The first time I saw the trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, I shook my head and said, “This is either going to be really good or really bad.” In a sense, it’s both. I was fully prepared to sit down and rip this film a new asshole. I wound up absolutely loving it. “Why?” I wondered to myself. “Erin, you have friends that are pagan. You used to BE pagan. This should offend you on principle! What the hell is wrong with you?” Glutton for punishment, I guess. The heart wants what it wants. There’s no rhyme or reason, so I’m approaching this one appreciative list-style. I should hate it, but I’m fresh out of fucks to give. I’ll freely cop to it. Here are reasons I love this film, despite that it should fill me with a guilt I reserve for eating more cheesecake than I should.
|I feel mildly dirty admitting that I like this. Mildly.|
Sweet fucking Christ do I love this woman. The voice. The hair. The fact that she doesn’t have a thigh gap. Her Gretel is sassy and badass. She gets to pull a gun on and headbutt Peter Stormare! I’d like to buy the costume department a drink as well. Between the corset and the pants, I am eternally grateful.
The cleanest medieval town ever
Don’t you just love how clean this place is? There’s no shit anywhere. No litter. Even the missing children have their pictures drawn onto glass milk containers. Everything is so clean-swept. They even have a fire department! I’m reminded of Monty Python and the Holy Grail making jokes about the state of the town. This is how I gauge everything set in the olden days. I got way more enjoyment and wonder out of the setting than I should have.
The witch chasing scenes
These witches have more pancake than IHOP on their faces, which is fascinating in and of itself. Watching them get chased through the woods with all that shellac? Yes please. I’m not sure how they managed to saddle up on those broomsticks and not fall off with all of that piled on. Color me impressed. Watching them get smacked off of a broomstick in the same manner as hitting a baseball with all that on their faces? Even better. Just adds to the whole thing. All it was missing was the Benny Hill theme.
|Honest question: how do you move around with all that on your face?|
I can’t believe they went there, yet here it is, like that kid with the unfortunate name on your class roster (oh, the stories I could tell…). This one breaks my brain every time I see it. He has a timer that lets him know when he needs a shot — how did he even figure that one out? The explanation of it is just as ridiculous: “The witch made me eat all that candy…” Dude, eating a ton of candy does not give you diabetes! I can’t believe the script went there, yet it did. It nearly kills him in the end; part of me wishes it had. It’s the dumbest plot point since the dude getting turned white in Iron Sky. It’s so stupid. Yet I love it. Chalk it up to the train wreck principle: you can’t look away.
I like splatter (to a certain extent). I’m weird, though, because I like a balance between realistic and campy. When it borders on or crosses the line into flat-out schlock, that’s when I get excited to an unnatural extent. Blame it on me being an Evil Dead fan. This film has a ton of the schlock-style gore. Drawing and quartering using trees. Ripping someone’s eyes and brains out. Exploding heads. I love how the blood is obviously composed of corn syrup and yogurt and gets onto everything. My personal favorite is the guy that explodes due to the curse of hunger for crawling things. The reactions of everyone in the tavern are classic. However, the baddies get sliced up and stomped is a close second (both witches and sheriff).
Renner gets beaten up
I don’t really care for Jeremy Renner. He’s not my favorite by a long shot. I just get a smarmy vibe from him, which works in this role, but still. I don’t see the pull for much else. So any day that I can watch him get thrown around is a good day. Yes, it’s Schadenfreude. Yes, I’m a bad person. It’s also fun. Everyone has at least one actor that you’d love to see this happen to. Whether or not you admit it is up to you.
An industrial soundtrack
I never would have pegged this one as having an industrial soundtrack. Strings? Sure. Electric guitars? Not so much. As soon as the first one started, I had “one of these things is not like the other” running through my head. I wasn’t expecting that; methinks my expectations were far too high. What surprised me was that it wasn’t entirely bad. Between the sound distortion and the guitars, the music brings an element of fun to an action movie. Especially when they’re set in the Germany of yesteryear. It’s as out of place as their version of guns, which just adds to the glee of it all.
I like that not all of the witches in this are bad. Sure, we get to see the big, bad, ugly, stereotypical ones, but there are some good ones as well that don’t try to eat anyone. Is it stereotypical that the good witch stripped down and got handsy in the pool with our hero? Yeah. But at the same time, she did get to kick some ass in the name of good. It’s always nice when the good witch tells the hero, “Kill the fucking bitch.” So heart-warming. She really did have our best interests at heart.
The return to the candy cottage
Yeah, it’s cheesy. But really, it’s a house made out of fucking candy. That’s like goddamned Christmas for me. This is Hansel and Gretel, after all. You get what you pay for. Both of their reactions to seeing the house again are priceless.
|This is my version of a dream house.|
Machine guns! Bullet time! Smacking someone in the face! Closed casket jokes! It’s like my favorite things all rolled into one. All it’s missing is an explosion and glitter. It was the perfect way to end it. And I can’t wait to see what sorts of batshit things they do for the sequel.
I should hate myself for liking this. However, the operative word here is “should.” I don’t. I will wear this one on my sleeve.