Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

I’m a fan of taking an old story and making it new again, assuming, of course, that the remake (and retake) is done well. That being said, I award Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters a B on my movie rating scale.

Though a bit more gory than expected (a troll stepping on a dude’s head, another dude exploding from an excess of maggot ingestion, dudettes flying through razor wire … you get the idea), it had a pretty impressive story line considering its youthful origin. Based on the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, this film took that basic plot and elaborated a bit. Instead of living happily ever after, the brother/sister team that cooked the witch that tried to eat them spends their life getting back at witches in general. But, is there a moral to the story? Yes, there is (because every good fairy tale has a moral). H&G learn that not all witches are bad. Who knew?! Oh and *SPOILER ALERT* Gretel finds out that she has a lot in common with their prey.

*SPOILER ALERT* and train of thought continued: The good witch/bad witch thing wasn’t a bad concept, but there was very little resolution to it. So Gretel is a good witch? Or isn’t she? Does she just have the blood of a good witch in her (since she is female) or does she actually use her witchy ways? So many unanswered questions…

So, we have a badass bro/sis team of witch hunters, enough action to be getting on with, and a decent plot… where’s the bad? I don’t know if I would call it bad, but, hmmm, how shall I phrase this: Mind the surprise nudity! I’m not a prude, but it was a bit random.

On the acting front: I’m a fan of Jeremy Renner (Hansel), and Gemma Arterton (Gretel) was a nice surprise considering she had to keep up with Hawkeye/the new Jason Bourne. Their relationship, however, wasn’t incredibly well developed. You just see snippets of how much they care about each other. This unsettled relationship bothered me at times and then I reminded myself that this is an action movie and I felt better. I also had to remind myself that this movie isn’t about well-developed and complex characters; it’s about a team of witch hunters. It’s a frickin’ cool profession, so I am willing to forgive this character-complexity oversight.

On a more random note, thanks to a massive ingestion of candy at the hand of the mean ol’ witch that tries to eat them in their youth, Hansel has diabetes. They don’t call it that in the movie, but in my mind it was a pretty obvious allusion to it. Am I wrong? Personally, I felt that this was a random addition to the plot, but not a necessary one. The only time it comes into play is in the last fight scene and even then, it’s so minimal you could skip over it without a thought.

To sum up, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a good one. If you have the extra cash, check it out in theaters. Gore is always better in theaters (as is Jeremy Renner). If you don’t have the extra dough, don’t sweat it. Redbox will suit this one just fine.

Oh, keep an eye out for the films most lovable character, Edward, who is far smarter than anyone gives him credit for since he sees Gretel for what she truly is long before most of the audience does.

Click here for a cool H&G fairy tale sketch.

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