HANSEL & GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS
I had very little expectation heading into Tommy Wirkola’s modern-day version of Hansel and Gretel. Mostly because his last film “Dead Snow” fell flat on its face. This time he has taken the popular Brother’s Grimm fairytale and crossed it with a modern fantasy film to give us “Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters”. Starring are Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, The Town) Gemma Arterton (Quantum Of Solace, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) and Famke Janssen (Goldeneye, X-men)
The basics remain the same, Hansel and Gretel are siblings and when they were very young they lost their parents. Obviously in this version of event’s it wasn’t in the same manner as the original fairytale. Witches are responsible for Hansel and Gretel’s mother being burnt at the stake and their father being killed. Most of the film is set many years later. The two are now bounty hunters who track and kill witches. Their goal is to eventually find the witch responsible for the death of their parents. Along the way they cross paths with different characters including a troll. Peter Stormare (Fargo) is a blast as Sheriff Berringer, his acting is a bit over the top, but he has a very fun part to play.
I like the whole cast, Gemma is stunning in this. She kicks some major ass too! Of course I’m a huge Jeremy Renner fan, he is always impressive. I thought his narrated intro and the overall look of the film was very Tim Burton esq. The world was created very well. The intro credits contained some really cool motion capture stuff which I really liked. They keep the witches very conventional, which is both a good and bad thing. They can still fly on their broomsticks but they have other “magical” powers too. Famke Janssen as “Muriel” the evil witch seemed as though she was just doing this for the paycheck. I read an article after viewing the film that said she only took the role because she was having money issues, trust me it showed. I didn’t think she was menacing or believable, she basically sleepwalks through the part. However they did do a great job of her makeup. There were varying decayed looks to each of the witches in the film, that was something different.
I found the score to be a bit trite. I heard everything I was expecting to here and nothing new. I thought there were a couple of really effective kill scenes though. The second half of the movie has some really well done blood and gore effects. Mixing both practical effects with CGI to create a nice blend. The troll is responsible for a fair bit of destruction, not necessarily in a bad way though. Some of the transitions between the scenes and the fight choreography were both a little bit rapid and sudden, but I suppose effective enough. A couple of the sets also looked a little bit cheesy, the differences between the on location stuff and the studio wasn’t always a smooth blend.
The film is quite a good fantasy/action style film, that uses the basic story of a fairytale we all loved as kids. The effects are all pretty good, the acting for the most part is solid too. Some great one liners from both Renner and Arterton. It’s just a good fun, high entertainment value flick. It’s not something you sit there and take super seriously. It’s something you don’t have to think about much. If you want something to leave a bit more of an impression watch “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” it’s a bit more professionally done, then what you get here. None the less I thought this was easy and fun.
My rating for “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is 6/10