Review #24 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters- 2.5 Stars
By Katy Daniels
Directed by- Tommy Wirkola
Starring- Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton and Peter Stormare.
I think I went into this movie with too high expectations. I was hoping for a fun film which doesn’t take itself too seriously. And I think if it had taken the mick out of itself, then I would have enjoyed it.
I don’t really think I have to explain the story (well, I’ll do so in less than three sentences). Original fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel get captured by witch. New development from fairy tale- they kill said witch and become witch hunters in their adult life. The end.
Now to the actual review:
As I’ve said, it takes itself way too seriously. There were a few jokes I snorted at, and if these had been in abundance, I might look at the movie more favourably. The story was alright but predictable- there are mysteries surrounding Hansel and Gretel’s parents (I won’t reveal just in case for some reason you fancy taking a trip to see this), and a big townspeople vs. witch battle at the end.
The action sequences are pretty entertaining, so much so that in the scenes where it was just characters talking (which thankfully weren’t too many), I was longing for villagers in Middle Age Europe to take out their machine guns and electric weapons. To its credit, the film is only 1hr 20 mins.- if it were any longer it would get one star rating less than I’m giving it.
I wasn’t totally impressed with the costumes either; they’re scary enough for kids (really pretty terrifying at beginning with the darkness and cackles), but a few of the witches and Edward, the troll, look a little bit like they’re wearing Halloween masks. I’m not sure which parts of the movie were done with computer graphics, but either way, it gave the impression it was a low-budget horror.
Finally, the characters. I suppose I kept watching it because the sibling relationship between Hansel and Gretel was one of the only dynamics of the film I actually cared about- both driven by their tragic family history to protect kids from the monsters of the world, and they care for each other because, well, they only have each other. Other than these two, which I don’t think were acted that brilliantly by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, I didn’t care about the other characters. There’s a troll called Edward who is vaguely amusing, and a tag-along fan/assistant who reminds me of Justin Long in Galaxy Quest (who plays that type of character far better and more amusingly). At the end of the movie there is an INCREDIBLY cringey monologue by Jeremy Renner, which I’ve docked half a star for because frankly it’s unnecessary and just adds to the fact that this movie shouldn’t be half as serious as the actors, writers and filmmakers make it out to be.
It should have either been funnier, or not so ridiculous. Congrats to the director for not making it two and a half hours though, in this day and age that’s a real achievement. Two and a half stars.