29 June 2013

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters - Film

Another take on a fairy tale.. anyone noticing a theme with these last posts? The story of Hansel and Gretel continues from the tale we all know so well; The two children are left in the woods and find a house made of sweets, inside they find a witch who fattens Hansel up and makes Gretel work like a slave for her. Before she eats Hansel, though, Gretal frees herself and together they push the witch into her own oven, burning her alive. In Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, they got the taste of witch blood, and soon it was their mission to destroy the witches. With their parents gone, they go from place to place, saving children and killing witches with a multitude of weapons.

The film chucks us headfirst into the story. A town has had an abnormally large amount of children go missing, and they are in the process of trying to burn a woman for witchcraft. This is when Hansel and Gretel show up, introducing themselves with a string of swears and lethal-looking weaponry. They have been hired by the mayor to find the witch/witches and bring the children back. But it isn't that simple. It turns out that the witch in charge has bigger and better plans than just to eat some children. Her plot is much closer to home for the siblings.

As a warning, the film has a lot of gore and blood. But if you've ever seen Saw, you have nothing to worry about, it's nowhere near that bad. It does not take itself seriously in the slightest. It is more of a darkly comic action movie; the two protagonists get beaten up so much, but still manage to kill witches. It is probably best not to take it seriously too, or you will be able to point out a whole load of flaws with the action sequences (like Hansel being able to run at superhuman speed) and the realisation that  the plot is not as complex as perhaps you would like it to be.

As characters go, Hansel and Gretel are good ones. They are amusing, especially Hansel, who seems to really hate talking to people other than his sister. They have a nice relationship as siblings and clearly care about each other. As for the acting, there was not too much that Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner could do to inject much more personality into their roles. Since it was mostly action, they had to make do with the limited scenes during the beginning to really get a feel for them as people. Jeremy Renner did quite well in this, although there was that headbutting scene which made Gretel go up in my estimation by some way.

As effects go, it is pretty impressive. The witches makeup is great and there are so many different designs for them; I would love to see more. The creative input to the film is incredible and the designs of weapons and costumes alike are beautifully detailed. The landscapes and sets are truly great; the witches house at the beginning is a personal favourite.

In general, the film is enjoyable. It is fairly short and so can fit in rather well to limited time periods.  I think the word to describe it is cool. It does the job of entertaining, but it would take a huge fan of darkly comic fairytale takes to love the film. It's worth watch, but probably borrow it or rent it out. It's not one of those films that you would watch again and again. A 5 out of 10.

Image from comingsoon.net