In this twist on the classic fairy tale, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) survive their childhood ordeal at the hands of a hungry witch, and set out to rid the world of witchy evil. When a large number of children go missing from one town however, it will take all of their strength and skill to save the day.
We have Jack the Giant Slayer coming out in cinemas soon; has Hollywood really run out of ideas that it has had to turn to a story that is over 200 years old? Well, probably not, but Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is the latest in a long line of reboots and reimagining’s that are not entirely terrible, so they will be around for some time to come.
Arterton and Renner make up the title sibling duo, and their chemistry works rather well and they balance each other out, until their chemistry goes from familial love to the point where the audience is full sure they are going to see a very awkward kiss. Thankfully, they full away at the last moment. Both characters are very crudely drawn, but that’s OK, because they can kick ass, and do. Regularly.
Famke Janssen is the leader of the witches and there is not a single scene in which she does not chew the scenery, but somehow that’s OK as well, because she is having such a good time doing it and to be honest, the film needed a campy villain in order for it to work. Peter Stormare tries his best to out-ham Janssen, but doesn’t really get the chance.
The story is rather thin in parts, and definitely an underdeveloped vessel that was created to allow people to look good kicking ass. That said, there are some great one-liners – mostly involving profanity – but not enough of them. Speaking of profanity, when the film starts off, it seems as though it is going to go the route of Your Highness in terms of cursing, but it shies away, meaning that there is both too little and too much in order for it to work.
Writer/Director Tommy Wirkola has made a name for himself in his native Norway by making schlocky horrors and parodies of the Kill Bill movies, so it is hard to tell whether it is the language change or whether something else has got lost in translation, because Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters does not work as well as it should. All the elements are there; cursing, badass heroes and oceans of blood and gore, but the movie feels like it is missing the spark that could have made it great. Perhaps this version is not tongue in cheek enough?
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is the latest fairy tale to get a Hollywood makeover and, while the gore and schlock work well for the story, the plot feels as though it could have been fleshed out a little more, and some slightly riskier decisions made.