Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Written By: Tommy Wirkola
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 28 min
I would say after the first fifteen minutes or so, it became clear to me Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters had no real sense of what it was trying to be. As it skipped along, I was reminded of lots of other films. At times the rapid comic action reminded me of Evil Dead 2. The mindless violence reminded me of From Dust Till Dawn. The production design reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm, and that film also had Peter Stormare playing an over the top and annoying law enforcement officer. Heck, with the towns folk screaming to burn witches any chance they got, I was reminded of Monty Python’s Holy Grail!
This film felt rushed to me. The action scenes are poorly staged, edited, and threw out logic whenever it seemed convenient. One moment Hansel is clearly chasing a witch, only to be ahead of her moments later ready to knock her down. Even some character traits are conveniently forgotten about. It’s established Hansel has to inject himself with some kind of potion every few hours to stay alive. I guess you just have to assume he doesn’t need it through the night? At one point he’s knocked unconscious overnight, yet still seems fine despite not taking his meds. The film is full of these convenient leaps, and after you notice two or three of them, it just gets annoying.
In the end the violence in Witch Hunters is too graphic for the film to be fun, and the dialog too out of place with the fairy tale setting. The action on occasion doesn’t make much sense, and the plot is about as thin as the character development.
For this one, keep your expectations really low. It’s pretty violent, and while the action is over the top, it never feels cartoonish and fun. Just kind-a-ugly and gratuitous. If you’re a fan of Jeremy Renner or Gemma Arterton you might want to pass this movie up. Neither seemed all that connected with the thin material, and it shows in their performances.
The effects are pretty mediocre, so a regular dvd or streaming show at home will do.
Worst moment for me: << mild spoiler >>
When Hansel and Gretel happen upon a small cottage, and don’t recognize it’s the house they grew up in! Wait, what?