"I'm so hungry I could eat a house!"
Hansel and Gretel
Review by Ross Anthony

Here's sort of a unique offering -- a Halloween film for kids. With DreamWorks releasing "The Ring" and Warner Bro's "Ghost Ship" what do true trick-or-treaters have cinematically speaking this Fall.

In an older fashion, the famous fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel comes to the big screen, minus most of the bells and whistles we've come to expect from recent kids films.

A modern father tucks in his kids and reads them the tale, which has been adapted here and there with a few modern day references and new characters such as Howie Mandel's appearance as the Sandman. Howie's performance is goofy, fun and enjoyable for both the young and the old, "Of course I live here, you think I'd live in New York ... the city that never sleeps?" Actually, I think the sandman could have helped out the characters in that DreamWorks release.

The film opens well with an overhead aerial shot of the Black Forest as seen from the witch's broomstick POV. And ends with a rather fun extended climax, but the middle meat & potatoes (or should I say "Wild Boar & Gingerbread") bogs with scene after scene of our two hungry heroes mucking about in the forest. Though lacking a substantial build of plot; the film's decent dialogue and good performances by Howie and Delta Burke (the mean ol' stepmother) keep parents mildly interested. As for younger kids? I don't know. Have films like "Toy Story" and "Monster's Inc." raised the bar out of the range of quieter independent G films?

Solid production value, strong audio, and a wonderful score, but where are the breadcrumbs?

If your kids are finicky eaters, see the film just before dinner.

  • Hansel and Gretel. Copyright © 2002.
  • Starring Jacob Smith, Taylor Momsen, Howie Mandel, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Lynn Redgrave.
  • Voices of Bobcat Goldthwait, Tom Arnold, Sinbad. Directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe.
  • Screenplay by Timothy Nolan.
  • Produced by Steve Austin Jonathan Bogner at TAG.

Grade (Kids 3-8) ..............B
Grade (Adults) ................B-

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:38 PDT