When fables are modernized and expanded well, the genre is one of my favorites and has become very popular in recent years. From last year’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” to television’s “Once Upon a Time” to the “Fables” comic book series, re-imagined fairy tales are the rage, but they are more often disappointing than good. Released on Jan. 25, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is the latest disappointment.
Everyone knows that Hansel and Gretel were abandoned in the woods as children and found their way to the candy home of an evil witch that tried to eat them. Continuing where the Grimm brothers left off in 1812, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is focused on the siblings’ adult lives as professional witch hunters; towns hire Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) to slay their local witches. Nearing a Blood Moon, children are being abducted at a more frequent rate, so Hansel and Gretel must investigate the abnormality, leading them to information about their childhood.
The short story has much more substance and drama than this much longer retelling; the fable has drama and depth as the parents abandon their children and they smartly attempt to survive with breadcrumbs and chicken bones, but “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” has no intelligence. Don’t think too much about the storyline because the details won’t explain the stupid plot twists.
“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is often too far ahead of its time. The weapons used throughout are much too advanced, made to look older by covering them with extra metal. And the presence of grenades with pins rather than fuses is laughable (early by at least half a century). Yes, it’s an action-centric fantasy film, but it’s too modern for anyone paying attention. I won’t even discuss the presence of diabetes treatment.
The film focuses on two things, besides Gemma Arterton’s breasts: gore and action. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is based in horror, so expect buckets of blood, gruesome-looking witches, and slimy things. The 3-D explodes numerous images of body parts and blood at the audience.
The only audiences to which I’d recommend “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” are the ones who enjoyed “Van Helsing;” it’s the same abduction of classic characters to fit a modern interest that only blaspheme all that was good in the story’s foundation.
Rating for “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters:” D
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is playing in 3-D at most theaters in Columbus, including Arena Grand, Rave Polaris, and the four AMCs (Lennox, Grove City, Dublin, and Easton). For showtimes, click here.