Hansel and Gretel: Witch hunters is an interesting twist on the classic fairy tale. It stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton and Famke Janssen. It caught my interest with its plot and a tone darker than most fantasy films have. In a time where making movies based on fantasy films seem to be all the rage, This one stood out with its creativity and I decided to give it a watch.
The story is that after Hansel and Gretel killed the witch they met as kids, they grow up to be witch hunters. They discover a witch who is cooking up something sinister and only they can stop her. As it turns out she is also the most powerful witch they've ever fought and might be too much for them to handle. During the film they discover things about their past and gain some allies along the way.
The plot was a nice departure from more recent fantasy films which seem to be straight forward by the book and very bland adaptations. The fact that they took a well known story and added a twist on it was what hooked me initially. It's a great premise for a movie in my opinion and fell that it worked well here.
The acting in this film was great, and there was never a point where I felt "this person isn't trying". Most of the characters felt like they had life and personality, even Hansel and Gretel who are very hardened by the life they live and what has happened to them. Renner has some great one liners as Hansel and Arterton gave a solid performance as Gretel, able to be rough when needed, but also shows compassion and emotion in other scenes. The only downside was I didn't feel Famke Janssen was right for the villain role, here she didn't really have any character, but was just a stereotypical witch.
The art direction for the movie was fantastic. The set designs were amazing, including the cabin made of candy made famous from the story. The outfits were good and the weapons had elements of steampunk mixed into them, giving them a "retro-futuristic" look and mixed with the other characters who were dressed in more period appropriate attire, really set them apart. It was a creative move which makes it harder to tell when or where the film takes place.
While the film isn't without its faults, it makes up for it with its strengths. At first glance I thought "wow this movie is short" with a running time of only 97 minutes, and the film just flies by and is over before you realize it. In retrospect this was a good thing as it packed more entertainment into the film and it didn't overstay its welcome to the point where it becomes a boring movie.
In the end I will have to say despite the mixed reactions I've heard people had about this film, I loved it. Its the kind of film where it knows what it wants to be and doesn't try to be what its not. This was a fun film to watch and I will say I loved every second of it. If you love dark fantasy films like Underworld and Van Helsing, I'd suggest giving Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters a watch.