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In my opinion this is the type of movie to see if: 1)You love and
support Jeremy Renner 2)You're in a mood to see cool but not overly
flashy effects 3)Love for dark fairy tales 4)Awesome make up and
costumes (the witches were very VERY well put together) 5)Just an all
around chill movie with gore violence and cool effects
Don't see it if: 1)you expect high quality acting 2)Over the top graphics and effects 3)Complex plot line 4)Extremely witty script
Because Jeremy Renner was in big time movies, people are over analyzing this one. It's suppose to be fun with a hint of dark, and entertaining. I was very entertained. I also loved how it was only 88 minutes versus the 2-3 hour movies that have been coming out. I appreciated the toughness of Gemma in the film and Famke as head witch was genius. Overall it served it's purpose.
I seriously enjoyed this film-- it had more gore than Mel Gibson could
shake a fist at, some very cute actors, and didn't waste time with
excessive back-story and details, and gave me many good laughs.
Its not an intellectually stimulating movie... duh. Its made to a hilariously entertaining popcorn flick with over-the-top action and unrealistic weapons that wouldn't have existed given the 'time period' this movie seems to be set in. So you folks out there giving it bad rap for not meeting your standards, calm down. Its clearly not trying to. :).
This movie's violence reminded me of the Expendables-- but this film never takes itself too seriously like the other film does... I found this much more fun to watch.
This is not a quality film and I don't think they even meant it to be
good or memorable. If you watched the trailers and *didn't* expect it
to be terrible, I'd be very, very surprised. I would never have paid to
see this. I only saw it because I got passes to a free advance
screening. And it was just as ridiculous as I expected - and I was
pretty entertained. We were laughing pretty hard the whole time.
The movie wasn't trying to have a good plot or a surprise twist. Clocking in at a little over an hour, it could have been season finale of a B-grade TV series of the same premise. I think movie was just trying to be funny, and I think their jokes worked. Like how Hansel has a "medical condition" (not spoiling it here). It doesn't work in a physiological sense - but who cares? It was really funny that they even made that connection!
There was an incredible amount of gore in this movie; but I suppose that itself was a joke, given the premise of the movie. Their other jokes relied on anachronisms (weapons, fanboys, crime investigations). But they were careful enough that the anachronisms were funny in the context of the world-building instead of being glaring anomalies.
There might be some people complaining about what an inadequate film this was with respect to plot, but that would be missing the point. Don't watch this expecting to take away anything - it's really only just for the lawls.
What you may or may not remember about the Brothers Grimm' story is
over and done with in the first ten minutes of writer-director Tommy
Wirkola's revisionist treatment of the classic tale, which basically
imagines what happens after the happily ever after. And so Wirkola
fast- forwards the story many years later, where he would like us to
believe that Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have
found their calling as witch hunters, travelling around from village to
village killing the evil ones who kidnap children and rescuing their
abductees in the process.
One particular such mission brings them to the town of Augsburg, where a beautiful blonde-haired woman named Mina (Pihla Viitala) is due to be drowned in front of an angry crowd by the shifty Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare). The Mayor (Rainer Bock) is not so fast to pronounce judgment on her for the spate of disappearances, and has hired Hansel and Gretel to get to the bottom of it. Seeing no visible signs of sorcery on her, Hansel and Gretel free her, inadvertently setting themselves on a collision course with the Sheriff.
But the bitter Sheriff and his band of hunters are the least of their problems indeed, their most pressing concern is the Grandmother Witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) and her hench-women, who have been keeping the children they have kidnapped locked up in wait for a much more sinister plot to make them even more powerful. Of course, as narrative dictates, Muriel's plan would have something to do with Hansel and Gretel's own past, as well as their extraordinary ability to be immune from the spells of witches.
Savvy viewers will be able to spot the connection once the clues are laid, so don't expect a revelatory surprise at the end. That doesn't mean however that this reimagination is predictable; instead, Wirkola keeps you riveted with a surprisingly effective blend of horror and hilarity often within the very same scene. Case in point? Just before she forces someone to turn a shotgun on himself and splatter his brains onto the wall, Muriel comments how the room they are in looks somehow drab and could do with some colour.
That same irreverence pervades the entire movie, which shouldn't come as a surprise if you paid attention to the opening credits and spotted Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as producers of the movie. Their brand of rude cheeky humour is very much alive in Wirkola's first English-language feature, who had demonstrated through his debut movie lampooning Quentin Tarantino Kill Buljo that he is perfectly in tune with their sensibilities. But Wirkola also brings his eye for gore seen in his sophomore film 'Dead Snow' to this movie, so be prepared for exploding flesh, crushed skulls and some particularly nasty decapitations that is good reason why this grown-up version of Hansel and Gretel does not carry a kid-friendly rating.
Amidst the gore and adult humour, Renner and Arterton unfortunately are left with paper-thin characters. While Renner pretty much looks dour throughout the movie, Arterton seems determined to have fun with her ass-kicking female heroine of a role, and her portrayal of Gretel resembles a Lara Croft for the medieval ages. The scene-stealer however is Janssen, the former Bond villain once again relishing the opportunity to play against type as the villain and putting in a deliciously over- the-top performance as Muriel. Other supporting actors don't make much of an impression including Thomas Mann, a firm Hansel and Gretel devotee who gets some laughs from his fanboy behaviour and eventually sees his wish come true to be a witch hunter like his heroes.
And we suspect, how much you will end up enjoying this new twist to the classic fairy tale will also depend on your expectations. Compared to the recent spate of fairytale-inspired Hollywood movies like 'Red Riding Hood' or 'Snow White and the Huntsman', it veers most far off from its source material to tell an entirely different story. The result of that novelty is something bloody all right, that can also prove to be bloody good fun if you're looking for an adult-oriented blend of action, adventure, fantasy, horror and comedy. It might not sound intuitive, but this fairy tale is best enjoyed without the kids.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wasn't expecting anything deep or insightful or thought provoking
when I went to see this. I was expecting a fantasy/horror movie with
dark humor where I could turn off my brain and just enjoy the ride and
that was pretty much what I got. I really enjoyed it. It was fun and
funny and it was fairly obvious that their tongues were firmly in their
cheeks when they made this. I enjoyed the 'Middle Ages meets Steampunk'
aspect and thought it was a nice touch that Hansel actually developed
the sugar sickness - a.k.a. diabetes - from being forced to eat all
that candy as a kid.
I enjoyed the brother/sister vibe between the two. You don't see a great many brother/sister action duos. At least, none come immediately to mind. It's always buddies/cops or soldiers and if there is a male/female pairing it's usually romantic. To have the protagonists be siblings was a refreshing twist. They both knew the other could take care of themselves but were still protective and concerned for each other.
And as for taking care of themselves, hunting witches was never shown as easy. They each got their asses handed to them on numerous occasions and in the scene where we see Hansel shirtless, his body is covered in scars, both old and new.
The only complaint I have is that it wasn't long enough. It's run time is just short of 90 minutes so they had ample room to expand a few scenes - or even add new ones - to flesh out the character development a little.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw the poster for "Hansel and
Gretel Witch Hunters" because it actually puts together my two favorite
current movie stars, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton! I liked Gothic
interpretations of fairy tales like "Snow White and the Huntsman". And
I also liked the "supernaturalization" of historical figures like
"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" a lot. This film seems to be a cross
of those two types, and so is one film I made sure I would watch this
once it opened.
Hansel and Gretel starts as we all know them from the fairy tale, children left by their parents in the woods. They were lured by a house made of candy, and was captured by the wicked witch who lived inside. We all know how the tale ends, when Hansel and Gretel push the witch into the oven. But that was just the beginning of the movie, for that was when this brother-sister team launch their career as mercenary witch hunters. When a mysterious series of missing children terrorizes a small town, its mayor hires Hansel and Gretel to look for the witches responsible and kill them.
That was one shallow story line I know, but I really enjoyed myself while watching this movie. Yes, the gore factor was really high, but everything appeared to be done with tongue strictly in cheek. The actors Renner and Arteron are unquestionable bad-ass! They fit the titular roles very well. You will meet a new, more interesting "Edward" here. The CG and production design were quite good and imaginative. It was fun to spot traditional witch lore in the scenes, even as they took liberties to invent their own lore.
As I mentioned, the film does not shy from bloody violence, as the envelope is pushed to graphically show various mechanisms of death, from crushing to exploding - close-up! There was a brief scene of a nude village beauty Mina (Pihla Viitala) as she seduces Hansel. There were even unexpected modern-day swear words during the witch battles. With all of these scenes, I do not really know how it got a PG-13 rating in this country! Anyway, despite and maybe because of all these surprises, I found the whole film a lot of grown-up fun, a very entertaining one and half hours.
After the movie, I found out that the director was Tommy Wirkola, the same guy who directed the Norwegian Nazi zombies in the snow movie "Dead Snow." So that is why his strange Tarantino-esque sense of humor is all over this film. I am a fan! I will be awaiting his next project. However, for all the fun I had watching this film though, I think they should be happy with what they have now. I think a H&G sequel would already be pushing their luck.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Take a ridiculous premise based loosely on a Grimm fairy tale so-so
special effects and deplorable acting and add non-existent direction,
as well as a confusing time-line and substandard 3D effects, and then
sprinkle in few unnecessary "F" bombs and what do you get? A profoundly
pathetic and pointless effort entitled "Hansel and Gretel: Witch
Hunters," a motion picture so bad in its design, development and
execution that a Roget's Thesaurus is needed just to accurately
describe how horrible and with as much variety as possible the
experience of watching it was.
Written with a crayon and directed with a circus mallet by Tony Wirkola ("Dead Snow"), this film tries to be a "Red Riding Hood" meets "Snow White and the Huntsman" meets "The Brothers Grimm" meets the Evil Dead trilogy, but succeeds only in overlapping itself in a most embarrassing bog of amateurish inanity despite a most merciful running time of just 88 minutes (and you thought "The Hobbit" seemed long-winded).
Everyone has obviously read (or has been read) the story of how the wicked stepmother forced the meek father to take young Hansel and Gretel into the woods where they discovered a life-size gingerbread house and the evil witch that lived there. The crone then tried to eat the boy, but the kids outwit her and she ends up baked to a crisp in her own oven.
This film begins with pretty much the same tale, only we're now told (through a series of what looks like medieval newspaper clippings) that the siblings have grown up and have become bounty hunters, taking on and totally destroying witch after cackling witch. Now, years later, they show up at a town where 11 children have been suddenly taken away.
A diabetic (yep, all that candy, he has the "sugar disease") Hansel, played by Jeremy Renner ("The Bourne Legacy," "The Avengers") and a wise-cracking Gretel (Gemma Arterton, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"), are hired by the milquetoast mayor (Rainer Bock), but detested by Ausberg's sheriff (Peter Stormare, "The Last Stand" and the only character with any real sense), and manage to save an accused sorceress, Mina (Pihla Viitala, a series of Finnish films and TV series no one has heard of), and do a little detective work - very little.
They soon discover that there is a bad moon rising actually a "blood moon" that can make witches inflammable (although since they are dispatched here in other various ways, it's not much of a defense). This event evidently takes place once every few years or so and causes the witches to gather together in what looks like a low-rent Comic-Con.
In the course of their investigations, Hans and sis are also easily able to destroy the ugly supernatural entities with little or no effort, thanks to superior weapons and clever patter that will not exist for at least another 700 years.
Shotguns, automatic pistols, hand grenades, Gattling guns and a crossbow that fires hundreds of arrows per minute - and in all directions - seemingly came from nowhere while characters use words like "hillbilly," "weird," "awesome" and the aforementioned "F" bombs.
The dialogue was obviously stolen from another Middle Age dud from a few years back, "Your Highness," although I NEVER thought I would miss the subtle and nuanced acting abilities of Danny McBride. Compared to this script ("The only good witch is a dead witch"), that movie seems like Shakespeare.
And, if Hansel and Gretel are not bad enough, they are "ably" assisted by Ben (Thomas Mann, who appears as if he failed an audition to be the fifth member of the "Big Bang Theory" gang), as well as a giant troll who looks like a cross between Andre the Giant and Luis Guzman. They seem invincible (despite the inclusion of Thomas Mann). However, the group soon runs into a "super" witch, Muriel (Famke Janssen, "Taken 2"), and the tables are suddenly turned.
Is there really a point in my continuing to describe the plot of this pointless endeavor? Do we care that Hansel's hatred of witches borders on the sociopathic and makes him look like an Old World version of a red-necked Southern bigot during the Civil Rights era? Do we care that Gretel discovers a terrible secret about her own mother as well as herself? Do we care that Hansel isn't a very good swimmer? Do we care about ANY of this ludicrous nonsense? The answer is a resounding and unequivocal "no," my friends.
Had any of the basic elements of filmcraft (acting, direction, story) been even slightly evident here, I could dismiss this movie's faults as just a terribly mediocre January release and been done with it. There are so many glaringly awful things about this motion picture, however, that my obligation as a critic and a human being - behooves me to warn the paying public to avoid this travesty at all costs.
Then, with an extra $3 to $5 being charged for viewing in 3D, the general public is being taken for a ride in this department, too, considering this technology adds nothing to the experience because mainly the movie is so dark, drab and depressing no one can tell what is going on, anyway.
This is especially proved by the concluding battle, which is a confusing, obscured mish-mosh of people and things being tossed about with little or no audience comprehension or even the slightest concern for anyone or anything by that point.
After a very successful film run, including a pair of Academy Award-nominated performances, it may have been time for Renner to suffer a slight career letdown - it's just a shame all of us had to witness it.
The siblings Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are
left alone in the woods by their father and captured by a dark witch in
a candy house. However they kill the witch and escape from the spot.
Years later, the orphans have become famous witch hunters.
When eleven children go missing in a small village, the Major summons Hansel and Gretel to rescue them, and they save the red haired Mina (Pihla Viitala) from the local sheriff that wants to burn her accusing Mina of witchcraft. Soon they discover that the Blood Moon will approach in three days and the powerful dark witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) is the responsible for the abduction of children. She intends to use the children together with a secret ingredient in a Sabbath to make the coven of witches protected against the fire. Meanwhile Hansel and Gretel disclose secrets about their parents.
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" is a great entertainment for ordinary viewers like me that like the genre of fantasy but based on the Metacritic Rating, it is not recommended to intellectuals. The story is very funny and the special effects and make-up are top notch. Gemma Arterton is one of the sexiest actresses and it is good to see her again. If the viewer likes this genre, he or she will certainly enjoy "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". I do not understand why people that like art movies spend their time watching this type of movie and writing bad reviews. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "João e Maria: Caçadores de Bruxas" ("John and Mary: Witch Hunters")
It's a little strange why this film wasn't given advanced press
previews in the US, and for territories like ours there was a review
embargo to comply with, signalling the lack of confidence the
filmmakers and distributors have on this film update of the Hansel and
Gretel storyline. Perhaps they're taking a leaf out of recent updates
to fairy tales such as the two Snow White movies, and Red Riding Hood,
that they want to be a bit deaf to criticisms, and to allow audiences
to judge instead. But Hansel and Gretel as witch hunters followed the
mold of Blade, and proved to be quite the mass market entertainer, with
no pretences in wanting to be more.
Written and directed by Norwegian Tommy Wirkola, this story had all the right ingredients for the kind of film it wanted to be, taking the familiar folk lore, and putting a creative, not necessarily new, spin on it. We see how the two kids get brought out to the woods, only this time there isn't a trail of crumbs to follow home. The iconic house of bread and sweets, and the wicked witch who wants to fatten Hansel as food later on are all included, as do their defeat of the witch by burning her alive in the stove. This forms the prologue, and the What If scenario that Hansel and Gretel were to build on their initial success, and form a career out of hunting, and destroying witches anywhere, bounty hunter style.
As you would already have seen in the trailer, this is but one of their adventures shown in helping a village deal with the menace of the witch Muriel (Famke Janssen), who together with her posse of like-minded witches have kidnapped children in preparation of a ritual to be performed under the blood moon. And there's no other better for the job than for Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), engaged by the mayor thanks to the widespread news of their successful witch hunting exploits played over the opening credits. The rest of the story is nothing but set action piece after set action piece, paced frantically without any pause longer than necessary, with a story that ties it all in to their origins, and going full circle.
clocking in at just under 90 minutes, the movie has two surprise acts and characters best kept under wraps, one to reverse the mantra that the witch hunters adopt to their methods, and the other a fine character introduced that shed clues to their origin story. Jeremy Renner continues in his sharing of the limelight in roles he had chosen of late, preferring to be the team player from the Impossible Mission Force to the Avengers, and continues as one half of the brother-sister team. Gemma Arterton is perhaps best known for her role as the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace, with her dramatic roles having never made it here. And having another Bond girl in Famke Janssen in yet another villainous role also helped, although every character in this film is pretty one dimensional.
But this is an action-adventure taking a well known fairy tale and giving it a license to thrill with blood and gore. While most of the effects are CG laden, it doesn't flinch from wanting to showcase burning at the stakes and various forms of dismemberment and beheadings that increases its body count in very gory terms. It's a story about witch hunting in a fantasy setting, and it exploits this setting perfectly. A definite recommend for any action junkie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mostly I was interested in this movie knowing Tommy Wirkola directed it
because I loved very much his Dead Snow, and it shows.
It's stylish, dark, suspenseful, moderately gory, fast-paced and mesmerizing!
I really can't recall enjoying another fairy tale this much.
Finally a breath of fresh air.
Great direction, great writing, great acting, great everything! The 3D rocked this time. I'll definitely go and see it again and will be looking forward to the Blu Ray.
And Gemma Arterton is simply a goddess.
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