run time: 88 mins
considered: Action, Fantasy, Horror
starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann
movie summary: Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretel. The age-old fairy tale of a brother and sister who are lured into a house made of candy by a witch who plans to cook them. The siblings outsmart the witch by pushing her into the oven before escaping the cabin and fleeing into the woods.
In 2013, their classic tale gets a remake with a twist thrown in. After escaping the candy house, Hansel (James Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) grow up to become witch hunters. They are famous across the lands for hunting and killing some of the most feared witches with just their bows, guns, and unorthodox fighting style.
The siblings reach the town of Augsburg where they are asked by the local mayor to help find some children who have gone missing, presumably abducted by witches, while the local Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) gathers his own group of men to find the children and stop the witches. By the next day, Hansel and Gretel along with the sheriff’s men are off in the woods tracking witches when the pair manage to catch one and hold her as bait to get the grand witch, Muriel (Famke Janssen), to come and rescue her.
Muriel comes to the town to free her fellow witch and abduct another little girl for the Blood Moon ritual. Gretel challenges her but is injured during the ensuing face off, while Hansel tries his best to stop Muriel but instead ends up getting hang upside down from a tree. The next morning Gretel sets out to find her brother and Muriel when she runs into the sheriff’s men, who beat her up until a troll named Edward saves her. The siblings reunite at a run down cabin deep in the forest, which happens to be their childhood home, before Muriel shows up and explains to them that their mother was the grand white witch. The three follow their chat with a fight where Hansel gets stabbed and Gretel gets kidnapped as another sacrifice for the blood moon ritual.
Hansel wakes up all patched up thanks to the healing powers of Mina (Pihla Viitala) who is a good witch. They recruit a boy from town named Ben (Thomas Mann) before heading to the mountains to interrupt the blood moon ritual and save Gretel. A major battle ensues between the witches and the witch hunters that starts up on the mountain cliffs and finishes up deep down in the woods. Hansel is in pursuit of Muriel who goes to the famous candy house to hide, which pisses the siblings off because they have to head into the place of their childhood nightmares to finish Muriel once and for all.
my thoughts: I was so excited for Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters and was there on opening night to see it in IMAX. Unfortunately, I was let down on several levels during this hour and half movie, mainly because the special effects are good but not great, the acting is alright but nothing special, and the story isn’t overly exciting. The best parts of this film are Hansel and Gretel themselves, Renner is hilarious with f-bombs and dry humor through out while Arterton looks amazing in leather and has the battle skills to kick some ass. The supporting cast has their place in the movie, with Janssen being the most famous name of the bunch. She is the evil grand witch but isn’t overly scary in terms of her witch craft or ugly make up. The film leaves the story open for a part two or maybe a series but really doesn’t deserve one. If they planned to make more films, they should have added more of a storyline to this one and stretched it out maybe 15 more minutes. Everything works for the time frame it is alloted, but this should be a one and done movie.
Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is on Netflix which is a good place to catch this film without spending lots of money on it. Just remember not to have high expectations going in because this story won’t be for everyone. This movie gets a high rating from me because I love Renner’s and Arterton’s performances, nothing else.
my star rating: 8 out 10