Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala directed by Tommy Wirkola Movie Review

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

The Sibling Slaughterers

As children Hansel & Gretel were lead into the woods in the dark of night by their father and left there. It is whilst running from the noises they come across a house made of candy which they enter and find themselves doing battle with a grotesque witch who they defeat when they knock her into a fire, watching her burn. Years later and Hansel & Gretel have taken what they did that night and turned it into a career as legendary witch hunters but also defenders of those wrongly accused of being witches. When eleven children from a village disappear it is Hansel & Gretel who are called as the Mayor is convinced it is the work of a witch. And he is right as in three days there will be a Blood Moon and the dark witch Muriel intends to use the missing children in a spell to protect witches from fires.

"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" is exactly the sort of movie that I would have parted with my hard earned cash to watch on a Saturday night if I was 20 years younger yet now watch in more of a state of bemusement. As such, and right of the bat, part of me says that "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" works as I am sure those of the right age who like cool characters and special effects will enjoy it but for older audiences it might leave them wanting something more satisfying.

So how can I put this into context? Well part of the appeal is the transformation of "Hansel & Gretel" into cool action figures that use fancy weapons and twist and turn like they were modern day comic book super heroes, almost like an extension of Van Helsing. They also have the attitude with Hansel being the confident hunk who deals with people with sarcasm whilst Gretel is sexier and more of the one who sets people up so that Hansel can be sarcastic to them. And then there are the special effects, the faces which turn ugly and the bodies which explode. It is all surface level entertainment for those seeking simplistic enjoyment.

The thing is that whilst there is nothing wrong with any of this it makes "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" shallow entertainment which if you are not wowed by some special effects and CGI you are going to be left wondering if there is anything else. Attempts at adding depth with a twist over Hansel & Gretel's parents does little to add depth and it leaves those needing more clock watching which thankfully isn't that bad as "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" comes in at just 88 minutes and doesn't drag things out.

What this all boils down to is that "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" works, in the context if you enjoy movies which trade on special effects and cool characters it works. But for me I just felt there could have been more, better jokes and more depth to make it work on more than just a basic, visual level.