WRITTEN BY: Tommy Wirkola
DIRECTED BY: Tommy Wirkola
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Peter Stormare
RATING: 2.5 stars
Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretel but we've never seen it quite like this. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is as ridiculous as it sounds and is actually quite fun if you put your mindset to that of a teenage boy. This film isn't going to win awards, it's not going to stand the test of time to become a cult classic, in fact, it will probably be forgotten in a few years, but if you're looking for mindless entertainment and some scary-looking witches, then this is an excellent choice.
After working together as children to kill a nasty witch, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and his sister Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are left orphaned and decide to become bounty hunters who track and kill witches. But when the Blood Moon approaches, the siblings learn about a new evil that could hold the key to their tragic past.
Writer and director Tommy Wirkola has obviously learned some valuable lessons from similar fairytale films and made sure his does not overstay its welcome – it is the perfect length of just under an hour and a half, and it's mostly full of suspense and one-liners. What makes it so much fun is just how bizarrely violent some of the killings are and how it is done in a comical way. Among the methods are shooting, stabbing, punching, stomping and burning.
The problem is that Renner and Arterton lack chemistry as brother and sister. Renner's relationship with Mina (Pihla Viitala) is much stronger, as is Arterton's chemistry with Edward the troll (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes). Famke Janssen is the stand-out performer, playing the terrifying witch Muriel. Peter Stormare also has a small but good role.
The ending is set up for a sequel. If that happened, I could only assume every teenage boy loved it.