The story of Hansel and Gretel is pretty well known. Two unfortunate children are abandoned in the woods by their horrible parents. One thing leads to another and they wind up finding a kick ass house made of candy. Of course a witch lives in the house and attempts to eat the children. Banding together, Hansel and Gretel kill the witch and live happily ever after.
OR DO THEY?!! Read past the break to find out.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes us beyond the childhood story and shows us what became of the poor little children. Turns out Gretel grew up to be a badass hottie and Hansel a soft spoken heartthrob with diabetes. I shit you not. While investigating a recent spree of child kidnappings, the two also learn of a dark secret that connects to their past.
It's a familiar twist on an even familiar story. This isn't the kind of movie that's going to "wow" you with it's engaging narrative. The story simply serves as a road map to get the characters from one set piece to another. It might snag your interest a couple of times, but overall it's a paper thin plot supported by decent action and a few funny bits.
The acting isn't all that bad either. While the characters aren't entirely fleshed out, they play their types very well. Gemma Arterton kicks plenty of ass and plays a believable action heroine, which is so rare these days. Jeremy Renner does his thing and provides a couple of good comedic beats while looking dashing. And Famke Janssen taps into her inner Dark Phoenix again and does a serviceable job of being the villain. No one does an outstanding job and yet no one is offensively horrendous. It's a happy middle ground for a movie like this.
I'm so glad that they decided to go full on "R" rated for this flick. This seems like the kind of movie where the temptation to cash in on a PG-13 teen audience would have been really high. Had they done that, I don't think I would have appreciated the film as much. It revels in it's R rated-ness. There's plenty of good ole fashion cussing, a bit of nudity and a healthy does of violence that isn't overly saturated with CGI. It's all kind of refreshing really. The thirteen year old man-child in me really enjoyed that aspect.
Which is why I really enjoyed Hansel and Gretel. It's cheesy and over the top, but not really smart enough to be self-aware of that. The action is explosive and fun, but a bit all over the place. At times you wish the camera would pull back just a little bit further so you could fully see what was going on. However, it still has those little moments where in the back of your head there's a pre-pubescent boy going "Fuck yes!" Does the idea of a Gatling gun taking down a coven of witches sound appealing? Cause that's the kind of movie Hansel and Gretel is.
Currently this movie is being shit on by critics and while my review seems pretty favorable, I can understand why everyone is hating on this movie. It's bad, but I think I happened to be in the right mindset to see this film. I was in the mood for something loud and cheesy and this movie scratched that itch. However, would I watch this film again? I don't know. I'm afraid that if were to do that, my impression of it would change drastically.
Final Score: C+ This movie is low brow entertainment. However, it's not offensive as long as you can appreciate where it's coming from. It's not for everyone, but that's okay, this movie will definitely satisfy a certain type of audience.