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Review: Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters

Jan. 25, 2013by: JimmyO

PLOT: After being abandoned by their parents one dark night and fighting off a creepy old witch, Hansel and Gretel make killing evil hags their trade. When a rash of child abductions begin, the two are summoned to find a few witches and keep the young ones safe and snug in their beds and it takes a whole lot of blood to do it.

REVIEW: My expectations for the new action oriented fairy tale HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS werent very high. From the poor trailer to the film premiering the night before opening, chances were slim that it would be something spectacular. So the question is how bad is it? And the answer surprise, surprise, its not good but its not altogether garbage.

We first meet Hansel and Gretel as children being whisked away in the night by their father and left to their own devices in the dark forest. Clearly the parents are in some sort of danger, and youll figure that out pretty quickly. So after their father abandons them and tells the children to not move until he comes back, they move. The frightened children discover a house made of candy and end up killing a freaky old witch. Soon, this witch killing becomes their life. HANSEL & GRETEL for the most part feels more akin to a television series like Once Upon a Time, Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet it has a ton more CG gore and the continual use of the word f*ck just to remind the audience that it is an R-rated feature. However, each one of those TV shows is a lot more fun even without the F-word.

Not to say that this action flick is all bad, at least they were smart enough to hire the likes of Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner who play the witch hunting siblings. The two actors are more than capable and seem to be having a good time. It was especially fun to see the lovely Ms. Arterton in action as she slaughters all the bad witches intent on kidnapping children for what they call a Blood Moon Sacrifice. Apparently, if the witches all gather together and make this Sabbath a party, they become immortal or something like that. And thankfully, the title characters have a pretty impressive arsenal and are ready to save the world and they look good doing it. Props should also be given to the lovely Famke Janssen who plays a seriously nasty witch named Muriel. She is having a blast playing a baddie and like both the leads, she has the acting chops to do it well.

Writer and director Tommy Wirkola (he co-wrote this script with Dante Harper) has made a couple of entertaining flicks including 2009s Nazi zombie horror show DEAD SNOW. Thankfully he injects a lighthearted element to this its just a shame that the action and fight sequences become so repetitive. Find a witch, chase her down and give her one hell of a fight and repeat. Thus it continues occasionally introducing a new character here and there including a young wannabe hunter named Ben (Thomas Mann), a seductively sweet could be witch Mina (Phila Vitala) and one of the most gentlemanly yet powerful trolls youve ever seen courtesy of the talented Derek Mears. And just like in THE LAST STAND, Peter Stormare shows up to be the a-hole and he sure is good at it. I just wish I was having as much fun watching it as they seemed to be.

After its very short running time, this feels like a missed opportunity. In fact, it seems as though there may have been more to this story as it simply goes through the motions injecting very little in the way of surprises. The script feels choppy and strangely paced with characters conveniently showing up to help fight the good fight. While you would almost have to expect a movie like this to be a little predictable, it would have been nice to not telegraph what was to come in such an obvious and clichd manner. HANSEL & GRETEL is basically paint by numbers adventure with hefty amount of gore and even a little nudity thrown in for good measure. And even the 3D is really good as body parts and arrows shoot out into the audience, just as they should in a proper B-horror flick. Audiences will probably have fun as this lightweight and empty story plays out even if they will forget about it once the credits role. Yes there are a couple of sweet treats, but this is one candy coated flick that at best is worth a rental if you desire a few empty calories.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:17AM on 05/14/2014

It really was quite hilarious.

I so agree about the swearing! I found it hilarious. It just didn't sound true. Gemma's "You gotta be fucking kidding me" had me laughing.
I so agree about the swearing! I found it hilarious. It just didn't sound true. Gemma's "You gotta be fucking kidding me" had me laughing.
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5:15AM on 05/14/2014

Just OK.

As a Finn I just need to correct something. It's Pihla Viitala, not Phila Vitala. The movie was watchable but can't say it was good. Pihla's English could have used a bit more practice.
As a Finn I just need to correct something. It's Pihla Viitala, not Phila Vitala. The movie was watchable but can't say it was good. Pihla's English could have used a bit more practice.
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5:11AM on 01/26/2013

Bad. Just Bad.

I wanted to try and enjoy this flick, but I just couldn't. The script and story was terrible, as all it amounted to was a series of scenes with no flow whatsoever. It was definitely repetitive, with them going to the village, then for no real rhyme or reason, hunting a witch, fighting the witch, killing the with, return to village. Rinse, wash, repeat. I felt the actors phoned in their performances, and to be frank, I thought nearly everyone in it was limp and lifeless except for Famke, who was
I wanted to try and enjoy this flick, but I just couldn't. The script and story was terrible, as all it amounted to was a series of scenes with no flow whatsoever. It was definitely repetitive, with them going to the village, then for no real rhyme or reason, hunting a witch, fighting the witch, killing the with, return to village. Rinse, wash, repeat. I felt the actors phoned in their performances, and to be frank, I thought nearly everyone in it was limp and lifeless except for Famke, who was the only one who didn't look out of place. Oh, and I do believe this is one of the worst directed films I've seen in the theaters in a long time. Everything you need to know about the movie can be summed up in the finale SPOILER....

When the good witch dies in Hansel's hands (so hot right now, Hansel), he sorta is like... oh. Then he fights the bad witch... and then gets diabetes (seriously... he has to take a primitive insulin injection throughout the film)... so while he's rolling around, the sidekick wannabe witch hunter rolls on up, paying ZERO heed to the hot good witch by the door, and just watches. Bad witch dies. Everyone walks out of the house like badasses... and pay zero attention to the recently deceased good witch who saved Hansel's life a couple of times, and who he just boned in a magical pond just a few hours before (in what have may been an awkward cherry popping moment for good ol' Hansel)! Hell, she's not even in the frame!

So yeah... this is a poorly scripted, poorly acted, lifelessly directed with no sense of style or real skill, utter mess of a movie. I give it a 2.5/10 purely for Famke and Spectral Motions pretty rad and original take on witches, that were all practical fx mind you. Not all the makeup jobs were great, but they were top quality.

Bottom line, if you can't tell already... not even worth a redbox rental, but maybe worth some time killing five years down the road on Starz.
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9:38PM on 01/25/2013
Saw this last night at a free screening, and as I was expecting a crappy movie I can't say I was disappointed as much as I can say I was right. This is a B grade movie that should have been straight to DVD if not for the semi-entertaining 3D. I disagree that the quality actors look like they are enjoying themselves, instead it seemed they were just going through the motions. The whole time I was thinking high school age kids are going to eat this up, but with the R rating they have kind of
Saw this last night at a free screening, and as I was expecting a crappy movie I can't say I was disappointed as much as I can say I was right. This is a B grade movie that should have been straight to DVD if not for the semi-entertaining 3D. I disagree that the quality actors look like they are enjoying themselves, instead it seemed they were just going through the motions. The whole time I was thinking high school age kids are going to eat this up, but with the R rating they have kind of limited their core audience. No substance just mindless, poorly choreographed fight sequences and bad CGI blood explosions.3/10.
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+5
7:12PM on 01/25/2013
I think this is one of those films that is going depend wholly on the audience member's individual tastes (like any film). The reviewer for the site I work for gave it a 4.5 out of 5, and he thought it was going to be horrible.
I think this is one of those films that is going depend wholly on the audience member's individual tastes (like any film). The reviewer for the site I work for gave it a 4.5 out of 5, and he thought it was going to be horrible.
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3:14PM on 01/25/2013
I just saw this movie, and I have no complaints. I enjoyed it for what it was. It moved at a quick pace, the action was good. I certainly wasn't bored. It will definitely go on my list of dvd's to buy.
I just saw this movie, and I have no complaints. I enjoyed it for what it was. It moved at a quick pace, the action was good. I certainly wasn't bored. It will definitely go on my list of dvd's to buy.
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1:37PM on 01/25/2013

i saw this at work...

...it was 88 minutes that i didn't have to be working, and it was free. and i still feel ripped off. it's dreadful. the humor falls completely flat, there are literally no surprises, the visual effects are crummy, there's a bizarre, half-baked subplot involving what might be diabetes (wtf?)...it's generally a mess. considering will ferrell and adam mckay produced, i figure at some point a long time ago it was a far goofier movie (a la "your highness") that got warped into this terrible
...it was 88 minutes that i didn't have to be working, and it was free. and i still feel ripped off. it's dreadful. the humor falls completely flat, there are literally no surprises, the visual effects are crummy, there's a bizarre, half-baked subplot involving what might be diabetes (wtf?)...it's generally a mess. considering will ferrell and adam mckay produced, i figure at some point a long time ago it was a far goofier movie (a la "your highness") that got warped into this terrible action-horror-comedy amalgam by too many opinions behind the camera.
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12:56PM on 01/25/2013
The movie looked like an even worse version of Van Helsing to me, it doesn't surprise me that it sucks.
The movie looked like an even worse version of Van Helsing to me, it doesn't surprise me that it sucks.
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12:17PM on 01/25/2013

Too bad - I was hoping for better

The trailer made it seem like Van Helsing.
The trailer made it seem like Van Helsing.
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9:41AM on 01/25/2013
Can't be any worse than Witch Hunter Gretl.
Can't be any worse than Witch Hunter Gretl.
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-3
8:30AM on 01/25/2013
Caught it last night in IMAX 3D. It's weird - and not in a way where I giddily want to tell people to check it out.

Here's my review:
[link]
Caught it last night in IMAX 3D. It's weird - and not in a way where I giddily want to tell people to check it out.

Here's my review:
[link]
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6:13AM on 01/25/2013
Kind of expecting it to be around 5 or 6 anyway.
Kind of expecting it to be around 5 or 6 anyway.
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5:31AM on 01/25/2013

Horrible CGI ruins it

It is a good premise, but executed poorly. It should have stayed on the shelf.
It is a good premise, but executed poorly. It should have stayed on the shelf.
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5:22AM on 01/25/2013

garbage

The trailer looked cr*p and I tend to avoid anything with Gemma Arterton in, as most of her films are complete flops. It seems that Hollywood keep pushing her as the next big thing but hasnt exactly worked out for her yet.
The trailer looked cr*p and I tend to avoid anything with Gemma Arterton in, as most of her films are complete flops. It seems that Hollywood keep pushing her as the next big thing but hasnt exactly worked out for her yet.
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5:00AM on 01/25/2013

Despite the review...

I still think the movie looks great. I like everything that I have seen so far and the more I see the more I want to see this film. I liked Van Helsing, even though a lot of people didn't, which this film looks like which is great. I also am die hard fans of the two leads especially Jeremy Renner. He is one of my favorite actors of all time and can do no wrong in my book. And like you said in your review, the two of them do look perfect for their parts and look like they are having a great time
I still think the movie looks great. I like everything that I have seen so far and the more I see the more I want to see this film. I liked Van Helsing, even though a lot of people didn't, which this film looks like which is great. I also am die hard fans of the two leads especially Jeremy Renner. He is one of my favorite actors of all time and can do no wrong in my book. And like you said in your review, the two of them do look perfect for their parts and look like they are having a great time in the film.

Will be seeing this tomorrow for sure.
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6:22AM on 01/25/2013
"One of my favorite actors of all time". Some articles ago Ryan Reynolds, now Jeremy Renner, come on. They are ok actors but favorite actors of all time? Do you even watch movie made 10 years ago or beyond that?
"One of my favorite actors of all time". Some articles ago Ryan Reynolds, now Jeremy Renner, come on. They are ok actors but favorite actors of all time? Do you even watch movie made 10 years ago or beyond that?
10:51AM on 01/25/2013
They both make quality movies that I really enjoy on a personal level and the same thing with the characters they play. I think they are both fearless when it comes to any characters they play or any movie they star in.

And yes I do watch many movies made ten years ago or more. I appreciate great movies back then and I appreciate new great movies now. Some of my other favorite actors of all time include Robert Downey Jr, Edward Norton, Matt Damon, John Cusack, Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon
They both make quality movies that I really enjoy on a personal level and the same thing with the characters they play. I think they are both fearless when it comes to any characters they play or any movie they star in.

And yes I do watch many movies made ten years ago or more. I appreciate great movies back then and I appreciate new great movies now. Some of my other favorite actors of all time include Robert Downey Jr, Edward Norton, Matt Damon, John Cusack, Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bradley Cooper, and Sam Rockwell. So I have a love for the veteran actors and new up and coming actors.
5:17AM on 01/26/2013
Not to be a douche, man... but you do realize that when you listed your list of "veteran" actors, you didn't name one actor who appeared in a film before 1980 (unless you count Robert Downey as a child actor in a non-speaking role in one of his dad's flicks). Sure, they've been in a lot of movies, but I know for a fact, Ryan Reynolds has never even seen The Green Lantern as I work with his brother-in-law and he got him the film for Christmas as a joke knowing that he's never seen it before...
Not to be a douche, man... but you do realize that when you listed your list of "veteran" actors, you didn't name one actor who appeared in a film before 1980 (unless you count Robert Downey as a child actor in a non-speaking role in one of his dad's flicks). Sure, they've been in a lot of movies, but I know for a fact, Ryan Reynolds has never even seen The Green Lantern as I work with his brother-in-law and he got him the film for Christmas as a joke knowing that he's never seen it before... or wants to.

Hate to break it to ya, but JustJoe sorta has a point.
+0
4:46AM on 01/25/2013
This didn't look very good to begin with. The trailer reminded me too much of Van Helsing, and I didn't care for that movie. However, I am glad it's not complete garbage either. I'd hate to think that Arterton and Renner would waste their time in such an awful flick.
This didn't look very good to begin with. The trailer reminded me too much of Van Helsing, and I didn't care for that movie. However, I am glad it's not complete garbage either. I'd hate to think that Arterton and Renner would waste their time in such an awful flick.
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2:33AM on 01/25/2013

Kind of...

...expected this would be the review. Will wait for the DVD before watching.
...expected this would be the review. Will wait for the DVD before watching.
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