This movie is one that intrigued me to say the least. I don't mind fairy tales, I like action, I like senseless violence in movies and Jeremy Renner is pretty awesome. He's growing into almost a Jason Statham Jr. over the past few years. Never seen anything with Gemma Arterton in it, but RocknRolla was always a movie that has also intrigued me. One of the more surprising things I found out, doing the research I do after watching a movie, is that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were producers for this movie. Big screen funny man and director funny man were involved in something like this is kinda outta left field. Now if only they could've got some comedic stars and a good script, this..well could've been good.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters follows the story of the classic fairy tale duo of children Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton). After they escape the old witch and burn her alive, as told by the old tale, they then spend the next 15 years hunting and killing witches. Things come naturally to them, as for an unknown reason, they are immune to all the powers and spells of a witch. One day, in the town of Augsberg, they save a girl, Mina (Pihla Viitala), from falsely being executed as a witch. Turns out the Mayor, Englemann (Rainer Brock), has hired Hansel and Gretel to help find children who have been taken from the village by witches. That night, Muriel (Famke Janssen) a power grand witch, kills a group of witch hunters and send one back alive to warn the town not to get involved. The siblings discover that the witches are collecting children to preform the ritual of Blood Moon. They enlist the help of a fan boy who's been following all the exploits of Hansel and Gretel, Ben (Thomas Mann). Gretel also meets a new friend who happens to be a troll, in Edward (Derek Mears (Voiced by Robin Atkins Downes)), who helps her out of a jam. It'll take all Hansel, Gretel and crew has to try and stop Muriel from completing one of the worst rituals ever imagined.
Well this movie certainly had a lot more blood than I was expecting. During almost every scene someone is bleeding, getting blown away with steam punk-esque shotguns or with the use of witches magic. This is a gore-fest if there ever was one. So if you like your movies blood-filled this is right up your alley. The story is pretty lame, as I lost interest pretty quickly. Not saying it isn't imaginative and "classic tale, new twist" like the tag line, but to me it just got boring. I'm fine with knowing that Hansel and Gretel escape the old witch and then live happily ever after. This turns them into vigilantes of sorts, and while it's bad ass, it's not really suited for a full length movie. The action is alright too I guess. Jeremy Renner definitely brought it, with both screen presence and in the hand to hand combat or gun fight scenes. But the rest, is like I said above, was done with overly gory blood explosions.
The acting was something. Renner and Aterton did well as the leads. Hansel and Gretel are written well enough to be able to play off of each other. Thomas Mann, as Ben, was a bit of comic relief as he's the overly excited fanboy. While the siblings are more stoic and grounded in what they do. Famke Janssen as Muriel the evil witch was decent I suppose and Mina, Pihla Viitala, is alright throughout as well. The rest feels like a one off carousel of townspeople and witches that almost ALL die by the time the credits roll. Nothing in terms of a huge amount of character development as the whole cast almost gets killed after five to ten minutes on screen. Nothing standout, but in the end, nothing really disappointing. The music, dialogue cinematography and anything else you can think of was all middle of the road as well. Nothing good, but like most of this movie, nothing terrible either.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a highly original idea that doesn't really pan out well as one would hope. While you find yourself wanting this to kick in as you watch it, it just never really does. The acting, action, story all feel uninspired. It soon becomes how many different ways can we incorporate steam punk weapons into killing witches in huge explosions of blood. That being said if you go into this wanting to see a lot of cleavage, blood spatter and a creative fairy-tail twist on killing witches, you'll probably get a kick out of this. But for me it just doesn't do it and adds yet another disappointing movie to the list of 2013 movies to come out so far.