Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Trailer: Hansel & Gretl Witch Hunters, Lincoln,

Traditionally, females symbolize the "mother land," and males can symbolize either the "founding fathers" or the economy. In the trailer below, we see the "father" (I guess it's the father) blowing out the lantern and there being total darkness.  The synopsis reads, "Although still recovering from their ordeal, their (Hansel and Gretel) work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them. The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches’ gathering during the upcoming ‘Blood Moon’ night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own." While this is a fairly straight-forward kind of Hollywood story, put in today's political jargon and the culture of power struggles we are dealing with, this becomes pretty serious stuff and how it's going to weigh-in on the issues. The problem is, it will be weighing-in after the November elections (the film isn't going to be released until January, in 3D), but the "brother and sister" could either be taken to be America and the economy that went full-sail capitalist after World War II or America and socialism that has been resurrected because of the 2008 economic downturn. It breaks my heart to say this, however, given that some films such as The Great Gatsby, The Man With the Iron Fists, Lincoln and probably even The Hobbit, will definitely be pro-socialists, they are waiting until after the election to be released pretty confident that Obama will get a second term and their films can aid in creating a pro-socialist environment for Obama to continue making America socialist; it's highly probable that this is the case with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters intends to follow their idea.
Tommy Wirkola's Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, postponed for release until January, stars Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, Mission Impossible 4, The Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Clash Of the Titans, Prince Of Persia, Quantum Of Solace) who, 15 years after the tragic run-in with the witch at the candy cottage, they have become witch hunters. Examining every little scrap of information I can find about the piece, at this point, I am going to say it can go either way, socialist or capitalist. For example, a capitalist--such as myself--would interpret the "candy cottage" as the promised utopia of people getting everything they want as promised by a socialist government (like "free" health care) then finding out it's poisoned and after they have wizened up, they go after the ones who made the false promises. On the other hand, a socialist would interpret the candy cottage as the feeding of the capitalist's appetites with luxury goods and the two children growing up to realize the inherent dangers of having to work for what you want and the state not taking care of your every need. Here's the trailer and we'll talk about more after you've seen it:
An interesting facet of the narrative is that a sheriff has taken over the town where five children have disappeared and are supposed to be sacrificed to the witches' coven in two days time. Since the film was originally set for release in March, and moved forward to January, we could take that as a link to Obama. There are, it appears, at least three witches in the film, and the relationship Gretel has with them will be a statement on the Feminist movement (they capture her at one point), in one way or another (for example, either the witches will symbolize the Feminist movement and them trying to oppress other women, or Gretel will be depicted as a Feminist and the witches are more culturally traditional women trying to kill her). Another important aspect of this film will be, of course, Hansel and how he is tempted or wounded in the film (because that just has to happen) and what he has to overcome or be converted from in order to attain the status as a hero (in the trailer he's seen briefly swimming with the blond headed woman pictured in the trailer still above; is that a sexual relationship? Probably, but several films are bucking this tradition, so it's possible Hansel and Gretel will as well, but not definite).
"How do you best kill a witch?" "Cutting off her head tends to work," replies Hansel, and that's because the head symbolizes power, specifically, what governs us (it's the functions within the head that controls the rest of the body, so the "head of government" is symbolized by the head). This reference, at least in the trailer, assures us that this will be a politically motivated film and possibly--because the socialists have been "head of government" a pro-capitalist film, especially given that the sheriff has taken over the village where the children are disappearing from. Children symbolize the future, so the missing five children means that the future has been robbed and must be restored; is this the future of socialism in America that has to be kept safe, or the future of capitalism that has to be safeguarded? We'll only find out in January. It is interesting, one of the town leaders tells Gretel that "I won't have you telling me what to do," and she head butts him, knocking him out; his authority as a "head" of government is being usurped by her authority as a witch hunter in that act of body language.
"Me and my sister, we have a past,..." and so, too, does the United States. Now, the approach to tracing down what time period a work of art discusses is called New Historicism and it's a great trick to know, I've used it many times. There are two historical reference frames for a film such as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: the first is the fifteen years from the time the film has been released, so the film wants us to think about roughly 1997 and the second historical context is if, in the film, it provides an actual year in which the events take place (such as 1754, or something). IF we look back at 1997, Democratic President Bill Clinton was sworn in for his second term in office, during which he would be impeached. If you recall, in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, a very definite anti-Obama and anti-socialist film, Nolan utilizes the same technique in having Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) having retreated from the public life of crime fighting eight years ago, which correlates with the second term of Republican President George Bush (meaning, simply, that Nolan blames a lot of the current problems of what Obama has been allowed to do on Bush creating the situation to permit Obama to get elected).
Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln (December release). The trailer debuts on September 13, so I will post it asap.
What other time in American history (our past, like Hansel's and Gretel's past) have we engaged in "witch hunting?" The McCarthy Era, when Senator McCarthy was hunting out the communists lurking in Hollywood and other hiding places in American life. I made the comment in my review for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, that those film makers were reversing the McCarthy witch hunts and now they are hunting capitalists and business owners (the film is incredibly pro-socialist). If Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters be pro-capitalist, this could be the reference, that we need to start hunting "witches" (socialists and communists) again, or if the film be pro-socialist, it could reference that the socialists/communists, having been persecuted in the McCarthy Era, are stronger for it now and are going to do to the capitalists what the capitalists did to them. Remember, in the synopsis listed below the first picture posted, it says that the sheriff  "starts a witch hunt of his own," and that will only complicate how to read and understand the film, yet, it also demonstrates the film is self-aware of the historical context in which it is being presented and seeks to accurately represent reality. The biggest problem with the film is that they have post-poned releasing it nearly a year; the good news is, it will be released in 3D.