“After getting a taste for blood as children, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have become the ultimate vigilantes, hell bent on retribution. Now, unbeknownst to them, Hansel and Gretel have become the hunted, and must face an evil far greater than witches… their past.” — (C) Paramount
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is good, fun entertainment. It’s not particularly jaw-dropping or anything remotely resembling brilliance, but it sure gives you what you pay for–release from the stress of every day life.
The film tells the story of the titular characters after defeating the witch that wanted to eat them. In the original story, Hansel and Gretel find a cache of treasures and find their way back home to their father, finding out that their evil mother has already died. In this version, Hansel and Gretel never find their way back home–instead, they carve a place for themselves in towns they stumble into… as witch hunters.
When the story really begins, Hansel and Gretel are already well-known witch hunters. They arrive in a town just in time to save a woman from being falsely accused of being a witch. But saving her, the town is left with no one to blame for eleven missing children. Our main heroes rise to the occasion, and they do sound and logical detective work… which they didn’t really have to do after all.
The plot of the story twists into Hansel and Gretel’s past, as the main villain reveals that she will be coming for Gretel before it’s all over–because the girl has something that the villain requires.
And as the adventure continues through well-placed (but completely obvious) foreshadowing of who Hansel and Gretel really are, the movie delivers on the main thing it promises: action and gore. And it does it well.
The only things I really didn’t like were things that made the era feel strange. They have injections and customized weapons that are too advanced for the time period. It doesn’t look like the industrial revolution has already happened, and yet they are utilizing tools that won’t get invented until after the said revolution. I understand that the film is stylized, that it isn’t aiming for historical accuracy–but if so, why not just go completely out of the bank? Why not go for a steam punk feel, which would make Hansel and Gretel fit into the setting better.
Of course, it can be argued that it was intentional: that Hansel and Gretel really shouldn’t fit in amongst the rest of the characters, as they really shouldn’t. But it was something that bugged me throughout. The only thing that bugged me.
At the end of the day though, the rest of the film was enjoyable. Not stellar, not mind-blowing, not completely original–but it was completely enjoyable. And that’s what is important, isn’t it, when taking a break?