Movie Review: ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’

Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min


Grade: D-

The last time we heard about Hansel and Gretel they were two little orphaned kids shacking up with a witch, stuffing their faces with chocolate bars and gum drops in a house made of candy. After realizing the witch’s plan to fatten them up and eat them, they escaped the flesh-eater and presumably lived happily ever after. Well, we didn’t quite catch the ending where a now diabetic Hansel and gutsy Gretel be- came self-appointed vigilantes who believe revenge is sweeter than candy.

With a résumé that includes “The Bourne Legacy,” “The Avengers,” and “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” it was a no-brainer that Jeremy Renner would be summoned to bring the action to the film as “bounty hunter” Gretel. But overtly choreographed moves, gallons of fake blood and a generous amount of decapitations make the action stale and commonplace.

Norwegian film maker Tommy Wirkoa is notable to many for his horror flicks star- ring witches so it is puzzling that a film with a cast full of witches would have a shortage of horror. While Famke Janssen – “X-Men’s” Jean Grey— oozes with sex appeal as Muriel the Candy Witch, the costumey look and forced 17th century accents of the witches mimic a Broadway musical.

With a lack of screams, we’d hope laughter saves the day— but we’d be hoping for too much. With the unbeatable team up of Will Ferrell and Adam Mckay, masterminds of the hilarious Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys, as lead writers for the film we should expect a generous amount of jaw-soaring laughter. But again our expectations fall short. Filled with borrowed one-liners like “It’s gonna be a closed casket funeral for you,” the film barely pulls off chuckles.

With all the right ingredients -horror, comedy, action- “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” should have been the ultimate fairy tale continuation. Instead, the exploitation of one ingredient and the lack of another, make this promising effort a stale batch.