Hanna

Once upon a time, there was a fair young maiden who live in a tiny cabin deep in a snowy wood. The girl had eyes like star sapphires and long flowing locks, and she often wandered through the forest communing with nature. One day she came across a huge elk gracefully wading through the knee-high snow in a meadow. She paused to admire the carriage of this majestic animal, and as little blue birds sang above her head, pulled out a crossbow and dropped the beast with one arrow. Then she cocked an automatic pistol and drilled it in the head, just to be certain. If the Big Bad Wolf was watching this, he wet his pants and got the hell out of there, because this beauty owned the hood and this was certainly not Hoodwinked, Too.

Hanna is an odd film that combines the somewhat creepy influences found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales with good old-fashioned action adventure. The first twenty minutes are basically Hanna being surprised by her father (Eric Bana) as he tries to catch her off guard, and her responding by kicking his ass. Just as it was starting to get a little too Kato-ish, we learn that her training has been to prepare her for a confrontation with Cate Blanchett, who had a mysterious hand in the creation of Hanna (not to mention some seriously masochistic dental habits). While it’s never completely clear why Hanna is the way she is or what they want her for, it sets up the entire film as she is chased around various parts of Europe by a Perez Hilton look-a-like assassin who has no qualms about whacking people or wearing embarrassingly short shorts.

The film’s climax takes place in an abandoned amusement park filled with dilapidated dinosaurs and Gaudiesque architecture that looks like a plague hit Toon Town and drove everyone out. Saoirse Ronan, with her chiseled marbled cheekbones and ice blue eyes, gives a wonderful performance as Hanna. The film is gripping and entertaining, and I was only slightly distracted by the fact that it kept reminding me of the TV series Dark Angel, which starred a leather-clad petri dish reproduced soldier played by Jessica Alba. It also introduced millions of future NCIS fans to Michael Weatherly, who has a much better chin than Eric Bana.

Two different people warned me about this film before I saw it. Both said “You’ll never make it all the way through! You’ll be puking in your purse!” They both seemed kind of excited about the idea, leading me to question my committment to certain loved ones. But my committment to YOU, my faceless readers, was stronger than their words of potential projectile vomiting, and I soldiered on (also I couldn’t get into The Source Code, which was what I actually went to see.)

Here is where I discovered that people who don’t get motion sickness really don’t get motion sickness. It doesn’t matter if a film is all action sequences as long as the shots are steady. I can watch car crashes and exploding elks all day long; it’s only if the camera operator is suffering from a bad case of the shakes that sends me running up the aisle. This whole film had an Eastern European feel to it, and one got the impression that this crew could really hold their vodka.

Barf Bag rating: ZERO STARS Let’s hear it for action flicks that actually pony up for tripods!

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