It’s World War 2 in the UK and morale is low. The retreat from Dunkirk has just happened, where hundreds of civilian boats sailed the channel to rescue as many retreating British soldiers, and it looks like things will get worse. One of the ways that the government looks to make people feel better is through entertainment, in particular, films. However their recent attempts have failed. Enter: Tom Buckley (Sam Calflin), a screenwriter who hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) to help with the “slop” (women’s dialogue). They have a plot, they just need to impress the bigwigs, and find a way to get it made.
I loved this. I cried throughout (I’m a massive sook in movies, and this is set in a war, and so there are a lot of not great things happening, and it set me off a heap). The cast is fabulous, with the most wonderful performance from the always fabulous Bill Nighy, and it’s been an age since I’ve seen Richard E. Grant getting a decent role. Watch it. Do.
Keep them coming, all of these adaptations of fairy tales. I love them. Snow White and the Huntsman, Once Upon a Time, Grimm and now, Hansel and Gretel – Witch Hunters.
We know the basic story – Hansel and Gretel are led to the woods by their father (for a variety of reasons, depending on the version of the fairy tale) in the middle of the night and abandoned. They come across a house made of candy and are trapped by a witch who wants to fatten them up and eat them. They trick her and throw her in the fire and escape. But what happens next? In this film, Hansel and Gretel grow older and fight witches all over the country. The film picks up on the pair as adults (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) saving an innocent woman from the clutches of evil Sherrif Berringer (the most wonderful Peter Stormare) who is about to publicly kill her as a witch. Eleven children have disappeared from the village of Augsburg, and the Mayor has hired Hansel and Gretel to find them. They discover that they are coming up to the Blood Moon and that many witches are arriving in the area to perform a specific ritual. And then things get really violent – gross and graphic fantasy violence.
I loved it. It’s got loads and loads of action, including some pretty impressive weaponry; the scripting is tight with just the right number of corny one-liners (although the last line from Gretel is appalling) and I was pretty impressed with the variety of different evil witches. It’s rated R, which is appropriate for the high level of violence. I’m glad it wasn’t cleaned up to get a lower rating – sometimes, gross violence is exactly what I want.
I’m hoping for a sequel, but in the meantime, I saw a trailer for Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s got some pretty impressive special effects, including loads of giants. I hope it’s good.