Saturday, February 11, 2017

'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' - How seriously should we take it?

This is not a movie review, but I watched 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' last evening. I make notes if I'm going to review a movie, and it's always a movie which I'm undecided about... but that I will probably like. I'm not going to give any strong negative review of some fantasy movie, which probably wasn't meant to be taken seriously anyway. Still, it's always interesting how certain people are expected to grin and bear certain things, which others will howl at the smallest slight. This movie was an easy watch, as it moved along at a quick pace. It had both dark foreboding and enchanting qualities to it. By and large, it was a good fantasy movie.

I suspect that it was intended to take place in a rural wooded German-speaking region during the Middle Ages. The film pulled no punches, at least throughout most of it; "witches" were evil child murdering monsters who deserved to be killed... preferable by fire or decapitation." Wow... if this was in 2013 (a sequel is on it's way soon), I guess we can't be too surprised that Leo Martello founded the now defunct Witches Anti-Defamation League forty years earlier. Oh, but of course.. this movie was all just for fun!

One aspect of all of this which I was thinking about was that there's a shortage of genres for the "bad gals." The evil women characters of film history are usually just following the lead of the "bad guy" genres. However, with witches, the women are the undisputed rulers of darkness. Muriel, the "evil grand witch" portrayed here, was a very powerful and fearsome character. She was shown to be the ruler of the forest, yet displayed no qualities that one might expect from an adherent of a nature-based religion.

Only later in the film was there a character and references made demonstrating the presence of "good witches." Basically, this was a passive-aggressive film which glorified "the burning times." I do, however, believe that there are Satanic women who call themselves "witches" based on the popular Christian conflation of organic European spiritual traditions with Satanism. Still, we're not expected to ruin everyone's fun here. I can't help but grin when I think of all the possible movie titles: 'Hansel and Gretel: [place any religious group here] Hunters' (aka Killers). Ohhh... doesn't feel good, does it? Other than that, it was a good film with lots of powerful imagery. I confess, I rooted for the bad gal... or as a wise man once told me regarding movie viewing... "you can mix it the way you want to mix it."


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