Review: Hansel & Gretel – Witch Hunters / Cert: 15 / Director: Tommy Wirkola / Screenplay: Tommy Wirkola / Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen / Release Date: February 27th
What an exciting concept for a film: Hansel and Gretel all grown up, and using their expertise and ingenuity to wreak revenge on witchkind. Unfortunately, the magic has been lost along the way and soured into a dull, unimaginative mess confused at what sort of audience it is aiming for. Director Tommy Wirkola, who showed promise in Dead Snow, falls victim to the Hollywood machine in this overproduced and shoddy attempt at giving a new twist to a much-loved fairy tale.
A crafty trio of witches headed up by the malevolent Muriel (Famke Janssen with a frightfully filthy mouth) are gathering children to sacrifice in time for the rising of the next blood moon. Thankfully, Hansel and Gretel are on the hunt and a bloody chase ensues. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are on autopilot here, doling out ineffective one-liners, darting around aimlessly whilst unveiling mysteries about witches that in the many years of their profession seem to have only just come to light. Their general uselessness as uncovering things in a timely manner makes them seem stupid, and talking of stupid, how about the coincidence that the cottage where they were taken prisoner as children just happens to be only a few miles outside the town where they live? Meanwhile, a love story with absolutely no build-up apart from a discussion about Hansel’s diabetes and a saucy swimming scene just infuriates. It’s a case of too many characters and ill thought out storylines spoiling the witches’ broth.
On the bright side, some of the set design is excellent, including the neon-coloured witch lair we are introduced to early on, and a sweet relationship between Gretel and a troll named Edward brings some light relief to what is otherwise a sickly potion of violent revenge, sexual innuendo and gore. The reasoning behind Edward’s soft spot for Gretel is never explained but then again there are quite a few loose ends here. As you would expect, the ending points to the beginning of a franchise that will hopefully never be.
The 3D adds nothing except a few arrows shot directly into your field of vision, plus it darkens the screen, making the action murky. This stinky cauldron of a film doesn’t even fall into the 'so bad it’s good' category as the fun has been stripped away in favour of silly, over-stylised fight scenes. In its attempt to mix horror, humour and action, it fails miserably.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10