A movie about a grown up Hansel and Gretel killing evil witches in a brutally violent matter? I was all on board without having to know anything else. In fact, much like I, Frankenstein I went into Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters almost knowing nothing about it. Was it horrible mess or horrible fun? Read on!
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes place in a vague past in a vaguely European-ish setting, basically in fairy tale world and time. It starts out with the kid version of Hansel and Gretel having to flee into the woods where they fall into the clutches of a deadly trap… a house made of candy owned by a witch. Like in the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel escape, but the story continues where the two kids grow up to be ultra cool hunters of evil witches.
The main plot of the film kicks in when they come to a village that is suffering from children being kidnapped. Things take a twist when it turns out that it’s not going to be a regular witch hunting adventure, there’s a much bigger plan in motion aside from just eating kids.
Hansel is played by Jeremy Renner, who is probably most famous with nerds as Hawkeye from Avengers. His sister Gretel is played by Gemma Arterton most famous for shitty movies. The two of them have some great chemistry as the brother and sister witch hunting team and they’re really great for the parts. Famke Janssen who is most remembered as Jean Grey in the X-Men films takes on the role of the head witch and she’s really smoking… except when her evil witch face shows up and yikes.
To enjoy Hansel and Gretel you’re going to have to accept that A. It’s really ridiculous, B. Their unbelievable technology could work, C. There are some really unbelievable plot contrivances that you’re going to have to accept. By ridiculous, I mean the action, humor, characterizations… they’re all pretty over the top and goofy. But it really works. Mostly because the film doesn’t take itself super seriously. You feel like everyone involved was involved in the joke and are just having fun. This is the opposite of I, Frankenstein that somehow works on a basic level despite being almost entirely joyless.
On the unbelievable technology front, Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is one of those films that’s got future past technology. It’s not steam punk by any means, but there’s gadgets and weapons that are completely unbelievable for the 1700s-ish time period that it’s supposed to take place. There’s a crossbow that shoots like a machine gun and an electrical device that can double as a defibrillator to name just a few of the many instances of unbelievable tech. It all works for the film though and only adds to the fun. It also adds a bunch to the over the top action. There wouldn’t be as much fast shooting if they had to rely on blunderbusses.
The plot itself involves some business with witches wanting to be invincible or something. It’s seriously forgettable, but it serves to help along the action and adventure well enough. There were a few times that there were some coincidences that were a little too unbelievable, but I was able to roll with it and still enjoy the film.
Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is another cheesy film made more enjoyable by 3D, which is really well done. It’s surprisingly good. While not the best 3D I’ve ever seen, it’s definitely in the good half of the spectrum. There’s a lot of depth to much of the film and there’s some really great pop out moments. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. Pop outs are cheesy and dumb. Well, I’ve grown to like pop outs more and more when they’re well done, particularly when it’s flying objects like arrows or knives.
– Hansel has to take regular shots (with the aid of a timer that goes off when he needs them. He later explains that he got sick from eating all the candy in the witches house. Is Hansel the first diabetic hero in cinema?
– I can clearly differentiate between the historical use of the word “witch” and the one that applies to weirdos who think magic is real. However, I could see those people being really offended with this flick. At least there’s good and bad witches in the film to help offset the witch hate.
The Final Judgment
I had set the bar low for Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters and I was surprised in all regards. It’s a goofy, fun flick and made even more fun in 3D. The only major flaw I could find in this set is that the extended version of the film is only on the 2D disc.
Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters gets a solid stamp of approval for both 2D and 3D. I really hope they do end up releasing a sequel for the further adventures of Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. It’s an interesting world they built with more than just witches that could be hunted.