Allow me to begin this post with a really long and exasperated ‘EUUUUURGH.’ “But why, Alex?” you ask, “What has happened that could possibly bring forth such tones of displeasure? Did Peter Jackson announce they they were splitting The Hobbit into four parts?” HUSH! Don’t even speak of such things. It’s nothing that bad. It’s just that Hollywood has gotten stuck in a rut recently where they’ve started taking these iconic tales, amping up the supernatural element and calling it a blockbuster.
Here, I’ve broken it down into simple studio math for you:
Of course, they haven’t just tried this with fairytales (they recently released Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) but it’s probably a good focal point considering that the trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters has just been released. Check out this hot mess.
Gee, that looks like a witty and original taken on a….NO! NO IT DOESN’T! IT LOOKS STUPID AND THIS IS STUPID! You know you’re doing something wrong when, having seen two minutes of the film, out of order, I can tell you exactly what is going to happen and who will watch and enjoy this film. In fact, I can tell you all of the ingredients this film is going to have, just from the trailer.
Let’s break it down, shall we? We’re in the middle of Europe – non-specific Europe, but the bit of Europe with a lot of creepy forests and vaguely threatening accents. Kind of like Germany, but with a bit more mystery and menace… so probably further east. Doesn’t matter though. Audience doesn’t care. Getting the lead actors to work on having accents to match the setting is too hard though, so that’ll be left up to the extras, who (let’s be honest) are probably gonna be killed off later anyway. The setting lends itself to the supernatural, so it’s just a matter of picking which one you like.The vampire craze is slowing down a little cinematically, and Red Riding Hood has only just been redone, so wolves are out. No matter. With a couple of remakes of Snow White under the belt and a Disney rendition of Maleficent not out yet, witches looks like they might be making a come back. Hansel and Gretel has witches. Hansel and Gretel can fight witches. Boom! Plotline! Now that that’s been established, it’s time to throw in the other elements that we need to send this baby sky high.
Other successful films have been made in this genre, so rather than having to come up with anything original, just pull elements that work from other franchises. Based on extensive market research (i.e. watching a bunch of other films in the same vein), we can surmise that audiences like a few things. The evil needs to be obvious – so we must dress it up like a cyber-goth at a warehouse party. Observe.
Voila! So, that was easy enough. What else do people like? Period costume! Well… they like women in corsets anyway. It’s practically the same thing. But they also like lots of weapons and explosions. Oh no! A dilemma. Fear not kids! That’s what steam punk is for. So we can dress women in corsets, but also give them practical, crime-fighting (leather) pants to wear. And guns. Lots of guns. Think like Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. And then cross it with some Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing business. Bam! You’ve got your Hansel and Gretel.
Well that was easy. Now just add heavy rock sound track, poorly written script and some explosions and you guys’ll be good to go. I’m expecting my royalty cheque in the mail any day now.
In all seriousness though, who came up with this? Because it looks awful. I’m a big fan of Jeremy Renner, although I am firmly of the opinion that he should just play those strong silent types that don’t do a lot of talking. A “shoot first, ask very few questions later because that would involve talking and it’s not really my area”, kind of guy. And they have him doing a voice over on the trailer! To a terrible script!
“Me and my sister. We have a past. We almost died at the hands of a witch. But that past made us stronger. We’d gotten a taste of blood. Witch blood.”
Oh! You mean it was witch blood you’d gotten a taste for!? Because I couldn’t have fucking guessed that from the goddamn witches that were popping up all over the trailer, the fact that the movie is called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters or the fact that the opening three seconds of the fucking trailer is you two killing a bloody witch. AH!
It’s alright. I’m calm, I’m calm. It’s just that, as an audience member who really enjoys going to the movies, who really enjoys horror movies, blockbusters and blockbuster horror movies, I resent being treated like an idiot. And that is what this trailer/film is doing. It’s holding your hand and taking you on a walk through a bunch of things that have worked previously and carefully explaining them to you. It’s not challenging, it’s not interesting and it’s insulting. TL;DR: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, is coming soon. I will not be giving them my money.