Saturday, January 26, 2013

By Its Poster: Hansel & Gretel

There are hundreds of different covers for the various publications of the fairy tale "Hansel & Gretel," to the point where it would be unreasonable to try to analyze even a fraction of them. To that end, instead of "By Its Cover" this weekend, we will look at the film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters by its poster.

(Note: This is not a before-and-after evaluation, because I haven't seen the movie.)
Can I just say that it's produced by Will Ferrell and leave it at that? Oh, I can't? Fine.  I wouldn't have said anything.  I already assume it's awesome because it's Will Farrell.
Surprisingly, the first thing I notice on this poster is the crossbow that is almost out of frame. I've been thinking a lot lately about archery in film, because it's huge. The obvious example to point to is Katniss in Hunger Games but you also have dozens of others, from the classic Legolas in Lord of the Rings, to the obscure Kevin (in We Need to Talk About Kevin which didn't emphasize nearly strongly enough the fact that he chose a bow instead of a gun in order to stand out as a unique individual in the competitive field of school shootery).
The weaponry combined with the red blood-spatter-style text of the title serve to show us that this isn't your kindergartener's fairy tale. In fact, the plot summary from Wikipedia tells me that this is like the modern-day sequel to the fairy tale: this is our same old bro-sis combo, grown up and killing witches.
The second thing I think when I see this poster is, "Wasn't that guy in 28 Weeks Later?" because I still haven't seen The Avengers and he's also Hawkeye.  I knew it was Hawkeye!*
The internet seems to be confused as to the official MPAA rating of this film. (Some places say PG13, some say R.) Well, there should be no confusion: the official movie site says it's rated R (for those same reasons) and the trailer on the site is labeled "for mature audiences only." The trailer.)
It's hard to tell a likely rating from the poster alone. It looks like, "Oh, haha, the little kids from the familiar fairy tale have grown up and hunt witches now" which could be PG, or PG-13 if they swear about it and show blood, or R if they have "strong fantasy/horror gore & violence, brief sexuality/nudity, and language." Which, apparently, they do.  Look at the knockers on that chick.  You really think there won't be nudity?  

Which actually brings me to a semi-legitimate point that, do you ever notice that our main characters, especially our POSTER characters, are all beautiful, perfect and slim?  Because, think about it, if Hansel and Gretel were fighting monsters, don't you think they'd have a few more, oh I don't know, scars?  And, quite possibly, less limbs.  It's a huge commentary on OUR society that these are the people we continually choose to put on posters.

(Kind of like Hansel and Gretel the fairy tale is more of a commentary on German culture.  It's almost like I'm making connections, or something.)

*We feel that this is an appropriate time to tell you everyone has a super power.  And Cassy's is the uncanny ability to tell you the previous movie(s) an actor has been in by a mere glance. Alex's has something to do with grammar.

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