Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
The art of the fairy tale can be a challenging one to tell. Most of us have grown up with the safe stories from books we received as Christmas gifts. Our parents would do their best to become storytellers as they go into a world of gingerbread men and magic wishes. But the magic wears off when we grow and we want something that feels cooler and darker. It wasn’t until the end of high school when I got a good glimpse of the darker fairy tales. A buddy of mine showed me the original Grimm tale of Snow White and I was shocked. I won’t spoil it, but once you look into these original stories, you’ll understand the need of the safety stories.
Last year from my review on Mirror, Mirror that it was a little late at this point for a fairy tale parody. The big thing these days is darker fantasy stories and to be honest, I was excited. I want to see an edge to Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio. But then come movies like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. This movie really wants to be the next midnight cult horror film. I wouldn’t mind it if it was bad. It just had to entertaining. But it lacks that focus as well.
The movie starts with the original story of Hansel and Gretel as children. Their father leads them into the woods and they come across a house of candy. A witch captures them and the kids escape by burning her alive in her own oven. We’ve heard the story many times, except this asks “what happens after?”. Once they’ve killed the witch, the children like the taste of blood better then candy and become the best bounty hunters in their area (It’s hard to tell the extent of their fame, as this movie never explains whether it takes place in the real world or a fantasy world).
Hansel (played by Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (played by Gemma Arterton) arrive in a town called Augsburg (which exists as a real city) to solve a mystery of disappearing children from the local witchcraft. Upon entering into the local woods, they encounter several witches, including the powerful grand witch Muriel who reveals her plan to make her sister immune to fire. The movie is mostly filled with witch gore, candy gore, naked witches and bad fairy tale puns. I wanted to stop this story before it ended.
The biggest problem is the true lack of depth. The environment is full of plot holes as it seems to take place in some Amish time rip. How can it be that Hansel and Gretel are using electric Tasers on trolls, yet the town doesn’t have electric power? How can machine guns be invented when there’s no evidence of a factory? The easiest answer would have been to explain the fantasy aspect, yet it’s trying to put itself in the real world by saying their wanted in America.
What about these so-called witches? They never talk about the need for children. They don’t even show off that much magic. They are mostly seen screaming into the camera, trying to play off on the whole 3D gimmick. The witches that do show off magic are not even immune to plot holes. Why are some of them doing magic without wands, even though Gretel says they cannot do it without them?
I cannot deny that Renner and Arterton have a good screen presence, but their forced to work with an extremely lazy script. Most of the time, their personalities are nothing but shoot the witches.
I’ll give this one and a half pieces of candy gore out of five. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is like a bad result of someone that took in too much candy and alcohol; It’s hyperactive, but it’s just random action and sloppy storytelling.