Last night I went to the movies to see Hansel & Gretel. I’ve been to the movies a lot lately, and quite a few times the idea has crossed my mind that I could/should blog about them – but, obviously, the idea never made it to the top of my priorities list. Now, I’m a bit conflicted about the fact that it’s Hansel & Gretel that finally spurred me into writing action. It is, you see, an utter load of crap. It wasn’t worth the exorbitant price we had to pay to see it (it was only showing in 3D), and so it hardly seems worth spending even more time and effort on it.
But. On my way home on the tram, I was jotting down all the things that was wrong with this movie. I made a list of “Corrected Lessons from Hansel & Gretel”, and wondered to myself which one was the worst, coming up with more and more things that were completely baffling in their wrongness. Then, for a change, I went on twitter. There, the #auspol hashtag was all up in arms over suggested regulations to the tobacco industry, advertising of cigarettes, etc.
There is no (cigarette) smoking in Hansel & Gretel. I think some of the old men smoke pipes, and of course many of the witches (and a few non-witches) go up in smoke, but otherwise the connection between the two things wasn’t immediately clear. Reading the 140-character fors and againsts though, I quickly realised that part of the argument was taking the form of “how much should the government interfere with an individual citizen’s choices?” Framing the discussion like that seems a bit misleading to me, since in this case the government is not so much intervening directly, but rather “just” taking an active role in shaping the way smoking is seen in and by society. There are both pros and cons to that, of course, but underlying it is the fact that driving the government’s actions there has to be an idea of how smoking should be seen. And that’s how we get back to Hansel & Gretel – underlying my list was (is) an idea of the kind of messages a movie should be sending. On reflection, I don’t know if I can defend that idea. Relatedly, I don’t know if I can defend the idea that movies “should” be conscious of their “message” at all.
That said, I’m still going to share my list of “Corrected Lessons” with you. Regardless of how/whether Hansel & Gretel is aware of and/or can defend the message it was sending (or, more mildly, the “reality” it was portraying), there’s an alternative message that I would quite like to send. So with no further ado, and in no particular order…
- Dead bodies don’t disappear just like that. (Except for in some older computer games.) From a movie-perspective, if the body belongs to the lover of one of the main characters, it really should get some sort of burial. From a real-world-perspective – wtf? People grieve, you guys.
- That’s not how diabetes works.
- Women are capable of speaking to each other. Hansel & Gretel passes the first of the three feminist questions, but not the second (except for some of the witches while making their wicked plans). Hansel doesn’t even introduce his lover to his sister, which makes me suspect maybe he was just imagining her all along. I mean, she did just randomly throw herself at him.
- On that note – men are capable of controlling themselves while in the company of a naked lady. In fact, even if a lady takes off all her clothes and suggests they go swimming together, a man is allowed to say no. Specially if he feels as uncomfortable about the situation as (it appears) Hansel does.
- Not all women are going to get a crush on the first brute (troll, in this case), who shows his sensitive side. And in general, if you fall for a troll you might want to consider the complications of inter-species romance.
- Torture is not okay.
- If you are dealing with some people whose main motivation for collecting and killing children is that they want to develop a resistance to fire, and the main reason why they need to develop a resistance to fire is that you keep burning them for collecting and killing children – may I suggest you employ a mediator, rather than a mercenary?
- Just because you speak with an accent, it doesn’t mean you are stupid.
- Feeling up women while they are unconscious is not a joke. Just – NO.
- Lunar eclipses are cool (and science), not evil.
So… yeah. I wasn’t expecting greatness from Hansel & Gretel, but I was expecting to be (inoffensively) entertained. My mistake.