Every year there seems to be a theme in theaters where there are a couple of subjects with numerous filmmakers delivering varying films on the same idea. This year one of those themes seems to be reimagining of fairy tales. The first one to hit the big screen is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. The trailers looked a bit cheesy, but at the same time looked as though they may have some fun to deliver. With Hawkeye himself Jeremy Renner at the helm alongside Bond girl Gemma Arterton, X-Men alum Famke Janssen and the director of the awesome zombie film Dead Snow Tommy Wirkola could they deliver something that actually works or will it close the book on this story before it ever gets started?
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters follows the now grown Hansel and Gretel who spend their lives as bounty hunters, tracking and killing witches around the world. While their latest job seems like just another hunt, soon turns out to be much more with the Blood Moon approaching, they soon realize they are up against something more powerful than just your average witch. Let’s be clear, this movie is way better than it has any right to be. The premise is a bit silly and could have easily fallen in line with a SyFy Channel movie, which did their own version as well. Thanks to the increased star power of Renner, the high quality fun action and director Tommy Wirkola this film turned out to be surprisingly fun. The first half has its fun moments, but limps along a bit before it really finds its footing, but once it does it is a pretty fun ride. The acting is average at best, with Renner being the most entertaining and Janssen eats up the screen playing a great creepy witch. The biggest issue comes with Arterton who handles the action well, but just plays the character way to stiff. What makes this film really work is the execution of the action sequences. They are pretty out there at times, but are shot and executed really well to deliver the fun you would expect. In addition director Wirkola made sure to bring the gore along with him which took the film away from the silly direction it could have gone and into the R rated territory.
Believe it or not this film works really well to deliver an R rated fantasy adventure the works. Filled with humor, action, creepy witches, great effects, gore, and Derek Mears as the scene stealing troll Edward this is one of those popcorn films that you are sure to enjoy if you just get in on the joke of it all. It seems to have done well enough and sets itself up nicely to a possible franchise and if they can keep the formula intact is one that is welcomed.