FILM REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

First there was Red Riding Hood (2011), and then came Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). Now in 2013 Hansel and Gretel get their own mature re-imagining.

In the final weekend of the first month in 2013, January is going out swinging with Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow). Starring Jeremy Renner (Bourne Legacy, The Avengers (not his best moment), Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia) and the lovely Famke Janssen (Taken series, X-Men series, Golden Eye (who didn’t love her scene with Bond in the steam room) as one mean son of a witch.  The film is also in 3D, not really my cup of tea.
Now for those who don’t know the fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel, here are the bullet points (don’t bite my head off if I don’t remember word for word, leave your comments below). Hansel and Gretel got lost in the forest and come across a house made of candy. The house was owned by a witch that wanted to eat the children. The children, Hansel and Gretel, out smarted the witch and pushed her into an oven that was meant for Hansel (H&G – 1, Witches – 0). Now that we're established with the basic back story, the film sort of picks up from that first kill, after they began training and hunting other witches into their adult lives.
The film tells the tale of Muriel (Janssen), who is kidnapping children from a local town. Due to the widely publicized events of Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton), they are hired by the mayor to solve a witch problem and find the missing children. The story seemed pretty straight forward. The pace is fast and scenes where chasing is involved gets a little disorienting. There aren’t that many characters to remember and the plot twist doesn’t leave you wondering if you missed something or really challenge you to pay attention.  The plot points were told at random moments, but the way these points came to light was interesting. Little bits of information were sprinkled in some back story that took place either in the fairy tale or their travels between film and fairy tale. The film has its little jump moments but, nothing that'll make you change your pants.
The team who did the makeup and props/special effects was on point. They’re the ones that tipped the balance of my rating. They put a lot of effort to create new and eerie witches, as well as inventive death scenes. The different and diverse witches all look creepy as hell in their own way. There were no two witches that looked the same (expect for that one Siamese witch, but you know what I mean). The tools of death were inventive and imaginative from their original real life counterpart but were still keeping it in the realm of possibility (like any one could really own a pair of those brass knuckles). Hansel’s shotgun/rifle concoction is a pretty cool weapon and is up there on my list, along with Constantine’s Crucifix Shotgun (Constantine).   
H&G: Witch Hunters, has dash of everything for everyone. For the guys, there is a little nudity (decent booty shot) and Gretel has been working out since the fat little German I remember. Ladies, Hansel has also been working out, so he has to take his shirt off all the time (also Fellas, Hansel is a badass). The blood is not in short supply, which is awesome (didn’t see in 3D, post if blood was awesome in 3D). The final pinch of witches brew, was that there was no shame in hitting woman, witch or otherwise. Even Gretel takes two smacks to the face.
For the sake of not spoiling the film for you, I will be as vague as possible. The best fight/action/death scene is when Edward comes as a protector. Talk about let the bodies it the hit floor, he leaves a very gruesome and beautiful bloody mess. There are other scenes that could have been better, but the fact that Edward takes on three or four guys and teaches them his brand of justice (and you will enjoy the justice he brings down).  Plus this was the moment where both special effects/prop team and makeup artist came together and showed the most awesome sequence of events that I’ve seen in along time.
As a whole, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a very entertaining film. The action and fight scenes are awesome. The actors are somewhat believable in the time that it takes place. The actresses are beautiful and smoking hot (we're looking at you Gretel). The story I didn’t much care for, and hated how they tied the villain of the film to Hansel and Gretel’s fairy tale past. The prop guys produced some of the most badass weaponry, while the makeup displayed some creepy and eerie forms of witches and the special effects made the deaths really gruesome and believable. I recommend checking it out, it has a little something for everyone (please no children, though).

Until the next film,

Johnny Deviant