Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
From the man who made Dead Snow the rather bizarre but surprisingly enjoyable Norwegian horror about Nazi zombies comes another attempt at the darker edgier fairy-tale, this time with attentions turned to Hansel and Gretel.
After their famous exploits in the Gingerbread house brother and sister Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (the much undercapitalized Gemma Arterton) have grown into world renowned bounty hunters who specialize in witches; and with the infamous Red Moon approaching they are called in to put a stop to a spate of child disappearances at the hands of a dangerous coven of witches.
The story balances the new narrative with the original fairy-tale fairly well, though neither have enough weight to really be anything to shout about, whilst the medieval setting and updated script sit relatively well alongside one another without making either seem to hammy. Unfortunately this sort of acceptable mediocrity pretty much sums up the movie in its entirety: the script lacks enough really sharp wit to be truly funny, whilst the narrative is simply a little too slow and straightforward to carry off the dark and intriguing tone European director Tommy Wirkola was aiming for.
The performances are rather plain, Aterton is good – though her character lacks any real emotion – Renner is adequate and Famke Janssen makes for a well-disguised but under used and poorly motivated witch.
There’s a little too much violence that’s played out a little too softly, whilst the appealing but far from fantastic visuals distract from the dull and un-engaging plot. Overall a fairly relaxed movie for those who do not expect too much, Hansel and Gretel is ultimately just another failed attempt to modernize a famous childhood fairy-tale; just add it to the list…