Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! And remember kids, if someone offers you candy--even if they live in a candy house--you set their ass on fire!

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – 2 out of 5

If you read the title to this movie there’s a good chance you are having one of either two reactions: The first possibility is that you rolled your eyes and sighed so loud in irritation and contempt that you simultaneously detached your retinas and asphyxiated yourself and are probably still passed out on the floor blind…or you’re like me and said, “Hmm, this movie might actually be something fun to watch or has the potential to be something awful…I’ll check it out.”

The fat person inside me is crying with delight and the fat person that I really
am is already entering a diabetic coma just looking at that house.

We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel and the major selling point of this film is the fact that after the two siblings are taking by the witch in the candy house and they subsequently burn her ass to ashes in the oven, they spend their lives hunting the lands of the world for other sisters of Satan and dish out death to them with Steampunk-like shotguns and a lot of geysers of blood. Their travels take them to a small town where a lot of children are being kidnapped and soon learn that an extremely powerful witch by the name of Muriel (Famke Janssen) is using the little ones in order to cast a spell that will make witches immune to fire.

How often do you think Hansel and Gretel used a "your ass is fired" line on
the witches?

Most critics panned this film but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t totally hate it. There were a few elements that I enjoyed and there were some fun and witty things going on in this movie. In fact, when I first heard it was written and directed by Tommy Wirkola—the man who wrote and directed Dead Snow—I immediately gave the movie the benefit of the doubt because I really enjoyed Dead Snow. However, after actually sitting down and watching it, there’s no point in denying there were more things I didn’t enjoy about it than things I did.

"How the fuck did we end up on Geonosis?"

First off, the movie was gorier than I anticipated—which is just stupid on my part because I literally knew the guy who made a dark comedy about Nazi zombies made the movie—and I think maybe they went too gory with the film and it ended up taking it away from the potential it had to be a slightly whimsical, new take on a familiar fairy tale. Of course, a part of me really did enjoy the gore too, though, because it was pretty cool seeing a troll named Edward smash some skulls in—he also made the name Edward cool again after a vampire-I-shall-not-name ruined it for everyone.

"Hey, it's me, Peter Stormare.  Just here to remind you that I'm fucking awesome."

Edward brings me to my next point and that was the fact a lot of practical effects were used for the film and CG was limited. I’m not saying I dislike the use of CG, I’m just saying it was kind of refreshing to see the troll have an animatronic face and have a presence that was literally on set and not something added in post. Dammit, I kinda sounded like a movie hipster with that point.

But seriously, look at that troll.  It's a cool looking troll.

Another element I enjoyed was the fact they made Hansel a diabetic after the whole sugar eating incident when he was a child. While it plays a minor part in the story, it did bring in something creative and amusing about the character that only lent credence to my believe that there was really some great potential hidden beneath the surface of this film that was, sadly, just never realized.

Back then, a shotgun was the only way to inject insulin.

Hawkeye doesn't look so lame now does he, Internet?
Even a lot of the performances are decent in the film as Renner, admittedly not at his best, is sort of fun as Hansel and the movie has Peter Stormare in it and who doesn’t love Peter Stormare? People who are jealous of how awesome he is, that’s who! However, some of the other performers don’t even get points for passable acting like Femke Janssen who hams the shit out of her role—but, according to the IMDb trivia page on this film, she only took the role to pay her mortgage, so it’s obvious she really didn’t give a shit throughout the filming schedule. Also, Gemma Arterton as Gretel wasn’t that attention grabbing. Gretel actually has a important role in the story (beyond the fact her name is in the title) but Arterton’s performance doesn’t reflect that importance as she is giving the bare minimum required of her—maybe she also had a mortgage payment due?

Apparently the X3 money ran out and Janssen needed the cash.

Beyond this, the movie is a collection of some uneventful action scenes and a story that feels half done and probably could have had more depth to it. But, even at this point, it’s still  watchable and mildly entertaining. The real killer of this movie for me was the witches themselves, though. Annoying is the best word I can use to describe them as they just looked more like a collection of Hot Topic employees on their way to a Juggalo gathering and took their acting lessons from a community theater drama coach thanks to the Groupon they found online and they never actually come off as any sort of real threat. Then, when all the witches gather for the big ceremony that will stop them from being dry kindling for a bonfire, it really just becomes a scene of accidental hilarity as all the witches are in ridiculous make-up prancing, posing and hissing around the set like this is their costumed audition for Twilight: The TV Series. It was like watching the baseball/pose-off scene only instead of sparkling vampires that do less drinking blood and more uncomfortable staring they are witches covered in grease paint and overacting the fuck out of their non-speaking roles.

Just give it some Faygo and maybe it will go away.

There was some potential for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters to be a fun, decent popcorn fantasy action film. Even with the elements it had going for it and that allowed me to get some enjoyment out of it, the movie just doesn’t come close to the fun value it could have had—I might blame this entirely on the attempted rape of Gretel scene that felt a little to dark to belong with the rest of the film…and that says something because I found the human beings attempting to rape Gretel more threatening than the evil witches who are suppose to have cosmic dark powers from the underworld. Overall, this could have been a marginally entertaining and fun movie but rather than put the effort into being that, it settled for something exponentially less…but it was still amusing that Hansel was a diabetic. And that Hansel is so hot right now.

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