I’m sure most of us have been exposed to the story of Hansel and Gretel at some point in our lives: the movie “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” builds on the original fairy tale by following the adventures of the brother and sister as adults. They have grown into, not surprisingly, witch hunters, bent on revenge for the wrongs done to them in that old house made of candy (yes, the candy house is in the movie). They have grown into the foremost experts on hunting down and killing witches. In the movie, Jeremy Renner plays Hansel; Gemma Arterton plays Gretel, and Famke Janssen plays the evil Grand Witch, Muriel. Don’t worry. There’s also a good witch, Mina, played by Pihla Viitala.
The plot is pretty basic. A witch epidemic is plaguing a certain town in the woods. A large number of children (twelve to be exact) have disappeared, supposedly because they were abducted by witches. Hansel and Gretel must track the children down and rescue them before the Blood Moon—a special moon that occurs when the moon is eclipsed turning it red; at such a time, the witches’ powers are at their highest, and they have a predilection to perform strange, barbaric rites and rituals, including—you guessed it—the slaughter of innocent children. It’s up to Hansel and Gretel with the aid of Mina, their new sidekick, Ben, and even a large, very powerful troll named Edward, to stop them.
Highs and lows? There really weren’t many highs. It was an okay action/fantasy movie with a few clever/cheesy one-liners here and there. I will give them credit for making the movie “R” instead of “PG-13.” Make the cut-off decisive so that no one foolishly thinks they should bring along young children to this “enchanting retelling of a classic.” Thank you. Not like “Red Riding Hood” from a few years back. As for lows, nothing really sticks out by itself, but the whole movie consisted largely of fist-fighting, gun-shooting, and spell-blasting—lots of violence. There was one gratuitous nude scene and some swearing as well. Hence, the R rating. The plot was okay. I walked away wishing they had focused more on the mystery surrounding the children—it’s not that they didn’t explain it, they did; I just felt it had more potential than what they delivered to us. It had the chance to be a good mystery movie too, but they went the way of action-flick. Which is okay, I guess.
Anyway, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.