In three weeks, we'll find out if Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters defies the disappointing trend of fairy tale projects. However, until then, the debate rages on as to whether this flick is schlocky B-movie art or a miscalculated attempt to turn the original Grimm story into a cheesy blockbuster for our modern times.
Today brings a second Hansel and Gretel red band trailer, featuring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton - with neither one attempting to pull off a German accent - as the famous siblings, who survived their infamous gingerbread house encounter and grew up to become masters of their trade: killing witches (preferably those disguising themselves as sexy women, it seems).
Hansel and Gretel co-writer/director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) has taken some flack for recycling leftovers, given how past trailers have similarities in style and content to movies like Van Helsing and The Brothers Grimm (which also co-starred a hammy Peter Stormare, as it were). The same goes for the latest promo, where the 3D cinematography and horror violence recalls the (intentionally) cheesy style of Fright Night (2011); similarly, those 'bullet-time' shots are (re)treading on the same territory as many a post-Matrix title, be it Wanted, Sherlock Holmes, etc.
So, many individual Hansel and Gretel components feel all too familiar. But will the actual movie bring something new to the table, by combing these influences?
Well, the R-Rating frees up Hansel and Gretel to embrace its pulpy premise and deliver on its B-movie promise, which Arterton says includes Quentin Tarantino levels of gore and cursing. Similarly, the cast appears to be having fun keeping their tongues in cheek and embracing the silliness; that should also go for all the nasty witches, being played by such people as Famke Janssen (X-Men), Zoe Bell (Django Unchained), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Chernobyl Diaries), Monique Ganderton (Sucker Punch) and polish actress Joanna Kulig.
All things considered, Hansel and Gretel seems on course to serve up some decent entertainment during the sluggish early-going of the new year. Perhaps nothing memorable; but again, you could do worse for a January movie.
Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters opens in U.S. theaters (2D, 3D and IMAX 3D) this month on January 25th.