Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a bit of action fun fluff. The plot is a twist on a fairy tale that we all know. There are some funny moments, some serious moments and lots of action and gore. I went in with no expectations and came out having enjoyed myself for the 88 minutes that this movie runs.
Plot: Everyone knows the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. Their father leads them out into the woods and leaves them there to die. They wander in the woods and find a house made of candy. They eat part of the house and the witch invites them in. She captures them with the intent to cook them for dinner, and instead they shove her into the oven to her death. Where this movie deviates is that Hansel and Gretel become professional witch hunters. They are successful witch hunters because for some reason witches’ magic cannot harm them.
They take a job in a town where several children have disappeared, and Hansel and Gretel figure that there is a witch involved. They go there with the intent to kill the witch and free the children, but the job becomes much more complicated than that. They find themselves facing a master witch during an auspicious time, and she may know something about their past. There are side plots as well like the Sheriff who doesn’t like Hansel and Gretel being in his town, and a boy who is a fan of Hansel and Gretel that is trying to get them to train him. There is also a mysterious girl that the Sheriff was trying to burn at the stake, but who is saved by Hansel and Gretel. She may not be what she seems to be.
Overall, this movie is pretty good. The have done a good job altering and lengthening the plot of this familiar fairy tale. It moved well, and the plot made sense. The dialogue was good in this film. There are a lot of one-liners that made me laugh.
The effects are decent. There is a lot of action including fire, fights, and gore. This movie is definitely not for children of any age. There is an extreme amount of gore and blood, and lots of foul language in this film. If those things bother you, then this is not the movie for you. I don’t know about using guns for this supposed time period, and some of the costuming was a little off to me, but hey, put Jeremy Renner is something resembling black leather and I am a happy girl.
The only thing that I didn’t really care for was some inconsistent moments in the plot. One has to do with Hansel’s sugar disease. He supposedly got sick from having to eat too much sugar at the first witch’s house. He has to take a shot every so often or he gets weak and dies. In the beginning of the movie, he seems to take the shot on a regular basis. However, he goes an awfully long time in the film without us seeing him get a shot, but then in the final big battle he all of a sudden needs a shot. That seemed a little inconsistent to me. And there was a plot point (that I won’t give away) involving Gretel that I didn’t quite understand, and really needed an explanation for but didn’t get one. This particular point is key in the film but its lack of explanation leaves a big hole in the film to me. Those are my biggest problem in the film.
The acting was okay. There were no performances to write home about here, but that is the nature of this film. Jeremy Renner was his cute, funny self. He is playing the action hero role we find him in so often. Hansel obviously cares about his sister, loves his job, and hates witches. He is a very simple man. But he has some of the best one liners in the film, and think his character changes a bit when they learn more about their past. Gemma Arterton is Gretel. She is the thinking character. She figures out what the witches are up too, and she is also the first one to figure out their past. She also holds up her end with the fighting. I liked her character. Famke Janssen plays Muriel, the master witch. She was a good villain, and I liked her in the role. She has a goal, and is not afraid to use her resources or sacrifice anyone to attain it. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal plays the red-haired girl that is almost burned at the stake, and is rescue by Hansel and Gretel. She also helps Hansel out later in the film when he is lost in the forest after a run in with one of the witches he is hunting. She is sweet, but we don’t get to know a whole lot about her. I thought Ingrid did a good job with what she had for a role. Thomas Mann is Ben. Ben is a fan of Hansel and Gretel and also wants to become a witch hunter. He is enamored with the brother and sister and he has all the newspaper clippings of their hunts. He becomes the sort of sidekick to the brother and sister and helps them out a time or two. He is a good likable character. Peter Stormare is the Sheriff who doesn’t like having Hansel and Gretel in his town. He is totally unlikable and you totally wish Hansel or Gretel would just shoot him already.
Overall, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunter is a very entertaining fairy-tale based action film. Its fun to watch but don’t go expecting a movie with a lot of substance because you won’t find it. It has a decent plot, decent effects, decent acting, and lots of gore. I enjoyed it and if you enjoy a gory, yet fun action film then you should enjoy it too.