Release Date: 24 January 2013
Running Time: 100 minutes
Distributor: United International Pictures (from Paramount Pictures and MGM)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Screenplay: Tommy Wirkola, Dante Harper
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare
Plot: AAfter getting a taste for blood as children, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have become the ultimate vigilantes, hell bent on retribution. Now, unbeknownst to them, Hansel and Gretel have become the hunted, and must face an evil far greater than witches...their past.
When Hansel and Gretel were young, they have seen a lot. Abandoned by their parents, nearly died from the past encounter with the evil witch and surviving the terrors are just part of their growing up process. Many years later, the sibling (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) who has earned plenty of remarks for their witch bounty-hunting, is back in the German town of Augsburg. The mayor of the town recruits them to investigate recent high witch activities in the area. Their investigation leads them to uncover the evil witch Muriel’s (Famke Janssen) plan of sacrificing the local children for the “Blood Moon” ritual. Racing against in time, the sibling must save the children or the evil wizard will gain a step closer to immortality.
Directed by the Norwegian helmerTommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), this twisted folklore is basically a letdown. With the help of the movie trailer, we have already seen how cheesy this movie is going to be. And the trailer is dead spot-on in regards to this issue. I am not sure if this movie is an attempt to incarnate previous failed legendary fairytale (read Red Riding Hood, Hoodwinked II, Van Helsing and The Wolfman) or this is something to laugh about in the next few weeks. But on the surface, this movie looks like a fast-paced no-brainer action flick that should do well by keeping its pace timely-well and minimizing the bumpy parts. Of course, I love this sort of gung-ho action at times. In fact, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters delivers a pure goofy yet throughout entertaining popcorn flick.
While the action sequences involving punching, kicking and shooting arrow are genuinely intimidating, the movie possesses a lot of trouble of trying to avoid the aforementioned bumpy parts. The plot, written by The Harpers and Wirkola, is not doing a serviceable job of setting things into a good clock-motion. It does not justify the need to provide these characters with essential and believable background to build the character later, leaving a paper-thin characterization to follow. Another flaw in this movie is the plot inconsistencies which also lead to some plot holes. For an example, I was particularly baffled by the fact that the evil witch sort of announcing that her name is not worthy to be mentioned by everyone, yet I lost track of when the other characters happily called her name out – ironic and a classic contrarian writing.
Even with the hollow writing to feel in, Wirkola has proved himself a capable man to stop this movie from going spiral downward even further. Also noted is the positive side of the movie where he does some commendable job of delivering enough blood and splatter, dark sense of comedic relief and fashionable action.
Dark, twisted and contemporary take of the popular Grimm's folklore, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” is essentially a not bad fast-paced popcorn flick filled with inconsistencies, poor characterization, hollow writing but not without some decent fight scenes, splatter fiesta and mediocre entertaining bounty hunting.