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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: Classic Tale, Epic Slump

  • Famke JanssenGemma Arterton...
  • Action & AdventureHorror...
  • Tommy Wirkola
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: Classic Tale, Epic Slump
It was the Brothers Grimm, the illustrious German storytellers, who brought life to the legendary tale of Hansel and Gretel back in 1812.  The classic story of two abandoned siblings fighting off an evil witch has long been celebrated and has gone on to inspire various on-screen adaptations. 

None of those adaptations, however, ever did the story any justice and sadly, such is the case with the latest version, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

The story goes back to the very beginning – the young brother and sister being hurried out of the house by their father and taken into the woods in the middle of the night.  Frightened and alone, the children soon stumble upon a house made entirely of candy and a witch who gets her kicks from baking little children.

Fast-forward a few years later and the story introduces the all grown-up duo, Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton).  Having survived their childhood encounter with the cottage witch, the siblings are now your everyday bad-ass bounty hunters.  Outfitted in stylish black leathers and armed with some fearsome and questionable weaponry, the hunters make it their business to track and shoot down witches around the globe. After a series of children get kidnapped by the witches from a near-by village, Hansel and Gretel are called in to clear up the mess. Their quest soon leads them to re-live their childhood trauma when they come across the malevolence witch, Muriel (Janssen).

The bloody twist, which is definitely not suitable for younger moviegoers, is not the problem.  Neither is the profanity, swanky outfits and the hi-tech artillery; it’s actually refreshing to see that someone is daring enough to throw these elements in. The real problem lies with the lack of dialogue, depth of plot and overall execution.

Director and writer, Tommy Wirkola, doesn’t seem to know what he wanted the story to be either. Is it a just a hip take on fairytale characters? Is it a comically violent film that at times throws in a few brainless, but fun, fight scenes? Or is it just a parody on folk tales in general?  Neither the characters nor the director know the answers to these questions and after its short running time, the story doesn’t get a chance to explain it either.

Wirkola’s leading characters are edgy and cool and yet extremely unlikable. Not a single ounce of chemistry is shared between Renner and Arterton who desperately triy to breathe life into their characters the whole way through. Jenssen – who reportedly agreed to this role so that she can pay off her mortgage – isn’t  convincing as the crackly evil witch and her exaggerated performance only incites  in more unintentional laughs. 

Taken as a whole, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is desperate to please. Overwrought and overridden with one too many themes playing against it, this bloody take on a legendary children’s tale is dire and easily forgotten.   

Like This? Try

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Mirror Mirror ( 2012),  Red Riding Hood (2011).

360 Tip

Diane Kruger, Eva Green and Noomi Rapace were all considered to play Gretel before Gemma Arterton was cast.

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