Australia’s leading international student news website

Fairtytale Fever: Hansel & Gretel latest to get Hollywood treatment

Juliana Mare

Wed Feb 06 2013


IT seems fairytales aren’t just for little kids anymore with more and more Hollywood blockbusters re-telling the old fables with new, often dark twists. Juliana Mare looks into the trend and reviews Tinseltown’s latest offering, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

It’s not that far a stretch to assume that after killing one witch as children, Hansel and Gretel would make a career out of it. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the bounty hunting siblings who, armed to the teeth with guns and automatic crossbows, rid the world of witches, one by one.

If its breadcrumbs, haggard witches with long noses and warts and happy endings you’re after, then you might be disappointed with this new twist on the classic fairytale. The seriously ugly witches aren’t just keen on chowing down on children this time, they’re hell-bent on sacrificing them to the blood moon. Coupled with the somewhat over-the-top gore, killings by beheading and machine gun massacres, swearing and nudity, this version of the fairytale was definitely made for adult audiences.

It’s surprising, in a good way, how many fight sequences were jammed into the 88 minute film. Whether it was hand to hand combat against witches attempting to flee on broomsticks or trolls coming to the rescue, plenty of punches were thrown, ammunition fired and blood spilled. But if the action scenes aren’t appealing, there’s always the topless Renner scene to pull the ladies in.

While it’s not quite the story we remember from our childhood, it was refreshing to see the fairytale stripped of its sugar coating and given a high dose of adrenalin, attitude and all-round badassery. You can catch Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters in cinemas from February 7.

In with the old…?

But it seems Hansel and Gretel isn’t the only fairytale to undergo a Hollywood makeover. Kristen Stewart took on the role of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012 but she was far from the singing, rosy-cheeked cartoon Snow we all know and love. Instead, she was a pretty ruthless, fierce, warrior-esque princess – a move that gave the movie a darker, war-like atmosphere opposed to a happy kids flick.

Similarly, in 2011, the beloved plaited hair and wicker basket of Little Red Riding Hood was twisted into a grim tale of death and animal sacrifice. Fully equipped with a love triangle, a werewolf hunter and a town full of scheming, lying and overwhelmingly paranoid residents, Red Riding Hood definitely turned the original tale into something much more sinister.

Fans of the fairytale genre also have much to look forward to with Guillermo del Toro remaking the classic Beauty and the Beast, rumoured to star Harry Potter’s Emma Watson. James Franco is also set to star in Oz the Great and Powerful, a look at the magical Land of Oz, set before Dorothy and Toto wind up there, released on March 8.

Which childhood tales do you want to see on the big screen? Share your thoughts below.