Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

Fellowship of the Ring.jpg

December 19, 2001
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders
Genre: Epic High Fantasy
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis

I love Lord of the Rings. The whole series is amazing and it’s definitely what kicked off my love for New Zealand.

I’ve seen the first film in the trilogy more times than I can count and think it’s absolutely brilliant. I recently bought the extended edition (finally) and have really enjoyed seeing all the behind the scenes stuff that went into making the film.

If I were to ask you to name a film (or several) that you thought was truly great I’m sure everyone would have a different answer. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that Fellowship of the Ring is definitely on that list.

Fellowship brings together an intriguing plot, fascinating characters, and a beautiful landscape and creates what is probably one of the best films of all time.

The film follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from The Shire, as he embarks on a quest to destroy an all powerful ring. A ring that could bring an end to Middle Earth if it fell into the wrong hands. With the help of several companies along the way, Frodo takes great steps on his journey to saving all of Middle Earth.

Now, as I mentioned before Lord of the Rings is full of interesting characters and in this first film we meet the original ‘fellowship’: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli.

All of these characters are very different and not only do they each bring something unique to the fellowship, but they bring something unique to the screen that makes the film all the more enjoyable.

On the surface each character appears very simple, Frodo is the hero, Sam the loyal companion, Merry and Pippin the comic relief, Aragorn the warrior, and Boromir the traitor. But they are all so much more than that. Each character, from Gimli to Gandalf, offers comedic moments and heart wrenching moments; moments where you admire their bravery and moments where you want to slap them for their stupidity (you know who I’m talking about).

However, even at their lowest moments you can’t help wanting these characters to succeed. Maybe not at everything they attempt to do (like, you know, stealing the ring from Frodo), but at most things. You want to see what happens next, where these characters are going, what they’re going to encounter.

And what they encounter is a whole lot of adventure and a whole lot of beauty as they travel across Middle Earth aka New Zealand.

Over the years my dream destination has changed drastically. As a child of course I wanted to go to Disney World. Then as I got older I wanted to go to England and Scotland, two places my family comes from.

Well now I’ve been to Disney World and I’d still love to go to England Scotland one day, for many years now I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to New Zealand. And Lord of the Rings played a big part in that.

Fellowship was my first memorable view of New Zealand and every time I watch the film and the ones that follow I desperately want to walk the same paths the fellowship follows over mountains and trails.

 New Zealand is Middle Earth, it is magical and mysterious and full of creatures that don’t exist anywhere else.

Kiwi 2.jpg

Fellowship of the Ring is a cinematic masterpiece. Not only does it contain all the things required to make a good film (interesting plot, characters, etc.), but it also contains something that keeps the audience completely entranced. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but anyone who has watched Lord of the Rings will know what I’m talking about.

There’s just something about these films, and Fellowship in particular, that keeps you watching over and over again.

Near the start of this review I called this film one of the best films of all time and I stand by that statement. There are many films that could fall into that category, but for all the reasons stated above and many more, I think you can see why Fellowship belongs there.

What do you think of Fellowship of the Ring? Which character is your favourite?

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Things Read in 2015

2015

When I was younger I would read all the time. Literally, just one book after another. I carried one with me everywhere (still do) and even when I wasn’t supposed to be reading, like, during class for example, I did anyway.

Now, being older, I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I would like, but I still try to read as often as I can.

That being said, way back in the summer of 2007 (it’s actually quite a while ago if you think about it), I started keeping a record of how many books I’d read and how many pages they were.

It started being divided by the summer and school years, but then I just started doing it by year. So, now that I’ve babbled on and explained (poorly) how this system worked, here is a list of the things I read in 2015!

The Walking Dead Books 1-4 (Issues 1-8), Robert Kirkman

TWD Books

I was a fan of The Walking Dead show before reading the comics, but after hearing repeatedly how different the comics are from the show I decided I had to read them. I’m not going to get too much into what I thought of the books as I reviewed books 1-4 last year.

I will say that so far I’m thoroughly enjoying the storyline both on the show and in the comics. I plan on reading at least books 5-8 this year (hopefully more, depending on if I can get them from the library).

 

Death Note Black Edition I, Tsugumi Ohba

black edition i

The only book I read this year that I haven’t reviewed yet. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I wanted to read Black Edition II first.

I’d already watched the anime of Death Note before reading the manga novels and I absolutely loved it. I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to read and when I discovered the Black Editions I was even more excited.

The Black Editions are basically two of the novels in one. Instead of spending twice as much and buying the books separate, you spend a couple extra dollars and get two of the books.

Death Note is amazing and I’ll definitely be posting a review of it this year as I recently bought Black Editions II and III.

 

F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my TwentiesThis book is brilliant. I had wanted to read it for ages and was so glad when I finally did. Emma Koenig perfectly captures the feelings that come with being in your twenties, whatever stage you may be at.

I read and reviewed this book back in February and it is crazy how much changes in a year! Last year I wasn’t in school, had no job, and wasn’t doing too much. Now I feel like I hardly have time to slow down!

It’s absolutely insane how quickly things can change and I definitely need to read this book again to see just how different things are.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket

Reptile Room

I still haven’t finished this series! I started it like a year and a half ago and I still haven’t finished. I’m not going to say I’ll finish it this year cause I think we all know if I say that then it won’t happen.

However, I will say that I’m excited to read it again and actually finish it this time because all of these books, not just The Reptile Room, but all of them are amazing and enjoyable.

 

Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult

Handle With Care

This book still gets me even when I just think about it. I read this book in a matter of days and to this day I would say it’s probably in my top ten favourite novels.

I loved this book, but to this day the ending gets me sooooo angry. If you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, read this book. Read it because it’s beautiful and wonderful and Jodi Picoult is truly a literally marvel.

And then I want you to come back here and tell me what you thought of the ending and if you were raging for days while simultaneously existing in a state of shock like I was.

 

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse FiveThis book is one I need to read again simply because I still don’t think I fully got it. But, like I said in my review (which wasn’t really a review), I think not fully understanding the book actually just makes me like it more.

This is definitely one of those books where even if you don’t fully understand it you’ll enjoy it. This is also one of those books where if you’re a book nerd you should read it. It’s not like the great novels of our time now. There’s no magic or great battle against an evil, superpowered villain.

But there is a story and at the end of the day Slaughterhouse Five is exactly what all great novels start out as and what they all end up being.

I love reading. When people ask me what I like doing the first two things I always say are reading and writing. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember and, even though I don’t have as much time as used to, I don’t doubt it will stay like that.

I look forward to reading many more books over the course of this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish all the books I started at the end of last year and more. My reading goal every year is to do slightly better than the year before.

Total Books Read: 9 (technically 14)

Total Pages: 2595

But I want to hear from you! What did you read last year? Have any reading goals for this year?

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The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire, Dan and Phil

TABINOF

The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire aka TABINOF aka the book that is now tied with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as being my favourite book of all time.

TABINOF is the story of Dan and Phil aka Dan Howell and Phil Lester aka danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil.

I have a few books written by Youtubers and even more on my list of books I need to get. However, this one is definitely my favourite. I’ve watched Dan and Phil longer than any other Youtuber and even though I’ve never met them in person, it feels like I have because they’ve been there (or their videos have) during major times in my life.

I remember exactly where I was and what time it was when I first saw this video:

I was at the public library at four in the afternoon because I was part of a volunteer program and I was waiting for my reading buddy to show up when I got an email to say Dan had uploaded a video called ‘?’. Of course I had to watch it right then and there and it was all I could do to not scream out loud.

I got home and the first thing I did was preorder it off their website. It was kind of expensive because I live in Canada and they’re shipping from the UK, but it didn’t matter because in a few months time I would have Dan and Phil’s official book in my hands.

You would all be correct in assuming that I got some very strange looks when I went to the mailbox and found it in there. I practically ran home and opened it to find the book, a bookmark, and Dan and Phil pixel people stickers. Once again the only time I’ve been this excited to get a book was with the final Harry Potter.

I stayed up until three in the morning reading it and I regret nothing. If the final Harry Potter novel didn’t exist this would undoubtedly be my favourite book. However, Harry Potter is a thing so the two shall remained tied.

But what is TABINOF? I’ve been going on and on and how I bought it and how amazing it is and yet I haven’t said why it’s so amazing. Well I’m not going to go into great detail about the things in the book because that would be a spoiler and Dan and Phil specifically asked people to try and not spoil things because some people don’t have the book yet.

That being said, if you really don’t want to know anything about the book then you should really stop reading NOW. If you don’t want to see any spoilers STOP READING! Watch this video instead of Dan and Phil talking about the book and tour.

Alright, any spoilers from here on out are your own fault.

This book is so Dan and Phil. Reading it just felt like I was watching one of their videos or their livestreams. It’s a really good thing I was home alone when I was reading it because I was literally laughing out loud. The book is written like a back and forth conversation with each line labeled as being Dan or Phil saying it.

All I could hear as I’m reading the back and forth was “tone down the bantz” and it just made me lauigh more. The pictures in the book are amazing. They included pictures of themselves as babies (adorable), in their school uniforms (wow), and a whole bunch of pictures none of us have ever seen before (I was freaking out).

There’s a page featuring text messages back and forth between the two and they are absolutely hilarious! I actually to take breaks between reading each of them because I couldn’t stop laughing. There’s one in particular that I laughed for literally five minutes. I won’t tell you what it said, but I will tell you it involved wasps.

I took the “Which Dan and Phil (or Phil and Dan) Dining Chair Are You?” Quiz and it turns out I am the grey chair. Yeah, I can get on board with that.

One of the most highly anticipated things people have been waiting for in the book is the story of what really happened in Vegas. Ah, the infamous Vegas Video. Dan and Phil went to Vegas for Dan’s birthday and they vlogged a whole bunch of stuff, but the footage was lost when Dan’s hard drive stopped working.

So they wrote about it in the book. And let me tell you, you’re not even ready. I was not prepared for the Vegas Story. I was so excited to finally read it and let me tell you, it’s a rollercoaster from start to finish!

TABINOF is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read. I’ve already shown it to friends and family members and they just look at me like I’m crazy while I show them all the pictures and things in it. Undoubtedly they’re wondering what I’m doing with my life freaking out over these two guys in dinosaur and lion onesies.

I’m especially excited because Dan and Phil are actually on tour right now. At the moment they’re only touring the UK, but they’ve talked about going to other countries so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll come to Canada.

If have read the book then make sure you check out the ‘Making Of’ video below!

I seriously recommend buying TABINOF. If you’re a fan of Dan and Phil I guarantee you’ll love it and even if you’re not a fan of Youtubers I still suggest you buy it. You can do what Dan and Phil said by sniffing it (I can confirm it smells like a book) and then using it as a coaster.

Though please don’t tell me if you use it as a coaster, mine hasn’t even gone on the coffee table, it’s only been on soft surfaces so far.

Have you read TABINOF? What did you think? Let me down below, but remember, no spoilers!

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Mamma Mia, 2008

Mamma MiaJuly 18, 2008
Dir. Phyllida Lloyd
Prod. Judy Craymer, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Genre: Musical Romantic Comedy
Based On: Music by ABBA
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski

I’ve been watching this movie a lot lately. It’s just one of those films that I can watch over and over and a lot of the time I’ll have it on in the background while I’m working. Maybe it’s because it just feels like I’m listening to music.

Mamma Mia was originally a musical based on the music of ABBA and was adapted into a film in 2008.

Meryl Streep stars as Donna Sheridan, single mother to Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried) who sets out to find out who her father is before she gets married. The catch? There are three possible men who may be her father, but she doesn’t know which one it is and nether does her mother.

I love this film! I went and saw it when it was in theatres and it was so great because everyone in the theatre was jamming along to the music.

It was pretty obvious from the start that this film would be a huge success, a big reason for that being the all-star cast.

When you have Meryl Streep as the leading lady and acting opposite actors Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan, and Julie Walters, to name a few, you know the bar is going to be set high.

Everyone is so recognizable which I love. You see an actor or actress in this film and it’s pretty likely that you’ve seen them somewhere else. And everyone can sing! I know that should seem obvious since Mamma Mia is a musical, but I wasn’t expecting it from some people!

I wasn’t expecting Karen from Mean Girls or Mrs. Weasley to be able to sing. Not only that, but now every time I watch Captain America I can’t stop laughing because before he was Howard Stark, many people saw Dominic Cooper dancing in sparkly spandex while singing “Waterloo”.

It truly is one of the best things I have ever seen in my life.

Mamma Mia is, of course, all about the music. Some of the songs will have you laughing, some of them will have you crying, but all of them will have you dancing.

I can’t really choose a favourite song in the film because they’re all so good, but “Dancing Queen”, “Does Your Mother Know”, and “Slipping Through My Fingers” are three in particular that I listen to over and over. “Slipping Through My Fingers” is the one that really gets the emotions going so be warned, but “Dancing Queen” is definitely one that will have you on your feet.

Of course, the music wouldn’t make us feel any of these things if it weren’t for the cast and crew. Obviously people feel something beforehand because some people have seen the musical or many people (I’m assuming) listen to ABBA.

But in the case of a movie, the challenge is making the audience feel something right off the bat, a connection to these characters they’re seeing. Because if the audience doesn’t care, then what?

But from the opening scene you can’t help it, immediately there is a love and connection for these characters. They’re all just so much fun! There isn’t one character in this film where you go, “ugh, I can’t stand them!” That feeling doesn’t exist in this movie!

Maybe it’s down to the writing, the directing, the actors, or the music. Whatever it is, that connection is there right off the bat and you can’t help but like them and want to know more.

The scenery helps too. Even if you didn’t like the characters, I’d keep watching just for the scenery because the settings in this movie is truly a sight to see.

Mamma Mia was filmed in various locations with majority of the outdoor scenes being filmed on location on a small island in Greece and oh my goodness this movie makes me want to up and move to Greece. It’s so gorgeous!

I feel like I should have known it was filmed on location because there’s no way you could manufacture water that blue, but at the same time it doesn’t seem possible for water to be that blue in nature without anyone doing anything.

God the wanderlust is strong with this film. You’re going to want to pack your bags and move to Greece, signing “Dancing Queen” all the way.

The last thing I really want to talk about for this film is the costumes. The costume department did a top notch job with this one because each character is so distinct in how they dress. From Harry’s (Firth) business suits to Tanya’s (Baranski) expensive dressed to Sky (Cooper) constantly wearing swim shorts, each character is so individual and unique that it just makes this film even more special.

It gives them all personality and really shows that you what kind of lives they live whether it be single and structured or on the island swimming every day. The costumes tell a story in themselves so kudos to the costume department.

Mamma Mia is a spectacular film and musical. The cast do an amazing job bringing these characters to life and the music is something I listen to over and over again.

If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not typically a fan of musicals, if you like music and top quality acting, you’ll like Mamma Mia.

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Frozen, 2013

frozenNovember 27, 2013
Dir. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Prod. Peter Del Vecho
Genre: Computer-Animated Musical Fantasy
Based On: The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana

Alright, so I’m going to bet that when you saw the title of this review you either went, “Yes! Frozen!” or, “Oh no, not Frozen…” Me? I’m the first one, I love Frozen. A little relative of mine also loves Frozen which is why I’m reviewing it today.

Even if you haven’t seen this movie I’m going to assume you’ve heard of it since it was pretty much the biggest thing since sliced bread for pretty much all of last year and a good portion of this year. the hype seems to have died down a bit, but with Halloween and Christmas coming up I’m betting Olaf will be rising from the dead.

There are so many things about this film that make it amazing. The animation is brilliant, the music is wonderful, and it’s absolutely hilarious. That’s not to say I liked everything about the film, there’s one thing in particular that sticks out in my mind that I wasn’t crazy about, but I’ll get to that in just a minute.

Let’s start with the music which is probably the thing everyone knows best from this Disney movie.

The Frozen soundtrack is everywhere. Seriously, there are conspiracies about the government trying to brainwash people with radio waves, even the government couldn’t do as good a job as Frozen did with “Let It Go”.

I was working at a summer camp the summer after Frozen was released and every child ages four and five knew the words to “Let It Go”. Some of them even knew the words to the other songs! The music is just so catchy.

I will admit that when I walked out of the theatre after seeing Frozen I was humming the music and I immediately went home and looked up the songs on Youtube because they’re just really good. I don’t know what it is. Disney movies always have great music, but for some reason this soundtrack is just in everyone’s heads.

I heard “Let It Go” on the radio the other day as I was driving to a friend’s house and I turned it up and I was just jamming along and it was great. Whether it’s the amazing lyrics or the breathtaking voice of Idina Menzel, I’m not sure, but it’s a great song.

But of course, it’s not the only song in the movie so let’s move on to the others shall we? There are eight other main songs (meaning not the instrumental songs) on the soundtrack.

“Frozen Heart”
“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
“For the First Time in Forever”
“Love is an Open Door”
“Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People”
“In Summer”
“For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)”
“Fixer Upper”

I love all these songs and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. They’re fun, they’re catchy, the singers are brilliant, and they’re just so memorable. Seriously, go listen to one of these songs and tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head.

Now, I did actually have an issue with the music in this film and that issue is that the music pretty much takes place only in the first half of the film. Seven of the songs and “Let It Go” take place in the first half and then the only song that really happens during the second half of the film is “Fixer Upper”. I love the music, but I wish it had been a bit more spread out through the film.

Honestly though, this is only a tiny thing in a film that is absolutely brilliant. The animation is great. The characters have individual little stray hairs and the snowflakes looked so real. I will never stop being impressed with the technology and the artists who create these things.

Not only that, but the writers did an amazing job. This humour in this film is non-stop, especially with Olaf.

Olaf is my absolute favourite character in this film. I even created a life size cut out of him when I was at uni as a decoration for my dorm’s lounge.

 Decorating for Christmas 20

He’s funny and sarcastic and his lines were the best in the whole film.

The worst character was definitely Hans. I saw someone on Tumblr once describe him as being like a villain out of Game of Thrones and I’d say this is a pretty accurate description. He was going to slice Elsa with a sword! If Anna hadn’t got in the way and turned to ice when she did she’d be dead or Elsa would be dead and it would’ve been a whole different kind of movie.

They would’ve needed a higher rating for that.

Frozen is great. I know a lot of people are sick of it, but it is genuinely a great film. If you have little relatives watch it with them. The songs may annoy you and you may be sick of hearing about Frozen, but their excitement is so adorable.

Or, if you’re really sick Frozen, go look up some of the parodies on “Let It Go”. There are so many out there, I’ve heard a ton and they’re all hilarious.

The Hillywood Show did one based on Lord of the Rings and you can watch the video below.

There’s also this one which is called the ‘Honest Exams Version’ and I don’t recommend it for small children as it does contain lots of cursing, but hey, it’s about exams so what do you expect?

If you haven’t seen Frozen yet I seriously recommend watching it. It’s a brilliant film and it isn’t nearly as annoying as all the merchandise makes it seem.

If you have seen Frozen let me know what you thought!

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Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse FiveThis isn’t a review, per se, but more my first thoughts on the novel.

I had been planning to read Slaughterhouse Five for ages now and I finally did it. I bought it at Chapters and read it whenever I got the chance and I actually really liked it.

I’m not 100% sure I got it though, which is why I’m not doing a proper review. I understood the story and from hearing other people talk about it I know what it was saying, but I think this is definitely a novel I’ll need to read a few more times before I can fully appreciate it.

I actually liked this though, not getting it 100% on the first go. Some books I finish and I really enjoyed them, but it’s straight onto the next one.

I finished Slaughterhouse Five and I just kind of sat there thinking about it, trying to figure out what it all meant.

I got really excited when I finally understood the title of the book which, for years now, I had no clue why it was called what it was called.

I definitely need to read this book again because even though I don’t think I got it, I did really enjoy it.

It’s just one of those books that is so talked about and was (and still is) so influential. I definitely recommend checking out Slaughterhouse Five if you haven’t already. You might read it and not understand it, but I think, in this case, that’s okay.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, 2013

Hansel and GretelJanuary 25, 2013
Dir. Tommy Wirkola
Prod. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Beau Flynn
Genre: Action Horror Neo-Noir
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, Derek Mears, Pihla Viitala, Robert Atkin Downes (Voice)

When I first heard of this movie it sounded really interesting. The preview kind of turned me off because of how gory it looked, but I figured since Hawkeye was in it, it would probably be a good film.

It is a very gory film, but surprisingly I wasn’t as grossed out as I thought I would be. I blame The Walking Dead for desensitizing me to blood and guts.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes the classic childhood fairytale and turns it on it’s head. Or rather, cuts off it’s head and burns it which is something you’ll see happen a lot in this movie.

The story starts off the same as it does in the original. After being abandoned in the forest by their father, Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) find a house made of candy and the witch tricks them into coming inside before locking them up with the intent of eating them. However, that’s where the similarities stop.

Hansel and Gretel manage to escape their cage and kill the witch, thus taking on their official new roles as Witch Hunters. They spend their lives traveling all over killing witches and rescuing the children they kidnap.

This is how they end up in Augsburg. An incredibly powerful witch named Muriel (Janssen) is kidnapped children to use in a ritual that will help them become immune to fire, their one great weakness.

With the help of Ben (Mann) and Edward the Troll (Mears), Hansel and Gretel manage to stop the witches and discover something surprising about their own family along the way.

I really love this film. I’m a big fan of the grittier versions of fairytales and this is definitely one of those versions. The acting was brilliant, Renner and Arterton did an amazing job and Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters you will absolutely love.

It’s gross and gritty, but also manages to be incredibly funny and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute.

Now, of course, we can’t have a Hansel and Gretel film with a Hansel and a Gretel. Jeremy Renner as Hansel was so perfect in this role. It’s so different from other stuff I’ve seen him in, but he still has the same sarcasm I’ve come to enjoy in his previous roles.

I hadn’t seen too much of Arterton’s work before this. I knew who she was, but I hadn’t watched too many of the things she had been in. However, anything she’s in now I look forward to as she was absolutely brilliant in this. There are some actors I find who are very expressive and she’s definitely one of them.

There were some scenes between her and Renner and even if she wasn’t saying anything out loud it was like she had just said an entire monologue with her expression.

She and Renner were absolutely amazing acting opposite each other. They conveyed the sibling dynamic perfectly. From the way they tease each other to the way they protect each other, Renner and Arterton did a phenomenal job.

Famke Janssen was great. I’ve seen her a couple things, but the main thing I really know her from is her role as Jean Grey in X-Men. While she was technically a bad guy in the third film in that series, it was nothing to her character in this one. I mean, Jean Grey didn’t eat children so there’s that. It was pretty great seeing her a role so vastly different from the others I’ve seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this other side to an actress I really like.

I mentioned before that Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters who you will love and I say this because they are funny and adorable and perfectly round out the main cast on the good guy’s side.

Thomas Mann plays Ben, a teenager who is a major (and I mean major) fan of Hansel and Gretel. From the first moment we really meet him with his book of Hansel and Gretel articles (he was the original fanboy), Ben is a character you can’t help liking.

Mears was a bit of a different case. Starting out working for the wrong side, Mears plays Edward, a troll who eventually rescues Gretel and befriends her. He’s big and grunts a lot and kind of reminds me of a really strong guard dog. While I was a bit iffy about him at first, by the end of the film I was rooting for him and so glad he made it out okay.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be the costume and makeup departments. Or the special effects people for that matter. The witches faces were disgusting and I didn’t recognize any of the actresses when their faces changed. The body suit Mears had to wear to play Edward almost had me believing in trolls. It looked so real!

Each scene was done so flawlessly it looks like they actually changed their faces from looking normal to being gross and terrifying. However, you know that obviously didn’t happen, and I have to give kudos to the people who sat for hours applying makeup and prosthetics. And to the actors for sitting still long enough to do that.

I made a paper mache mask in eighth grade and had to sit still with it for twenty minutes and barely managed that so I can’t imagine being on either side of the makeup for hours.

And can I just say, the amount of fake blood they used in this film must have been ridiculous. There was so many splatter and burning bodies and exploding bodies and just so many bodies. Bodies, blood, and fire. I’m assuming there was a medical team on standby.

One thing I really loved about this film was something they added in that I never would have thought of. Hansel has diabetes. After being forced to eat all that candy as a child in the witch’s house, he developed “Sugar Sickness” and needs to inject himself with medicine at certain times otherwise he gets sick. This is brilliant. I never would have thought of it, but it makes so much sense. He even created his own special watch that goes off when he needs an injection and I thought this whole thing was so smart and such a good idea on the writer’s part. Amazing.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes a beloved fairytale and adds gore, dark humour, and lots of cursing. And you know what? It’s absolutely brilliant. The actors are great, the special effects are disgusting (so something obviously went right there), and I watch it all the time.

If you have a weak stomach or don’t like cursing this film might not be for you, but if that sort of stuff just rolls off your back then I highly recommend watching Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters immediately. Seriously. Stop reading this and go watch the movie. You won’t regret it.

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