Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Fairy tales, it seems that there are infinite numbers of them from different countries and different cultures around the world. It also seems inevitable that Hollywood will, at some point, turn a fairy tale into a motion picture to make a few dollars off of it. From Hercules and Snow White and the Huntsman to Red Riding Hood and The Little Mermaid, these stories are brought to life by live-action or animated avenues for audiences to experience a new telling of the age old story. And so is the case with the Grimm brother’s story, Hansel and Gretel. Did you ever wonder what happened after the siblings pushed the witch into the fire and left? Well, worry no more!
So this is the part where I give you a synopsis. However, the film is kind of all over the place and hard to describe on general terms without giving much away…. but I’ll give it a shot. Young Hansel and Gretel are taken out to the woods and left there by their father for no apparent reason. He leaves and the children wander through the woods, eventually coming upon a gingerbread home. Starving, they begin eating the home. The witch who lives there captures them. She intends to bake them to eat, but Hansel and Gretel aren’t going down without a fight. They eventually push the witch into the oven, ending her life. But we all know the original story…
Years later, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are renowned for their witch-hunting skills. They travel around, killing witches and saving children with a wide array of weapons, some not quite fit for medieval times. They come across one village where eleven children have been taken and decide it’s time to help these little ones out. However, something bigger is going on. A red moon, one that happens once in a very long time, is approaching; and is sacred to witches. On this night, it’s possible for a witch to create a potion that will make them immune to fire, thus they could never be burned to death. But they need certain ingredients: Twelve children and the heart of a white witch (yes, there are good witches). There’s also a look into the past of Hansel and Gretel’s parents and why they put them in the forest, which is something I always wanted to know personally. To say more about the plot would be to give things away; and there has to be some surprise for you, right? Okay, moving on!
I really question why Jeremy Renner took this role on. After coming off of “successful” films like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Bourne Legacy and The Avengers, why would he choose this? Maybe he needed a break from better films? Or maybe it was his lifelong goal to play a version of Hansel since he wasn’t cast as the role in his first grade play? Who knows? Though Renner performs well enough, give the script he had to work with, it’s still odd he chose such a project. Gemma Arterton, on the other hand, is built for these types of roles after turns in Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans. She, too, is more than up to the task of playing Gretel but it isn’t a stretch for her. She actually seems like she kicks more butt than Jeremy Renner, and he’s a Bourne operative and an Avenger! Go figure. Maybe these were just easy paychecks for the actors?
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is, by all account, a B-movie action flick. It is high on the action, as well as the gore. I mean, this is about hunting and killing witches with arrows, machine guns, blades, and grenades. Would you expect less? So, should you pay attention to story or plot details, the film is going to be a much worse experience for you. I’m guilty of this. There are some nice special effects in the film, and there is an actual “touching” aspect where Gretel befriends a troll. Yes, I said a troll. There are also things you question like, why does Hansel all of a sudden need to inject himself with some medicine randomly throughout the film after obtaining the “sugar sickness” from eating the gingerbread house? For me, it’s like he obtained Type 1 diabetes and is giving himself insulin injections, but I digress. Also, for Hansel and Gretel to be such gifted witch hunters, they sure get their butts kicked quite a lot! This is a film you have to take for what it is: an action film with little to no character growth and little in terms of story.
Are there better films out there for you so spend your money on? Yes. Is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters worth spending $12 to go see? No. Do I recommend you going out to see it? Not so much. If you’ve seen everything else out there worth viewing right now and you want to just rest your brain, and you are going to the matinee showing, then Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters may be for you. Just don’t expect a lot of magic from this fairy tale.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars