If you are a fan of primetime television, then you have probably heard of, if not seen “Grimm”, a modern take on the famous tales by the Brothers Grimm. You may also be aware that one of their most well-known and memorable stories was “Hansel and Gretel”. If you haven’t heard of it for some reason, it goes a little something like this – these two wondering kids get lost in the woods and fall upon a house made completely of candy, inside awaits a witch, ready to eat them. They of course overcome the witch and toss her into the furnace, which is where the story aptly ends. So how can you make a full-length film around adult versions of the characters? Find out in “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”.
With a title like that, you might be able to predict what the movie will be about, and for the most part, you may be right. For that, the movie is immediately predictable, but let’s dive further into the story. The film opens up with the classic story, two kids, candy house, and a hungry witch. The reason why these two children are able to defeat the witch is because her black magic doesn’t work on them for some reason or another…they are special. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have since grown to mature their abilities and found a calling defeating witches all around the world. Hansel and Gretel may have just met their match when a new witch started showing up named Muriel (Famke Janssen). Muriel had a plan to make all witches immune.
Before examining the movie itself, let us look at the source material. The original story that this was based off of had a very good message. It was about the dangers children are able to face, and how to take steps not to be lost, or vulnerable. That wasn’t really taken into account at all in this film. Now a movie can be its own thing if it too had a good moral, which this movie has a little of, but not much. First of all, it is actually about prejudice. It made a note to say all witches were bad, but it had a somewhat strong focus on the fact that there are good witches too. That also goes into paganism and Wicca, how they are often regarded as these women with pointy hats and flying brooms, it’s just not true. Whatever they believe, they have very good intentions. So that may have played a part in the moral, but for the most part, it wanted to focus on action and 3D effects.
The action and 3D effects were more focused on than your average three-dimensional movie. It seems like everything is popping out at you, even when you are watching in 2D. That may be fun to look at, but it is bad for your eyes and often hurts. Also, when this is done it becomes obvious that more attempts were focused there than any other part of the filmmaking process, including writing.
The writing just wasn’t really there. If you look at the title, you could have gotten out a pen and paper and made your own script as to how it would play out and it would be close. The development pretty much stops soon after the beginning just to get to the action, which is fine if that is what you like, but it isn’t going to be as good for a higher majority of movie-lovers. The acting was okay, nothing terrible, but nothing noteworthy either. Jeremy Renner didn’t seem like the right actor for the adult version of Hansel, but in all honesty, who would be? That’s not a role someone can look up and know the right actor for the role. It’s also never good when the lead villain actress admits she only took the job to pay off a mortgage.
Overall, the movie has the elements of a fun film, but for the most part, it has a lazy script and over-the-top 3D effects and gore. Just remember that this won’t entertain everyone, and that anyone that is expecting too much here won’t get very much in return. Just sit back and try to enjoy. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” came to theaters on Jan. 25!