Don’t Eat the Fucking Candy: A Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Review


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I fear I might be one of those lost souls who actually enjoyed Terry Gilliam’s 2005 The Brothers Grimm film. That is the first film that I actually remember that kickstarted doing darker twists and turns on classic fairytales. And, really, fairytales should live in the dark, no matter how much we love Disney.

Okay. I really liked this film. I thought it was funny, relatively well-written, and it was an overall good time. I loved how utterly badass Gretel (Gemma Arterton) was, and how lovely and hilarious Hansel (Jeremy Renner) was. And yes, okay, I do like my fairytale redux stories dark – but not painfully so. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was just the right amount of dark, fun, and funny to make it worth seeing. It’s predictable as all get out, but so are most films that fall into specific genres – and people still find enjoyment out of those. This just happens to be one of those genre films that’s awesome despite its predictability.

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I did have two major problems, however. They both amount to the same thing, though. The film? It’s a wee bit sexist. Now, when I say a “wee bit”, I mean the entire bit of the film is about these two once children, now adults, hunting down and beating the shit out of women – and only women. That’s the gag and pull for the audience. These women are evil and you want to see them beaten to hell and back. And even beyond that, though, Gretel starts off as a really fantastically great character. She’s strong, and even though it’s in the traditional “strong only equates to physical strength” thing, it’s still pretty awesome. Gretel is a really fun and fantastic character. The third act, however, is when her character starts to fall apart. She stops being the character with agency. She stops making the choices that will change and alter the story and her future. And that is just a very, very sad thing.

Also, is no one going to mention how slightly, or actually not very slightly, racist the troll, Edward, was? No? Okay, fine. But he totally was.

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Honestly, though, if you can keep that tucked into your brain and still enjoy the movie then you’ll probably love it. That’s kind of the important thing to remember when you talk about the things you love, or even just like. There are probably pretty big fundamental problems with it, and you need to be okay talking about those things critically. Just because you like something doesn’t mean it’s perfect. And that’s one of the biggest things I came out of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters having to remember.

That being said, the film really is a good time. The weaponry is badass as fuck, Gretel is the best kind of kick-ass female character, Hansel is sexy and fun, and HELLO COSTUME PORN. Plus, “the sugar sickness?” That might be the best damn thing.

-Emily Frances Maesar

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