Okay, man, that was quite a ride – no pun intended, i.e., broomsticks. Having seen the trailers and read the critics’ reviews (14% at Rotten Tomatoes, ye gads!), I knew where to keep my expectations going into the movie. Yes, they were pretty darned low, and that helped a lot in making me sit through the whole thing laughing half the time (and half of that was sincere amusement, while the other half was more of the “Okay, that was bad” chortle) and predicting what was going to happen next to this character or that character. The only one I missed was the sheriff, whom I first suspected to be in cahoots with the witches. Well, dag nab it.
Looking back at the original fairy tale, though, I can see so many elements in it that would work pretty darned well when taken down a crazy path like what I saw in the movie. Hansel and Gretel turning into witch-hunting bounty hunters? Well, duh. Even without it riding the coattails of all those monster mash-up films and books, the logic’s there. Children and witches? Ayup, folklore from all over is bursting at the seams with so many possibilities, variations, and variations of various possibilities. Know what I mean?
One can take something in the folktale and play the “what if” game and follow that trail continuously to extreme lengths as long as the logic holds, and the writing and directing do it justice. Hansel and Gretel + traumatic experience in a witch’s cottage = vengeful bounty hunters. Vengeful bounty hunters + perfect track record = fanboy love with scrapbook and fanart = bounty-hunter-apprentice. Parents + children’s abandonment in forest = possibly misread cues by the kids who know nothing about their mother’s true nature. All right, so that last equation might not be correct as far as mathematical sequences go, but you get my drift. The logic in the choices the writers made with regard to plotting were there, but, man, so much more could’ve gone into it.
So yeah – I saw those elements in the film that would’ve turned out brilliantly had the writing and the directing been, um, different. I found some of the dark humor and the purposefully used anachronisms pretty funny, and I mean that sincerely even though I went into this expecting not to take the movie seriously (see: low expectations). Then again, I think that was the movie’s point – it’s all dark, trashy fun (though, as noted, it could’ve been much, much, much better in its darkly fun trashiness).
Back to reading M.R. James. I’m still on a ghost story kick, by the way. Because I’ll never change, and because… haunted houses.