Fairytales have been re-imagined in many ways, but they are very seldom built upon. This is what I love about this movie. It takes something traditional and part of pretty much everyone’s childhood and evolves it. Its the story after the fable while also adding to the original. The whole diabetes / insulin thing after being forced to eat too much candy by the witch, is just simply brilliant. Multiple thumbs up to the writer, Tommy Wirkola. The story is layered and grabs your interest from the start and the dialogue is both witty and heartfelt. He directed too and it shows in little touches like the way key lines are delivered and timed as well as how natural and inter-grated the actors understanding of the characters feel with the story.
The movie has a unique and dynamic graphic style merging the old world and the new with toys and gadgets galore. It is an action adventure movie, but with an amazing amount of depth, partly because of the story itself, its uniqueness and its plot twists and turns (You kind of see it coming, but you are so invested in the characters you feel relieved when they get it.). And, partly because the characters have been portrayed as fully rounded people and not just stereotypes.
Jeremy Renner’s Hansel and Gemma Arterton’s Gretel feel like a real brother and sister, that they have known each other all their lives and have adjusted to and understand each others quirks. They also have very distinct personalities believably shaped by what they have been through and what they do. They’re tough as nails, bad ass heroes, but they are human and relatable too. Framke Janssen’s Muriel, the grand dark witch and the arch nemesis of the peice, is spine chillingly wicked and nasty, but she also has a greater agenda and depth. The supporting cast, Peter Stormare (Untrusting, meddling sheriff), Pihla Vitala (A love interest and eye opener for Hansel – eye opener for everyone really. You’ll know what I mean when you see the movie.) and Thomas Mann (Witch hunter fan boy and wannabee/ new recruit.), fill what could be stock characters with flare and dimension as do Ingrid Bolso Berdal and Joanna Kulig for the witches side.
The stunts are spectacular, but feel quite grounded (they kind of stick to the physics of the real world, yet at the same time not) and the hardware practical and believable, for the most part. It is a fantasy movie so the effects are a little over the top, but they suit the movie perfectly. The 3D is not too in your face, but it is a good, interactive application of the technology.
All in all, a well-rounded movie with both strong male and female leads, action, drama, romance, humor and heart. I was thoroughly entertained for the full 85 minutes. It has something for everyone and I cannot wait to add this one to my DVD collection.