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Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Before going into the film I was expecting something similar, but better than, Red Riding Hood (with Amanda Seyfreid) from a few years ago.  Hoping for a fun night out, we went to spend a Christmas gift card on a SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES. You know how much a Saturday night with some snackies cost? $33.75. Yes, ridiculous! But it was certainly enjoyable because I didn’t feel guilty sneaking in some PBR. It’s wrong to be sneaking some booze in to a film before noon, but it was it was 9:45pm. And for almost $40, I’ll do whatever I want, AMC! Directed by Tommy Wirkola, the guy who also brought us the Nazi-zombie story Dead Snow (‘09), and starring Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye from The Avengers) and Gemma Arterton (from nothing I’ve seen — Editor’s note: She played Agent Fields in Quantum of Solace), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a  creative spin off of Grimm’s Fairy Tale, the iconic story of Hansel & Gretel.

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The beginning of the film corresponded with the long lost middle-aged languages of old Europe, but the film quickly lost me when the script went stale and uninspired almost immediately. Moreover, there was much potential for some spectacular one-liners, and my anticipation grew bigger as the minutes elapsed, but it was all to no avail. Gretel, the sister in the duo, stole the show. Sizzling hot, smart, and completely influential, she said all the right things and lured me back in.  Her relationship with the fanatic/admirer young man throughout the film put her on a well deserved pedestal.  Her role glued everyone together. You see who’s in front in the cover? Damn straight. Story should have been called Gretel and Hansel, if you ask me.

Kudos for not using a blatantly CGI troll. Some of it may have been CGI but I, for one, believed it to be actual makeup and effects. And indeed, the troll character was incorporated well in the film. There was a stupid white witch which didn’t really serve a purpose. Maybe to reinforce an R rating with a glimpse of unnecessary nudity? The R Rating was undeserved; should’ve been PG-13.

Now, I don’t know when exactly gunpowder had been discovered and became popular, but I certainly don’t think machine guns were used in this age. The director could have kept a folklore-friendly atmosphere very easily by eliminating just a few elements. Weaponry was such an integral part in most of the actions scenes, and using guns and other modern inventions was kind of a cop out. It irked me. For example, a stun device used to stun and revive a nearly dead troll? Really not cool. But, the forest was very striking, fantastical, and complimentary to the tale.

The antagonist, the evil dark witch (Famke Janssen) was pretty good. Jean grey/Phoenix from X-Men. She held a solid central role with her minions carrying out actions all around. She put up a good final battle. It took place in a small, but significant, house that should have been brighter and larger… by which I mean, they could have amped up the scenery a bit. It just looked like a dim cabin’s kitchen. The violent fight more than made up for that creative slight.  The few minutes leading up to the credits were also memorable and leaves me wanting a sequel of some sort.

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Was I happy at the end? Yeah, it was a good time. I love cinema and what better way to enjoy it on a big screen with a bunch of other cinemafanatics. I simply like movies enough to critique them, think about them, and dwell on them afterwards. It was only a 3/5, but it does measure up to Grimm’s classic story.

-K-

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2 responses to “Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

  1. Nick! February 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I am so glad you saw this. I wanted to see it, but was completely discouraged by many of the reviews. I was hoping for some cheesy fun, and it seems like that is what is was.

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