Folk Tales remade with a Hollywood Twist

Imagine Hansel and Gretel with guns, explosives, and other deadly weapons instead of breadcrumbs and pebbles. Instead of running away, they are confronting witches head-on and ultimately heads-off.

The 2013 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is another of Hollywood’s recent adaptations of  folktales. The plot of the movie loosely follows the original story from Grimm’s Fairy Tales: the abandoned siblings wander in a forest and find a house made of candy. However, director Tommy Wirkola adds his own twist: violence and gore. Instead of pushing the witch into the oven, Gretel disposes the witch with a knife. Throughout the movie, it seems that every adversary of the siblings loses a head. 

Although the architecture, literature, and fashion place in the 17th century, the siblings  speak with 21st-century dialect and wear leather clothes that were similar to today’s fashion. Their self-made equipment also seemed advance since it included a shotgun with exploding bullets, a Gatling gun, and a disk with a pre-recorded message to bait witches.

As a movie with a $50 million budget, I also expected it to have digital effects, but they were also a disappointment: the green screen in some scenes was obvious.

The idea of Hansel and Gretel being all grown-up is definitely interesting; however, Wirkola should have focused less on heads bursting and humorless jokes and more on creating an elaborate plot. With a cast of Jeremy Remnar (The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy), Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia), and Famke Janssen (X-Men and Taken 2) , I expected the characters to develop more throughout the movie.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, despite the compelling trailers and talented actors/actresses, is not a giant success. Neither is Jack, the Giant Slayer.

The remake of Jack and the Beanstalk disappoints. The overall plot was a mixture of light-hearted comedy, a cliché love story (the protagonist wins the love of a girl by fighting the bad guys), and sub-par digital effects. The plot felt rushed and lacked adequate character development as Jack (the protagonist played by Nicholas Hoult) did not get much screen time.

 The concept behind Jack, the Giant Slayer reminds me of David and Goliath, a biblical story about a small man and a giant–I expected Jack to come up with a clever way to take down the Giants.

The movie omitted several important details that took away from the original plot. For example, there was no goose that laid golden eggs or a magical, golden harp that sings. While the inclusion of the goose and harp would have been cliché, the plot would have benefited from the addition of these iconic items.

This movie would have been a hit, if it focused less on the fight scenes and predictable romance between Jack and the princess and more on character development. Overall, the movie did not meet my expectations; the sub-par comedy kept me interested at the beginning but, as the movie progressed, I felt myself on the edge of my seat — ready to exit the theater as soon as the credits started rolling. 

Although I was disappointed at these Hollywood remakes of the folk tales that I grew up with, I am still looking forward to watching Oz, the Great and Powerful. From the trailer, Oz the Great and Powerful, appears to be an amazing story with the right mixture of romance, comedy, character development, and fighting scenes. In addition, Mila Kunis is starring and a movie cannot go wrong with her in it.