When your cinematographer is the MVP of your movie, typically that can lead to award recognization by your peers in the industry, that is unless the rest of your film is lacking in almost every other category and that is the story of Gretel & Hansel.
Gretel & Hansel succeeds in being a visual marvel but outside of its camerawork and set pieces, it doesn’t have much else to offer to viewers. The premise of Gretel & Hansel has been done to death with one new twist after another. This version has an androgynous semi-woke teenage girl and her younger native brother who leave their homes due to their mother’s insanity (I guess), and travel on their own in search of food and work. In the woods, they met a shady older woman and you guys know how this plays out.
Much like the plot of the film, Gretel & Hansel looks appealing until you discover what it truly is, a flavorless reboot with some questionable messaging in between. One couldn’t go very long with noticing some not so subtle, anti-family messaging and themes in the story. Our evil witch played by Alice Krige straight up tells a young Gretel to give up on her brother who is holding her back from her potential. The message is that Gretel who plays a parental guardian to her brother is being held back from her potential and needs to let go, an argument constantly repeated by those who reject motherhood in order to reach their potential of winning golden statues. A message is especially disturbing given the context of Gretel adopting the ideology of a Satanic cannibalistic witch in some sort of a pseduo-friendship.
The Grimm fairytales have always been a cautionary tale to naive kids but this film seems to take that element to it’s extreme. Outside of that, there isn’t much here. The runtime is brief, less than 80 minutes before the credits begin to roll, a runtime that is padded with scenes of dread and helplessness. Despite its PG-13, this is not a children’s movie and you should probably skip this even if you are an adult. Gretel & Hansel is every bit that visually aesthetic buffet that tastes like a bucket full of rotting entrails.