Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Movie Review: Hansel & Gretel (feat. a bonus Gripe!)

This is the first opportunity I've had to sit at my keyboard and actually type out a review and response to the film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters since I went with Partner to see it last weekend. I must say, my review will be pretty short and sweet, as I fucking loved this movie. Yes, the profanity is necessary, as it indicates the sheer degree to which I enjoyed the film.

Hmm... Can't think of why I loved the movie so much... Hmm... I'll get back to you on that.
Yes, Jeremy Renner has enough gratuitous shirtless scenes that I probably would've sat through a film about drying paint just to see them, but whatever. Lady Lovers, Gemma Arterton looks pretty delish in her skin tight leather, too. But, beyond the eye candy...was the eye candy. The film is visually gorgeous. The antagonist - the dastardly witch played by Famke Janssen (of Jean Grey fame) - is probably the most beautiful bad girl ever in a sci fi movie (right up there with Charlize Theron's Evil Queen in Snow White & the Huntsman). The tone was just right. I saw it in 3D, only because that's the only version my theater of choice was showing. I'm not sure it added anything except the minor annoyance of wearing 3D glasses over my real glasses. I felt like a grandma with those giant shades that go over her already giant prescription frames for driving.

The story could have been bad. Really bad. It could have been Season of the Witch/Black Death bad. Dare I say 'The Wicker Man' bad? But, the film neither took itself too seriously, the problem with Season of the Witch, nor did it forget to inject humor and snark, the major problem with the dry, depressing Black Death. It was the right balance. It was like Bad Boys, but with witches (and a shirtless Jeremy Renner...have I mentioned this yet?). 

In short, it was right up my alley. I enjoy just about anything with a witch, a witty script, and bad ass action sequences. All three together is a guarantee of future ownership of the Blu-Ray. (My birthday is in April. Just sayin...)

HERE'S WHERE I WANT TO BEAT MY HEAD AGAINST A WALL UNTIL THE STUPID STOPS:

I actually thought we might go one round of a movie involving a witch without the typical pagan shitstorm of "WHY CAN'T HOLLYWOOD PORTRAY US CORRECTLY?! WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE THE GRIZZLED OLD HAG?! WHY CAN'T THEY SHOW MAGIKKKKK HOW IT REALLY IS?! WHY IS FAMKE JANSSEN SO DAMN GORGEOUS?!" Ok, maybe not that last one, but seriously... I was somehow lulled into believing that we'd grown up a bit. We'd finally realized the difference between real life and the hyper-fantastical-non-reality created by the entertainment industry to entertain us. We knew that not one religious, racial, sexual, insert-sub-category-of-the-populace-here group is accurately represented by the film industry, because that would make for one god awfully boring movie that nobody would pay to see. I know Velma & I have discussed this at length...multiple times...on our joint show (Inciting A Brewhaha). If they were to do a movie about a real pagan, it would be all grocery shopping, television watching, and the like. People, generally speaking, are boring. We are. That's why Hollywood makes life seem interesting by editing out all the dumb bits and tidying things up with jokes that most people wouldn't think of and happy endings most people don't get. 

CASE. IN. POINT.


Real Witches against Hansel & Gretel. Seriously....I just die watching this. A little. Inside. Deep down in the part of my brain where my reason and sanity sleep restlessly. These people, I firmly believe, cause a poison to be released into that region of the brain, forcing it to deteriorate. Because, WHATTHEHELLITSAMOVIE?! This little YouTube video isn't all! The culture wing of the big bad PNC flirts with the idea of how awful it is that the film has to portray witches as the evil bad guys and seems to decry the creation of a good witch character - which they insist on calling the 'New Agey witch' for some reason I cannot fathom. There wasn't a quartz crystal or spiral tattoo or vaguely checked out look to her. (They also seem to think she didn't use magic. I don't know if they saw the same movie, but I remember a pretty epic showdown between wands for the Good Witch/Bad Witch duel at the end.) Woe to Hollywood for using the archetype of the evil witch as a bad guy... 

The story is about two kids who nearly get eaten by an evil witch in the woods. Of course the Big Bad is going to be an evil witch. What would you like it to be, a werewolf? I know a werewolf. They're good people. They can also take a joke.

Once again, part of our community seems to think this is about us. That this is some sort of commentary on 'real witches', forgetting entirely that witches, werewolves, faeries, and the like - while very real to some in one way or another - have been figures of story and lore for far longer than our movements of the last 50-150 years. They aren't owned by us who claim their titles, rather, they are owned by anyone who wants to tell a story involving that type of character. 

I ask you, here and now, can 2013 be the year we as a community finally find that damn bridge and get the hell over ourselves? Please? Our divergent, evolving community has far too many real issues to hash out to be wasting our time fighting over whether we're being portrayed properly in the latest fairy tale-made-film. 

What are your thoughts? Did you like the movie? Should pagans be accurately portrayed in film? Would you pay to watch that? Do you like Jeremy Renner's shirtless body?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

11 comments:

  1. I've listened to enough pissing and moaning about this movie from our community...seriously, folks, do as the man asks and get the hell over it. Everyone is a stereotype in this movie, it's supposed to be campy and outlandish...it's not a documentary, it's not intended to portray real-life anything, it's just a nice little bit of brain candy. Save the shitstorm for more important stuff and stop showing the world what a bunch of humorless wet rags we can be.

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  2. The problem in my opinion is that Wicca has attracted more people into the Craft. And with more people means more people who have not gotten over the hump of the Fluffy Bunny stage (as defined by someone naive to the Craft to only want to focus on the lighter side of paganism and forget or deny any accusations that witches can and have placed curses on others and not always for justified reasons. Ones who are traumatized by anything Christian to blame any bad PR or oppression on them). It's in my opinion that many new witchlings go through this phase in the beginning and hopefully grow out of it, like i did (i think).

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  3. Shouldn't have read this. now i can't see the movie cuz i know the plot.

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    1. Still go see it. TONS OF FUN!!! I could've told you the plot from nothing more than the commercial and a knowledge of how these movies play out. Didn't take anything from it.

      FL

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  4. There are times I think the internet is a bad thing for Pagans and Witches. When those who find the path find the internet community, they gravitate towards people with similar views. I think this leads to a longer foray into fluff-bunnydom than what may have previously existed. You can find a community of hundreds of others who actively do not want to move past "love and sparkles and evil Christians" and you get an unending feedback loop of fluff and they just parrot each other over and over because they think THIS is what Paganism/Witchcraft is.

    I know I would have gotten less fluffy a lot faster had I not been part of certain Livejournal communities back in the day.

    -Teresa S

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    1. Contrarily, Teresa, I think I got less fluffy faster thanks to the Internet. Namely, pagan podcasts and the introduction of folks like Dr. Brendan Meyers and deó, from the now defunct deó's Shadow podcast. Two-edged sword.

      FL

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  5. Good Lawd Jeremy Renner can hunt me down anytime honey. Anyhoo, I think that there are many people who simply want to be offended. Usually I find it's because they are sorely lacking self esteem and a sense of humor. Seriously people, get over yourselves and if you don't like it, don't watch it. It's just that simple.


    Jason

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  6. Thank you for this. I am not a witch but, I have a great deal of respect for witches, perhaps a I'm kindred spirit or was a witch in a past life. Who knows!?
    I was offended by the premise of this movie and thought maybe I shouldn't go see it, out of respect. I will just go see it. I will enjoy Jeremy. Thanks!

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  7. I liked the movie, I liked Renner with or without a shirt. I didn't mind the whole getting-periods-and-fashion-and-technology wrong. Didn't mind the good witch, the bad witch or the fact that bad witches all were portrayed in a very Heavy Metal type of gear, while the good witch was more of a hippie. And I didn't mind it because it was a work of fiction. And in the end it had a good moral "there are good and bad witches", and if you dare to look past the "witch" word, you realize that it means "no matter how strange people are, just because they are different it doesn't mean they are automatically good or bad. There are good and bad among them too". And Renner took of his shirt. Pity he didn't follow on screen the good witches good example and took off all of his clothes, but I can forgive that. ^_^

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  9. Great movie! Our family loved it, but probably not for younger kids. Our 12 yr old and 15 yr old loved it, but have seen blood and gore thanks to their desensitized Grandfather who would probably think this is ok for a 6 yr old (but it's not). As adults, we surprisingly loved it. It's just a good entertaining move, and one that you did not expect to be so good!

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