<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed and written by Tommy Wirkola. Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann
Interesting twists on fairy tales are always welcomed if they’re imaginatively thought out and brilliantly executed. Snow White & The Huntsman was one such film. Unfortunately, Hansel & Gretel is a nightmare of a movie for fans of the genre.
What the hell is Jeremy Renner doing in this film? The man’s all over the place and he’s not even a great actor. He’s not even that smart taking up a film like this where he looks totally out of place and almost mocks the ridiculousness of it all in the movie.
Anyway, the original story by the Brothers Grimm about Hansel & Gretel who lose their way in the woods (weren’t there breadcrumbs involved, well not in the film) and stumble upon a ginger bread house built of candy. An old lady (the witch) invites them to stay and fattens them up so she can have them for supper. But the ingenious siblings manage to outwit her and escape. Well in Witch Hunters they do the same, discovering that the witch’s powers don’t affect them and then grow up to become Witch Hunters. Just like Vampire Slayers and Zombie Killers etc etc.
The opening credits of the film done in animation style – which seems to be the in thing to take advantage of 3D – is a mini film about Hansel & Gretel’s adventures slaying witches and saving little children from their evil clutches. It’s quite nice but then it ends and the film begins. And you have Hansel wielding a strange looking vintage gun and Gretel with a crossbow that shoots multiple arrows. And they’re all clad in leather and out saving kids and women wrongly accused of witchcraft. And that’s basically it really. There is some weird backstory about the white witches and how the evil ones are planning to make themselves invulnerable to fire.
It’s all so boringly dull; the lines are humourless (this considering funny man Will Ferrel is one of the producers) and the acting, save for Famke Janssen as the Grand Witch, is slovenly. The only performance that stands out is by a CGI/prosthetic Troll called Edward. Writer/director Tommy Wirkola has found no magic, no mystique or surprise in the retelling of this tale. It’s simply a loose character outline for a shoot-em-up film with more blood and gore than you’d expect in an attempt to make it appear badass. But even that is meh!
I have to mention though that Hans Zimmer’s pumping background score ensures that this film isn’t completely vapid.