At the Movies With POPCORN CINEMA: Gretel and Hansel

POPCORN: Dude, why do you s’pose they put Gretel first?

CINEMA: Probably because it’s 2020, and the movie is far more about her than about her little brother. I mean, their crazy mother kicks them out and she’s basically keeping them alive, until . . . well, until they find the house in the woods.

POPCORN: Yeah, I guess you’re right. This movie’s, like, all about chicks and stuff.

CINEMA: Chicks, really? Wow, you’re really a modern man, aren’t you?

POPCORN: Hey, dude, I’m here watching this shit, right?

CINEMA: Yeah, I guess.

POPCORN: And it’s cool and everything, but I kinda wish it’d hurry up.

CINEMA: Of course you do, Mister Premature Ejaculation. I’m enjoying the pace of the film very much.

POPCORN: Yeah, cuz you listen to NPR.

CINEMA: What’s that got to do with anything?

POPCORN: I dunno. Just that you’re all into, like, finding meaning and shit. You’re probably gonna tell me about some psychological fairy tale fuckery. Like, the witch is some kinda substitute for Gretel’s mom, and everything is about her period or something.

CINEMA: Well . . .

POPCORN: (sighs)

CINEMA: No, I won’t talk about her period. However, there is a lot to be said about the archetypal symbolism in the film, not to mention the feminist perspective. The witch isn’t just an evil stereotype, but also represented as a mother and a healer, even as a sexual being –

POPCORN: The witch is pretty cool.

CINEMA: – while the pagan rituals are mostly depicted in a positive light. The teas and the herbs and the balm they rub on their hands as a kind of conductor for the magic –  

POPCORN: Kinda diggin’ her black fingers.

CINEMA: – and even the rectangular shape of the house, as well as the little window that Gretel peers through to see inside . . . that image, seen from inside the house, becomes the All Seeing Eye, also known as the Eye of Providence. Ironically, its origin is in Christian iconography, meaning the eye of God – that he was “watching over humanity” – but it appears elsewhere as well, carrying a variety of other meanings. Intelligence. Vigilance. Enlightenment. Also, it can be interpreted as “the limitations of the visible,” which Gretel mentions early in the film, and the witch brings up later – 

POPCORN: Yeah, I like the scenes with her and the chick.

CINEMA: That’s Alice Krige, she’s been in all kinds of things. She’s probably best known as –

POPCORN: The Borg Queen.

CINEMA: Right, in Star Trek: First Contact and the series finale of Voyager.  She was also in Chariots of Fire, Ghost Story, Silent Hill, and Thor: Dark World. My favorite role of hers, though, might be as Mary Shelley in the 1988 film Haunted Summer . . . matter of fact, we should probably do that on our regular show –

POPCORN: We still have a regular show?

CINEMA: Yeah, it’s just been a while, and –

POPCORN: The chick from It is pretty good in this flick too.

CINEMA: Sophia Lillis, yes, she’s –

POPCORN: Just wish it’d hurry up, is all. Dude, I thought we were seeing Hansel and Gretel Get Baked. Kinda disappointed.

CINEMA: Some viewers have expected something different from the film. Still, at least one critic said this was an early bid for best genre movie of 2020 –

POPCORN: Gonna be a weak year, if that’s true.

CINEMA: The truth is . . . that it’s visually rich, very moody, with lots of ominous dread and symbolism. These things and the acting are probably the best reasons to see Gretel and Hansel, because if you’ve come for gore or jump scares –

POPCORN: Nope, none of those.

CINEMA: – then it’s probably not the movie for you. Personally, it held my attention, and I’d give it a thumbs up.

POPCORN: Thumbs up? Oh, we’re doing that now? Alright, well . . . then I’d be, like, a sideways thumb or some shit. Go see it, if you really want, but try to get some other dumbass to pay for you.

CINEMA: Yeah. Anyway, we should be back soon with our regular gig. While we’re waiting for the next installment of the Fast and the Furious, we might take a look at some older, forgotten films that we really think you should check out . . .

POPCORN: If it’s 2020, we don’t have to change the name of this to Cinema Popcorn, right? Cuz that’d just sound stupid.

CINEMA: No. Why the hell would we do that?

POPCORN: Well, if we’re gonna put the feminine stuff first . . .

CINEMA: (sighs)

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