I love this film. It's going straight onto my wishlist as soon as they announce the Blu-ray release.
Do you know what I love most about this movie (apart from shirtless Jeremy Renner, which is simply a given)? All the women in it are so incredibly kick ass. Yes, a good percentage of them are evil to the bone, but you have to respect their life choices because they can take down anyone who gets in their way. Gemma Arterton is brilliant as Gretel and it totally the one in charge, Famke Janssen is superb as the deliciously evil Muriel and Pihla Viitala is delicately beautiful, but surprisingly strong as Mina.
Right so onto the film in general. It has a good plot, solid characters, a good cast and kept me completely entertained from the beginning to the end. I don't think anyone could ask more of a movie.
The plot was actually deeper than I expected it to be. We're not talking Agatha Christie here; it's not exactly difficult to see what's coming, but that's the whole point. This is a film where you get more than you were expecting, because the person who wrote it actually thought about it, and it's exciting and there are no unnecessary, annoying sidetracks or twists. That's not to say there isn't anything, but the twist there is doesn't jump the shark and is perfect for the rest of the film.
The plot has action, a love story, humour, reasons for everything that happens (including the back story) and there are no holes that you can drive a bus through. Hansel's big weakness is a nice idea, but a little silly and brings up a whole load of questions that are never answered, but it's the one inconsistency that can be forgiven. It's a fairy tale, so you have to forgive it for its science and history - none of it is real and it doesn't actually try to be.
The only characters with real back story are Hansel and Gretel, so they have more depth than any of the others, but that's okay, because they're the ones we're interested in. Everyone else, from Ben (Thomas Mann), through Hansel and Gretel's parents up to Muriel have enough depth to make them interesting, but we only know a little bit more about them at then end than we did at the beginning. This doesn't detract from the plot, because the performances of the actors give them all the depth they need.
Jeremy Renner is brilliant as Hansel (you knew I was going to get a shirtless pic in here didn't you ;)). He's just this side of sociopathic and perfectly happy to follow his sister into hell and back. I had the feeling he was a shoot first and ask questions later kind of guy, reined in by Gretel.
He is totally badass and gets his sister out of a few scrapes, but she gets him out of some as well, so it is (as my sister keeps saying) equal opportunities kickassery.
His character has some funny moments and some touching moments and the fact he can totally deal with women on the witch hunter level, but is still bashful at the sexual level is adorable. There are also other quirks we're shown through the film that make him more than just muscle with a gun, which I thought were very well done.
As I have already mentioned, Gemma Arterton is also fantastic. She is the clear thinker and just as able to take down witches and nasty sheriffs as her brother. In fact I think she's more likely to take down nasty sheriffs - watch the movie and I am sure you will agree with me.
Gretel is practical, capable and devoted to her brother, as his is to her. This is one woman who can destroy the baddie and look very fine doing it. Which is not to say she is super human. This is a very bloody film and the good guys shed almost as much as the bad guys. Our heroes are not invulnerable and they need help, which makes them human and very likeable.
Of course you can't have great heroes without great villains and Muriel is a great one of those. She is irredeemable; child killer, torturer of adults and more. However, she's just what is needed for a film such as this one.
I never once doubted that she deserved everything that was coming to her, but that is exactly what I wanted for this action adventure and Famke Janssen played her perfectly. This is a witch totally out for herself and her sister witches and all of humanity should be ground beneath her boot.
She's clever, ruthless and very powerful and is just the right balance of beautiful and psychotic when not showing her true face.
Do not go into this movie expecting Lord of the Rings level characters or epic plots. Just go to enjoy a romp that makes no excuses, doesn't pander to the 12A that seems to be popular at the moment and goes all out 15 rating and will entertain. There is eye candy for all, a well thought out adventure and lots of bloody battles.
Of course now I am left with the desire to write Avengers/Hansel and Gretel crossover fanfic where Hawkeye is the reincarnation of Hansel (who died tragically to save his sister in a witchly encounter that made Gretel immortal) and Loki chose him because he could sense the magic in him and needs help with Thanos and Lady Death (who is actually an intergalactic high witch and enchanted Loki for Thanos which is why he needs the help). But that's just me and I don't have time to write it, so, meh. :)
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/239141.html.