be less silly at points. The fight scenes are top notch and most of the time I had fun with the movie.

 Famke Janssen is good as the evil dark witch, but I am not sure that she was the best option in casting. Her performance was never bad, but it came across a little too " Jean Grey Possessed" for my taste. Peter Stomare is great as the town sheriff , but is under utilized.  The weapons were straight out of Van Helsing, but for some reason I liked them better here than there. The make up and visual effect are top notch and are not over used. The movie seems to set up a possible franchise, but I am sure that will depend on box office returns. All of that sounds like a pretty good movie right?

 It's not bad, but it certainly has it's flaws. Hansel needs injections to live and the reason is never fully understood why. The over all purpose of Janssen's is a little weak. The language and gore will make it difficult to find the family audience. Most people probably won't care. The movie's pacing felt a bit rushed and because of this, you never really get attached to the title characters. It tries to have emotion, but it just falls short.

 All of that being said, I did like it. I was shocked that it was produced by Will Ferrel and Adam McKay who are best known for comedy. Obviously. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for in fun. It certainly falls short of a summer blockbuster, but grab some popcorn and forget about life for a couple of hours. It is a mash up of Van Helsing, Blade, and Snow White and The Huntsman, but if it merits another outing? I would be along for the ride.