It was 2009 when we first heard about Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a film starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, whose plot you can guess from the title. If it was a Michael Bay or Paul WS Anderson production I’d say it sounded like the worst thing ever (and Michael Bay did indeed want to make a gritty Hansel and Gretel movie at one point), but when it’s Will Ferrel and Adam McKay’s production company Gary Sanchez producing a film by Tommy Wirkola (of Død Snø fame), you hope that it’s well-directed satire. Of course, Hollywood has a way of turning a send-up into a straightforward movie about the thing you were trying to send up (The Change-Up, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter). You can decide whether that’s happened with Hansel after the jump. It looks slightly more tongue-in-cheek than Abe Lincoln Vamp Hunter, but not overtly comedic either, and the fact that it’s being dumped into theaters in January seems to indicate that the studio doesn’t think too highly of it. But Karl Hungus gets head butted in it, so there’s that.
Here’s what Arterton had to say about it a few months back:
Folktales like this have been told over and over again, changing every time. What’s the constant that your movie picks up?
They resonate with your fears, that’s how these fairy tales worked. They scared you into behaving. This one in particular is about abandonment and being lost and parents leaving you. The heart of it is that these kids grow up to be bloodthirsty witch hunters. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, really. What would Hansel and Gretel be in 15 years time?
Though it’s comedic, deep down it’s about abused kids becoming kind of hyper-responsible?
But it’s also very, very dark, and bloodthirsty and there’s a lot of cursing. It’s kind of got a Tarantino feel, really.
Here’s a tip for all you trailer editors out there, if the movie’s called “Hansel and Gretel,” you don’t need to spend half the trailer trying to convince us that the main character names’ are indeed Hansel and Gretel. Let the headline do its work.
I’d like to see the darker, grittier version of this that’s just Jeremma Rennerton going from town to town throwing weird girls in the river to see if they drown. With dub-step playing.
[HD trailer at Apple]