Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
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Five Amped-Up Fairy Tale Flicks
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes the classic Grimm's fairy tale to a whole new level with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the title characters – all grown-up and making up for that "traumatic gingerbread-house incident" that went down when they were kids. With the movie hitting theaters this Friday, we've rounded up five amped-up fairy tale flicks that up the ante when it comes to action, supernatural antics and/or just plain creepy fun.
The Brothers Grimm
The famous tale-tellers themselves become unlikely action heroes in this busy but entertaining, 2005 film by director Terry Gilliam, starring Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger. The pair play Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, 18th-century con artists making their way through French-occupied Germany who are faced with a real-life situation straight out of their fairy tales -- to stop a witch who drains the blood of little girls in order to recapture her youth!
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Director Terry Gilliam's much-heralded, over-the-top 1988 production borrows from the tall tales of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, published in 1785, and stars John Neville as the title character, an 18th-century German nobleman with a penchant for tall tales that may actually have been true. The adventures range from a deadly wager with the Grand Turk (with the Baron's head saved only by the world's fastest runner, played by Monty Python star Eric Idle) and a romantic fling with the Queen of the Moon and its King with a removable head (Robin Williams) to an event hosted by the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife, the Goddess Venus (played by a sultry Uma Thurman).
Snow White and the Huntsman
The classic fairy tale gets a dark makeover in this epic fantasy from 2012 starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth in the title roles alongside Charlize Theron as the evil Queen Ravenna, whose desire for everlasting beauty consumes everyone in her path. After taking over the kingdom ruled by Snow White's father, the Queen targets Snow White herself to steal her heart – literally – and retain eternal youth. With Snow White on the run with the help of the stoic and unwitting Huntsman, can she rally her forces together for the ultimate battle? Of course, the seven dwarves are also on hand, embodied by the likes of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins and Toby Jones.
20th Century Fox
Ridley Scott's visually sumptuous take on the ultimate fairy tale is populated by unicorns, goblins, fairies, dwarves and the devil himself (a delicious performance by Tim Curry) in arguably the most incredibly outlandish makeup for an '80s film. With the Lord of Darkness plotting to steal the horns of the unicorns to bring on an eternal night of cold darkness and forcefully marry the princess Lili (Mia Sara), it's up to forest wild child Jack (Tom Cruise) and his friends to save the world and the one he loves. Though a commercial failure when it was released in 1985, Legend has since become a cult favorite, complete with a synthesizer soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.
The Company of Wolves
Beware of men whose eyebrows meet… This 1984 gothic-horror anthology borrows from Little Red Riding Hood and Le Petit Chaperone Rouge, among other wolf-related stories, and features Angela Lansbury as the grandmother who tells cautionary tales to her granddaughter Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson). The best moment is when this psycho-sexual film almost out-does An American Werewolf in London's amazing transformation with the inner wolf actually sprouting out of a character's mouth and breaking through his skin. Ouch!