Friday, October 18, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – "We learned a couple of things while we were trapped in that house."

Runtime: 88 minutes
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Rating: R
Director: Tommy Wirkola

"We learned a couple of things while we were trapped in that house. One, never walk in to a house made of candy. And two, if you're gonna kill a witch, set her ass on fire."

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters opens with two young children finding themselves alone in the woods after their father abandons them. After they find the home of a witch, the witch tries to fatten them up and prepare them for her next meal, but they trick and kill her. Where the fairy tale ends, this story picks up.

The two now devote themselves to slaying witches and stopping the spread of witchcraft across the country. They head to a new town, where they see the sheriff planning to execute a witch. The two immediately go through the motions of showing him that this woman isn't a witch, and after saving her life, they decide to stick around and kill a group of witches who recently kidnapped several children from around town. This leads to the two to partner with a young local boy, meet a troll, and discover that they have a connection to witchcraft they never knew of before.

Confession time: I actually saw this movie back in May at the drive-in, watched it, and rolled my eyes. When it came out on DVD, I gave it another try and realized that I really liked the movie. I even bought a copy when the video rental place near me clearanced it out for $5. The movie has the perfect combination of cheeziness, horror, and action to keep me entertained.

Jeremy Renner is the perfect Hansel, while Gemma Arterton is the perfect Gretel. The two actually look similar and do a good job of playing brother and sister. Famke Janssen does an equally good job as the beautiful yet sometimes scary witch Muriel. Horror fans will also get a kick out of seeing Peter Stormare as the sheriff who cares more about the money he makes killing "witches" than he does learning if those people are truly innocent.

The major misstep in the film is the character of Mina. While she does have a connection to the plot, it sometimes feels like she was shoehorned into the movie. After sharing a naked moment with Hansel, he learns that she's a good witch and that not all witches are bad. She goes from being a small background character to one of the major characters in the movie, and I sometimes wished they would focus a little more on the witches than on her.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters also does a smart job of adding to the story. These two weren't dropped in the woods because of the same reasons found in the story. These two found themselves stuck in the woods because their father realized it was the only way to save them after the townspeople learned that their mother was a good witch. It even adds some humor to the film in the form of Ben, a young boy who adores Hansel and Gretel from afar and wishes that he could do the same work they do.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters came out awhile ago, but if you haven't watched it yet, give it a try before its proposed sequel lands in theaters.

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