Saturday, 26 January 2013


Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters [Review]

Opinion: D+

By Jason Lin

A disappointing exercise of poorly written film material instills a bad taste that perseveres throughout the 90 minutes nightmare. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is one bloody mess made of the classic fairy tale, with blood splashes and decapitation intended as genre highlights. Limited space for performing excellence by its promising lead cast, it is truly a pity to see great actors like Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton take part in a futile production in January.

After getting a taste for blood as children, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have become the ultimate vigilantes, hell bent on retribution. Now, unbeknownst to them, Hansel and Gretel have become the hunted, and must face an evil far greater than witches...their past.

It isn't exactly a novel concept, as it also highly reminds one of 2005's The Brothers Grimm that also stars A-listers like Matt Damon, the late Heath Ledger, and the exotic European diva Monica Belluci. Scripting the siblings as highly revered Witch Hunters is a promising premise, but Director-Writer Tommy Wirkola has squandered it away with a wafer-thin screenplay filled with horror elements.

Possibly influences from his previous film Dead Snow about Nazi zombies, the witches feature hideous cracked-clay complexion. There is also plenty of squirmy moments where blood and gore greets the audience, with a likelihood of taking certain viewers aback as they may expect something totally different from a film about Hansel and Gretel.

Besides the unimaginative liners, the characters are also not detailed in depth to provide sufficient context and character development. Never has a film's key antagonist been so mildly involved as the wicked black witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) seems to only appear on the silver screen to wreck havoc. Even supporting character Mina, played by Finnish actress Pihla Viitala, has some dedicated personal moments and conversations to briefly suggest on her personality.

Arterton and Renner are not able to bring about synergies towards the film albeit having some amounts of chemistry between their performance. It is definitely not an issue of their respective competency, but rather the lack of screenplay opportunities. NEvertheless, Arterton is an impactful presence to watch as she's beginning to show early potential as a femme fatale in the future.

Technical aspects are kept high with its extensive visual effects and makeup. No comments on 3D as this viewing was in 2D. Weaponry flair is also noticed although it is unclear if it is befitting of the Middle Ages. Witchcraft and superstition flair is also wildly unreined as spells are dished out expecting the audience to understand them. It is also confusing how black sorcery is useless upon a white witch's offsprings and yet witness the same taking place conveniently during one of the later scenes.

Resources are definitely hard to come by and are surely critical towards enhancing production quality. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters has sadly not optimised them for the better and to this opinion's horror ends up sharing the same fate as the witches in the film - crashing and burning.

1 comment:

  1. I suspected this film would either be cheesy fun or really, really bad...


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