*3 stars*

– warning:  spoilers! –

i’m not sure if i really have to put a spoilers warning on this post, ’cause with a movie as obviously formulaic as this, i’m sure every viewer already knows how it’ll all turn out.  (hint:  happily ever after).

anyways, one of my hobbies is watching trashy sci-fi/fantasy flicks at the dollar theater. =P  dollar theaters are perfect for this kind of film:  movies that aren’t worth the full box-office price, but are still better when seen on the big screen.  i would recommend dollar theaters to anyone – i go to the starplex chain (which also serves $1 hotdogs), so you can check their website to see if there’s one near you.

now on with the review.  this was basically what you’d expect:  a run-of-the-mill action-adventure movie, with shiny special effects and zero substance.  it’s fun to watch, but you won’t strain any brain cells thinking of a deeper meaning.  the movie opens quite well, with a flaming arrow shooting out beautifully into the audience (i watched this in 3D – yes, dollar theaters do 3D now!).  i thought the film’s take on the classic hansel and gretel fairy tale in the opening scene was very well done – gritty and scary (the witch was terrifying!), with the candy house being simultaneously eerie, creepy, yet colorful, mesmerizing, and almost lovely – everything that candy house should be.

as the film progresses, we’re dazzled by the hunters’ many niffy witch-killing gadgets and spectacularly gory scenes – the movie is chock-full of splattering body parts being dismembered in the most grisly way imaginable; instead of taking time to create a compelling narrative and complex characters, the filmmakers decided to just go for shock value to keep the audience engaged.  and i have to confess, i was entertained. =P  so the movie moves along, a continuous series of poorly choreographed fight scenes, graphic deaths, and exploding shrapnel that gets flung into the faces of the audience every time.  all while teaching us the obligatory moral lesson:  It Is Good To Be Selfless.  yes, while the Bad witches are trying to kill children to save themselves, the Good witches are selflessly sacrificing themselves for the sake of others.  *yawn*

midway through the film, i thought it was in danger of actually turning into a complex, interesting movie.  when gretel finds out that she’s in fact a witch, i was afraid she’d become torn with ambivalence between her status both as a witch hunter and as a witch; her relationship with her brother might become damaged as she finds new empathy for the dark side.  and then my presumptions about this being a superficial fluff movie would’ve been wrong!  but, to my relief, it turns out that she’s a Good witch, there’s no conflict after all, and the plot blunders on along its silly path.

it’s a fun silly path, however.  so if you have the time to kill and want to watch some mindless special effects, then it’s definitely worth a watch at your nearest dollar theater.

. rese

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