January 25, 2013 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Studio: Paramount Pictures Rating: R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language.
We've seen recent updates on classic fairy tales before, such as "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Red Riding Hood."
But the latest, "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters", probably gives us the most unique and original take.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the brother and sister. As children, they are abandoned in the woods by their father. They eventually discover a candy house. But inside lives an evil witch. She wants to cook and eat them, but they turn the tables and stuff her into the oven instead.
Fast forward many years later and now Hansel and Gretel are all grown up. They travel across Europe wiping out the evil users of magic.
Their latest journey takes them to a small town where several children have been kidnapped. As they investigate they find a connection to their own past.
Although Hansel and Gretel have been very effective in their war on witches in this adventure they may have met their match.
Famkee Janssen co-stars as Muriel. She's a witch more powerful than the siblings have ever encountered. This time they may not prevail.
"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" is an over-the-top action movie filled with contradictions. And that's exactly the way writer/director Tommy Wirkola wanted it to be.
His characters may live in 18th century Germany but they talk and act like they're from today. And they're armed to the teeth with weapons that I'm pretty sure didn't exist back then. Wirkola has inserted a very powerful steampunk vibe into his story with modern touches that are out of place with the timeline. But, I went with it and it didn't take me out of the story.
Renner and Arterton do capable jobs as the stars but I do wish their witch hunters were just a bit less serious and had a little more fun. This is a movie that cries out for tongue-in-cheek moments and there aren't enough of them. Thankfully, Janssen chews the scenery very nicely each and every time she's on camera.
There is plenty of adult language and more than a few bloody deaths, both of witches and of townspeople. There is no arguing this is a bit mindless entertainment, but at a lean hour and a half running time at least it kept my interest.
On my rating scale, "Hansel &Gretel: Witch Hunters" earns a DOUBLE.
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