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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tommy Wirkola

Starring:
Jeremy Renner/Hansel
Gemma Arterton/Gretel
Famke Janssen/Muriel
Pihla Viitala/Mina
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Ever wonder what happened to Hansel and Gretel after they roasted that witch in her oven in the famous Brothers Grimm Fairytale? Well, they grew up to look like Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton , loaded up on makeshift guns and started hunting Witches for a living. You bet!
THE LOWDOWN
At a certain point in the long process of HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS fighting its way to the big screen (it was initially set to come out on December 21st, 2011, then got bumped to March 2nd, 2012 to finally be unleashed now in 2013), the Studio did a couple of Test Screenings, with the a snipped down PG-13 version and this R Rated version. The PG-13 version scored low while the R-Rated Cut scored higher; so they didn’t have faith in their usual "castrate a movie to get the kiddies in and make more dough" scheme and went with the R-rated version. Now that I saw the damn thing – I could totally see why. Without the gore, this one would be flatter than Kirsten Stewart stuck under a bus that King Kong is sitting on.

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS was a pretty cool concept and it could have been a fantastic film. I mean Hansel and Gretel growing up to be ass-kicking, gun-slinging witch killers? Sold! And now and again the flick managed to tap into that potential. I dug the slick weapons: guns, shotguns, a semi-automatic crossbow, a stun gun and even a Gatling gun! Modern gear but created through old times craftsmanship. Fun times! Then we had the fights scenes which were enthralling when they arose. The excessive gore livened shit up too and I truly couldn’t see this movie being worth much without it. This is not one to watch for the story. You clock it to gawk at fisticuffs, chases; Arteton’s round ass in leather and witches getting owned! And the flick gave me that. Finally, director Tommy Wirkola’s visual style was kinetic enough (although I wish he had more wides during the fights, enough with the zoom-in/close shots) and the whole had a witty sense of humor (They said f*ck in those days? Ha Ha!), tongue in cheek if you will (wait till you find out why Hansel has that syringe – clever) and that helped make the whole thing go down smooth.

On the acting front Jeremy Renner did all right as the dead pan Hansel. I love Renner as an actor and a screen presence, I just wished the narrative here gave him more to play with. And he definitely needed more scenes of him being a bad ass. On her end Gemma Arterton had a blast; she got to display more levels and yes looked yum. The camera loves that girl! But the show stealers were Derek Mears (yes Mr. Voorhees himself, doing the mo-cap) and Famke Janssen. Mears gave an affable show as a troll (all practical effects they say... looked CGI enhanced to me) with a huge f*cking block of a head (Mears did the physical part, Robin Atkin Downes did the voice) while Famke completely made the most of every scene she was in. And she still looked as gorgeous as ever to boot! Often enough when the movie would lose some of its steam, she would pop in and bring it back to life. Add to that eye popping production designs (loved the candy house), a rousing score by Atli Orvarsson and 3D that couldn’t get enough of throwing junk in my face (I kept flinching like a bitch) and you get an amusing, easy and harmless 88 minutes of vacuous entertainment. But with an R rating under your belt, why so harmless?

Yup, I didn’t think the film went far enough with what it had. Hansel and Gretel were tough mofos, but could’ve been even more (especially Hansel who got his ass whooped too much). The gore was crazy yes, but the CGI mucho watered it down hence it lost some its impact. Same went for its horror elements. The Witches were more goofy than scary and some of them would act too child-like, which put me off. The movie needed more edge that's for sure! And as for the story; although the first act and the last act delivered, it became somewhat aimless during its middle section. It was everywhere but nowhere (like my life), while trying to weave an anti-mystery that anybody that’s seen 3 movies will figure fairly quickly. It felt like the narrative was killing time till its finale instead of actually exploring/building on what it had set up. Even the romantic subplot was half baked! Not sure why they bothered. There are easier ways to get a chick to drop her top on camera. So all in all, I was fairly entertained and would check out a sequel (which was slyly set up), but I know that in 2 days I will have forgotten all about this one. To Witch or not to Witch? Your call! I just work here.
GORE
The film was excessive gore wise, but most of it was CGI and came off as cartoonish. Limbs ripped off, heads squashed, cut off and blown up, some old school stabbings and grisly gun shot wounds. Fun, extreme, but soft. Ya know what I mean?
T & A
Pihla Viital graces us with a butt shot and a tit shot. Gemma Arterton kept her clothes on... but see her topless here NSFW! I'm THAT guy!
BOTTOM LINE
HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS looked sleek, sported some gnarly action, a sly sense of humor, groovy weapons, totally out there CGI gore and Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton doing the ass whooping doo. Too bad that the story didn't build/explore anything during its middle section, Renner wasn't given enough badass moments, the overt CGI watered down the oomph of the kills and that the Witches were more silly than frightening. Like I said earlier on, if there's a sequel, I am there, this is an idea with potential, I just don't think they made the most of it on this first try. Maybe it's just me, but when you're doing an R-rated action, horror, comedy... go all the way man! Don't hold back or weaken things with dumb-dumb witches and CG overload! Embrace the R! Go for the throat and slit it! So yeah, I'd wait for the Blu-Ray if I were you, would make for a good beers and Doritos night with the boys, the girls, your better half, or your pet (s). Did I cover everybody? Off to go watch Army of Darkness.
BULL'S EYE
Peter Stormare played another a-hole here.

Famke Janssen stated that she took her witch role because she had to pay off her mortgage.

Noomi Rapace was close to getting the Gretel role.

Tommy Wirkola also wrote and directed DEAD SNOW.
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12:12AM on 01/28/2013

2/4 Indeed!

This film definitely could have been way better! The 'spook' factor should've been taken advantage of with the woods. Those forest scenes could've used a lot more atmosphere and character. It tried too hard to be tongue n' cheek and ultimately came across as cheesy. Great on action, but severely lacking in the story department.
This film definitely could have been way better! The 'spook' factor should've been taken advantage of with the woods. Those forest scenes could've used a lot more atmosphere and character. It tried too hard to be tongue n' cheek and ultimately came across as cheesy. Great on action, but severely lacking in the story department.
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