Oct 30, 2015

Hansel and Gretel Grow Up and Get Boyfriends

Remember Hansel and Gretel, the Grimm fairy tale about a father who tries to kill his children by abandoning them in the woods, whereupon they stumble upon a candy house, and a witch who wants to eat them, but they turn the tables and burn her alive?

A very pleasant bedtime story for toddlers.

In Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), the siblings grow up into a pair of Buffy the Vampire Slayer-style wisecracking, martial-arts-using witch slayers (Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton), who travel all over 17th century Germany with their arsenal of gigantic phallic-symbol guns.


By the way, Jeremy Renner seems to be somewhat homophobic.  Addressing the rumors that he's bisexual because he's living with both his girlfriend and his bromantic partner Griffin Hadley, he cursed "they're not f*** true!"


While investigating a mass child-disappearance in Augsburg, Hansel and Gretel run afoul of a bigoted sheriff and uncover a plot to bring hundreds of witches together for a Blood Moon Ritual.  They also find the answer to the secret of their past: why did their parents abandon them in the woods?

On the way, Hansel hooks up with a good witch (Pihla Vitala), who challenges his "the only good witch is a dead witch" philosophy.  But he gets a nice gay subtext with the fanboy Ben (Thomas Mann), touching him repeatedly on the chest, riding with Ben's arms around his waist, and finally inviting him to join the witch-hunting team.











Meanwhile, Gretel expresses no heterosexual interest, although she does get an unexpected ally in a gigantic troll (Derek Mears), who also joins the team.  In the last scene, they're fighting a "sand witch" in the vast desert of 17th century Germany.

This is a very bloody movie; a scene involving the mass-execution of dozens of witches is particularly disturbing.  And I didn't like the anachronistic dialogue ("Awesome!") and technology: they have machine guns, phonograph records, tasers, and hyperdermic syringes.  But the people are attractive (at least, all of the good people are attractive), and there's plenty of gay subtexts.