The Reviews Are In! Is HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS Dumb Fun Or Just Dumb?
Some of the best and brightest film critics across the internet share their opinions of Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton's new fairy tale film, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Check them out!
Amanda Waltz of The Film Stage
"I was struck most, however, by the addition of Edward, a troll who swoops in to save Gretel during one particularly bloody scuffle. Actor Derek Mears – who stepped into the role of Jason Voorhees in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake — donned a giant creature suit to become the mythical being, and the quality of the character is impressive. His look, which was accomplished with practical and special effects, is a welcome throwback to the low-tech fantasy films of my youth, most notably The Neverending Story. As a result, he surpasses the creations in contemporaries like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, which is quite a feat for the fun-loving Wirkola and his crew.
Despite its shortcomings, Hansel and Gretel is a naughty bit of cinematic junk food that boasts a few outstanding moments. It definitely won’t keep children from wandering into the woods like its cautionary source material, but it should offer a plenty of laughs, both guilty and genuine." - thefilmstage.com
Jonathan Barkan of Bloody-Disgusting
"However, the movie offers a lot of positive qualities as well. The use of practical FX is fantastic, including a great deal of gore, some really nice witch makeup, and pretty awesome looking troll named Edward (Derek Mears). The set design is also well done although admittedly just over the top, giving everything a fairytale quality (which is rather appropriate). There is limited but necessary CGI when it comes to the set design, usually reserved for vistas and extreme wide shots.
The action sequences, of which there are many, are crisp, fun, and feel exciting and also allow for a good bit of physical comedy." - bloody-disgusting.com
Leah Rozen of The Wrap
"There are mash-ups -- and there’s just mashed. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is the latter, a squashed-together mess that tries to cram too many different types of movies into one and instead ends up as a pointless, steaming pile of cinematic detritus."
"The best thing one can say about the resulting film is that it’s 88 minutes long and that its stars, Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) and Gemma Arterton (“Tamara Drewe”), have done and will again do far better work." - thewrap.com
Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter
"Despite its few wry jokes, the script is awfully thin. Norwegian writer-director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) loves to film crushed and exploding heads, but the film is too fanciful to be truly revolting. Wirkola makes the most of the 3D technology; there haven’t been as many deadly weapons flying at the audience since the era of It Came From Outer Space.
Unfortunately, the director doesn’t bring much out of the actors. Renner and British actress Gemma Arterton are certainly game, but this foolish vehicle doesn’t give them a chance to show what they do best. With a running time of under 90 minutes, the film is smart enough not to wear out its welcome. But that’s the only sign of true intelligence in this juvenile caper." - hollywoodreporter.com
Alicia Malone of IGN
"Despite being set in Germany in the vague 1800s, the characters speak with a strange mix of accents. Of course, nothing in this world is realistic, but a decision between sounding American, English or German seems like it would be a small thing to fix. Thankfully, some of the humor is great - jokes are peppered with swearing, making for a few funny and unexpected moments. Though one recurring joke about Hansel’s diabetes feels like a very heavy-handed way of saying “don’t eat candy, kids!”
The action is also a lot gorier and brutal than you may expect, with loads of fake blood as heads get smooshed, and witches get smacked down. But between 2D and 3D, go with 2D, as the 3D is cheesy, consisting of arrows, blood etc flying towards your face, which distracts rather than enhances the experience." - ign.com
Katie Walsh of The Playlist
"The film is nauseating in 3D, and makes ample, almost comical use of the format, missing not a single opportunity for wood shards or arrows or buckshot to fly at the audience. The fight scenes are cut too quickly and with too much camera movement to even discern what is happening. It’s messy, blurry, and motion sickness-inducing. Written and directed by Tommy Wirkola, it’s unclear if Wirkola himself read the script before the shoot. Not only is not even a single character more than one-dimensional, but every line falls flatter than a witch dispatched with a Gatling gun. There are many problems with 'Hansel & Gretel,' and every one of them leads back to the dud of a script they are working with, where the anachronistic dialogue never found a place it couldn’t shoehorn in a “[frick]” or “shit” (gotta make that R-rating count!). Famke Janssen says, “Once upon a time, in a shitty little town,” (and we can’t help but steal the words right out of her mouth for this) and unfortunately, "...there was a really shitty movie."" - indiewire.com
Matt Singer of Screen Crush
"Instead, it’s just a lot of Renner and Arterton sleepwalking their way through an endless series of chase and fight scenes. The witches appear, they try to get away on their broomsticks, Hansel and Gretel shoot them with their enormous guns, they all fight each other, and eventually the good guys win and start the whole process over again. Peter Stormare fails to make much of an impression in limited screentime as the antagonistic sheriff, and poor Famke Janssen hisses and sneers her heart out under ten pounds of prosthetic witch makeup to absolutely no tangible effect whatsoever. Renner and Arterton seem relatively committed to the insanity all around them, which may be part of the problem — they’re so deadly serious about these vengeance-driven hunters that they sap all the playfulness right out of the piece.
Technically, Wirkola’s direction is passable, but it lacks any sort of panache or distinctiveness. Somehow he made a movie about two kids who kill a witch in a gingerbread house and grow up to become hired killers that feels like something you’ve seen a million times before." - screencrush.com
Andrew Barker of Movieline
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a good film — it's inconsistently acted, and somehow both underwritten and overplotted — but it has some good things going for it. For one, it's not outrageously dumber than its revisionist fairy-tale predecessors Van Helsing, Red Riding Hood or TV's Once Upon a Time, and it's far more goofily violent. It also boasts a nice title credit sequence and a brisk running time. But most importantly, the long-shelved pic is set to bow with little serious B.O. competition, ensuring suitable time for crumb gathering before it's consigned to obscurity."
"While visual effects and production design are solid, Hansel and Gretel's 3D work is surprisingly shoddy and distracting, for reasons both creative (the frequency of protrusive blades and flying debris) and technical (a fuzzy gray sheen that appears during the film's numerous night scenes). Germany's Studio Babelsberg lot provides some attractively picturesque village grime." - movieline.com
Michael Gingold of Fangoria
"The best thing in HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS isn’t Hansel or Gretel or the witches—though they have their moments—but a character with the deceptively genteel name of Edward. He doesn’t have a big part, but he makes a big impression.
Edward is a troll played by FRIDAY THE 13TH’s Derek Mears in a very impressive animatronic outfit by Spectral Motion, whose prosthetic work throughout bespeaks an admirable ambition to keep things old-fashioned on the FX side. HANSEL & GRETEL itself varies wildly in tone and approach, veering from the traditional to the modern, from serious menace to snarky comedy (the latter coming as no surprise once you note Will Ferrell and Adam McKay among the producing credits). And the movie announces its grab-bag approach early: Following a prologue that retells, with a horrific straight face, the Brothers Grimm fable of the preteen brother and sister who turn the tables on a cannibalistic witch and roast her alive in her own oven, and a nifty animated main-title sequence, we arrive “many years later” with a sight gag straight out of Mel Brooks." - fangoria.com
JimmyO of Joblo
"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." - joblo.com
Catching up with Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), fifteen years after the traumatic incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have grown into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches. Over the years, the siblings became expert hunters, famous for their proficiency at tracking and taking down their prey. Although still recovering from their ordeal, their work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them.
The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Famke Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches' gathering during the upcoming 'Blood Moon' night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, directed by Tommy Wirkola, the cast includes Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Derek Mears and Peter Stormare. The story is about Hansel and Gretel, grown up bounty hunters, that have dedicated their lives to exterminating witches. The film will hit theaters January 11th, 2013
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