Hansel & Gretel’s Witch Hunters (2013)
Epic fail of a fairytale; ‘Witch Hunters’ proves mediocre
Todd Miller | writer
After the success of “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Hollywood seems to be going out of its way to revamp classic fairy tales.
This trend includes films like the upcoming “Jack the Giant Slayer” and the recently released “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” However, unlike “Hunstman,” the latter takes the novelty out of the idea and doesn’t offer anything new. In fact, it makes the whole idea of retelling fairy tales seem like an entirely bad idea.
The movie’s plot essentially asks, “What ever happened to Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) after they burned the witch in the candy cottage?” They became witch hunters killing witches, indiscriminately, across their land.
The concept is somewhat silly, but if you look past that initial reaction, it’s not a bad idea. However, “Hunters” was executed terribly.
The first noticeable aspect was how useless many things seemed. Many of the siblings’ weapons ranged from fantastical to unbelievable, like machine guns. They were just too unusual and completely pulled me out of the world.
Gretel’s language, actions and her general person just seemed out of place. It was jarring to jump from the appropriately accented Mina (Pihla Viitala) to the profane, American-accented Hansel and Gretel. It completely breaks the fantasy of the world.
Blood and gore are used throughout the movie to no great effect. By the time the third or fourth person explodes into organs, well before the 30-minute mark, it’s lost its effect and just becomes tedious and boring. The same could be said of the few scenes involving sexual imagery. They seem to be added only so the filmmakers can say, “Hey look, we put something sexy in a movie. You should come see it.”
When you have such a limited amount of time to do and say everything your movie needs to do and say, there is no point in adding things that mean nothing to the plot. The idea of a good witch helping them fight the bad witches is a nice idea; having her do this by blessing a machine gun is not. Giving Hansel diabetes because of the candy he had to eat as a child is a good idea. Doing it so you can have Hansel stab himself in the leg with a dramatically oversized needle, just to add some fake drama at the climax, is a bad idea.
I will, however, give the movie credit in two areas. When the screen isn’t full of blood and organs, the physical and computer-animated designs were pretty and authentic-looking. Although most of the scenes took place within a generic forested area, they still managed to make each chunk of woodland look distinguishable from the others, which helped keep much of the film from looking the same.
The film got the music right, mostly. Many of the rock songs weren’t so good, if only because they’re unfitting, but much of the other music was nice. Then again, it is hard to go wrong with composer Hans Zimmer (“The Dark Knight” trilogy).
“Hansel and Gretel” might be worth seeing out of boredom and a need for something to make fun of. It is not worth the movie ticket, especially a 3D movie ticket, and one might be better off waiting to rent it.