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Movie Review: 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters'

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Jenssen
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Rated R


Almost everyone knows the fable of Hansel and Gretel.  Something about breadcrumbs and a house made of candy, there’s a witch and an oven and the witch ends up eating the two siblings.  But what if Hansel and Gretel fought back and overcame that witch?  What if they set their entire lives devoted to witch hunting?  That’s the premise of the this film and that’s where the creativity ends.  The trailers make this seem like a great time at the movies but with an uninspired script, lazy filmmaking, and dull performances from all around, you’re better off spending ninety minutes trying to take off on a broom.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starts off with the two being abandoned by their father and left in the woods.  The two, scared for their well being, wander off and find a house made of candy.  They enter and appear a witch who wants to consume them.  Lo and behold! The two kids get the upperhand and burn the witch.  From there on, they vow to take on a life of witch hunting. 


I went into this movie already hating it until I saw the Garry Sanchez title card and thought, “Will Ferrell is behind this movie, it must be fun.”  I was wrong.  The film knows that it’s that campy, B-movie horror, action film but does nothing fun with it.  Jeremy Renner is stiff, Gemma Arterton is wooden and Famke Janssen doesn’t look like she’s having much fun.  Fun Fact: She only did the movie to pay off her mortgage and it shows through her performance.  This is the film that everyone dreaded to star in but the money must’ve been good. 


The design of the witches look like something out of Guillermo del Toro's trash bin.  Each witch has their own distinct look to them but that's not saying much.  One has short hair, the other one has a long nose, another has no legs, blah, blah, blah.  If these are what made it into the film imagine the ones left on the cutting room floor.  


The film is very predictable and follows a certain guide.  The writer, who is also the director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), feels like he read “Action Movie Writing For Dummies” and followed a list of commandments.  It plays by the rules, which is ironic since the film begins with them broken.  Another problem I had with the film were the sad fight scenes.  Hansel and Gretel are built up to be these two bad asses but every time they get into a fight they get their asses handed to them.  Hansel’s shotgun is used more like a club. 


I saw the film in 3D, which was a huge mistake.  The 3D isn’t utilized at all, there is no depth to the scenery but that could be blamed on the theater I was in. The film had the potential to become a badass, fun time at the movies but failed at its own game.  The palettes are dull and the acting is wooden.


I wish there was more blood and played with the mythological creatures a tad more.  It’s a nice try but it played too much by the rules. I wanted something that was hardcore and didn't feel like it was forced. You’re better off waiting for this to come out on DVD or wait for it to be on Netflix Instant Play.

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