Friday, April 8, 2011

"Hanna" is a fairy tale disguised as an action movie


Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana
Writers: Seth Lochhead, David Farr
Director: Joe Wright

***'s out of four

                                        (Theatrical Poster)

The best way to describe this new action movie is to tell it from a fairy tale perspective.  To be more precise it is a modern version of Snow White, if that princess knew how to fight back.  The character of Hanna(Saorise Ronan) is very much the young princess, Marissa Viegler(Cate Blanchett) is the wicked queen, and Erik Hanna's father(Eric Bana) is the woodsman who hides Hanna away in the forest.  While in the forest Hanna trains to survive and becomes quite proficient in weapons as well as fighting techniques.  She becomes tired of running and goes after Marissa herself so that both her and her father can become free.  

                                (Photo: Focus Features)

Director Joe Wright uses a lot of visual and audio clues to let you know that this a fairy tale. There is a family that take Hanna with them on their vacation and they become like the seven dwarfs and there is even one scene where Hanna goes into a plastic wolf's mouth just like the hunter did in "Little Red Riding Hood" to chase down Marissa.  Audiences are going to compare Saorise's role to Chloe Grace Moretz's Hit Girl in "Kick Ass"  but what sets this one apart is that Hanna doesn't enjoy killing.  It's just something she has to do to survive.  This is a young girl who has never seen the outside world and all of her life has been about killing  Cate Blanchett is good as the villain but I felt there was more to her character that wasn't explained fully.  I never fully understood why she wanted to hunt this girl and her father so badly.   The trailers make this look like it has action all the time and although the action scenes are impressive.  This is more of a character drama with fight scenes sprinkled in here and there.  If you keep the idea of it being a modern version of "Snow White" it will become quite enjoyable for you as it did me.  Hanna' first words in the movie and I'm paraphrasing this is "I must have missed your heart". Well I'm sorry, but you got me.

                              (Photo: Focus Features)

I do want to make a quick comment about the wonderful score from electronic duo The Chemical Brothers.  Their pulse pounding score works great for the action scenes but I was a little worried  about how they would handle any type of emotional scenes.  That all stopped when I heard "Hanna's Theme".  It is both child like, innocent and  really does represent how this character feels inside.

                                ( Hanna's Theme: vocal version)