Friday, February 22, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

As children, Hansel and Gretel are rushed into the forest by their father one night. Hansel and Gretel are forced into an underground hiding space, and their father leaves them alone in an effort to protect his wife, but he never returns.

Eventually, Hansel and Gretel are lured into a house made of candy. But an evil witch is lurking inside, and she captures and plans to cook Hansel and Gretel alive. Gretel escapes, rescues her brother, and a magical spell prevents the witch from killing Gretel. Hansel and Gretel turn the tables on the evil witch, tossing her inside the oven for a slow and painful death. After the deaths of their mother and father, Hansel and Gretel are forced to live on their own.

Many years later, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are popular and deadly witch hunters motivated by revenge and a hatred for witches. Hansel and Gretel’s services are needed in a small town with an alarming missing children’s problem. Witches are the prime suspects, and Hansel saves a local townswoman named Mina (Pihla Viitala) from an execution. Mina is the prime suspect at first, but things change, when Muriel (Famke Janssen) comes into the picture. Hansel and Gretel will have to fight off the local sheriff and his men, and uncover the mystery behind Muriel’s diabolical plans before it’s too late. As an obsessed fan, Ben (Thomas Mann) lends a helping hand, but Muriel’s powers and loyal minions will give Hansel and Gretel their toughest challenge yet. 

First of all, I loved, loved, LOVED Famke Janssen here. Her performance just flowed so naturally, and Janssen’s delightfully wicked portrayal of Muriel is fun to watch. Renner was okay as the typical bad ass hunter with a mean streak, and Arterton was just eye candy for the most part. She had a few moments as the “woman, who can defend herself, and not take shit from anybody“, but overall, Arterton’s good looks triumphed over her acting skills for the Gretel character. Thomas Mann is entertaining as the goofy fanboy, but Janssen is the true star of this cast.

I enjoyed Witch Hunters cheesy comedy, and this film brought a few good laughs out of me. Yeah, the jokes are corny, but Hansel & Gretel is a parody film, so you have to expect the constant barrage of over the top silliness. Also, I took a chance on the 3D, and I’m glad I did. Witch Hunters features some cool 3D effects, and you’ll see a good amount of body parts and splatters of blood flying at you here.

BUT I will admit, Witch Hunters takes an awkward turn, when Muriel transforms into a full-blown witch for the first time. As full-blown witches, Muriel and her minions are supposed to inspire fear, but the witch form of Muriel didn’t disgust me. And on the flip-side of that, the witch forms for Muriel and her followers didn’t cross the “too goofy” line for me. In fact, I thought Janssen and her minions were kind of attractive as witches, but that’s just me.

A part of me wants to give this film a ten, but I can’t, because I know it’s not that good, not by a long shot. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters puts a spin on the famous fairy tale with gruesome and bloody violence, and I love mindless fun horror comedies, so Witch Hunters was a great guilty pleasure for me. 

Final Rating: 6/10

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