Director: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton
Is nothing sacred in the land of movie making? Are new script ideas so hard to come by that children’s fairytales have to be updated with blood curdling and sadistically horrifying violent storylines resulting in movies which have nothing much to do with the original story? Classics will continue to be tarnished by film makers for as long as they can attract moviegoers and judging by the box office success of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, this form of literary degradation will continue to occur.
In this “continuation”, Hansel and Gretel are adult vigilantes, or witch hunters to be precise. Children vanish in a village being taken by witches and Hansel and Gretel are paid to retrieve them, becoming the hunted in the process. The opening sequence is true to the story where Hansel and Gretel venture into a house made of candy after being dumped in the forest by their father. They kill the witch after escaping from her lair, but from that point onwards the nauseating violence escalates, with plenty of “candy coated carnage”.
As laughable as this treatment was, surprisingly I enjoyed it. Granted the story was nonsense but visually the movie was outstanding. With wonderful 3D effects and plenty of realistic “witch slaying action” there was never a dull moment and at 88 minutes it was well paced. The two leads were well cast and actress Famke Janssen, who played the wife in Taken 1 & 2 had the standout role of an evil witch. Ultimately, this was a silly movie with a dumb title but nevertheless it was fun to watch. If you found the ridiculous Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer more enjoyable than Spielberg’s current historical drama Abraham Lincoln, then Hansel and Gretel is sure to entertain you. JAKE