The original story and the titular characters’ subsequent transition from abandoned children to adulthood is done through an animated montage through the opening credits which appears shockingly graphic and over the top… This theme continues into the rest of the film as H&G battle to rescue some lost children and avert a witch apocalypse.
MTV were one of the production companies involved in financing this film and it really shows. This is an MTV movie through and through. No real attention span is required as the plot is rather linear and predictable, just setting up the next graphic use of gore and violence and is targeted at a generation used to visual gratification over mental satisfaction. That doesn’t mean to say that those of us who are the wrong side of 30 can’t enjoy this film, just don’t expect to have anything to talk about afterwards.
I’ll touch on the acting briefly because by now you have probably realised that quality of performance wasn’t particularly in the forefront of director / writer Tommy Wirkola’s mind. Generally everyone was awful. Top marks for awfulness go to Jeremy Renner and Famke Janssen who excelled themselves (I hope they didn’t get paid stupid money for this).
Gemma Arterton is watchable as ever and newcomer Pihla Viitala is about the only person trying to perform and clearly shines amongst a sub-par cast. Jeremy Renner is supposedly ‘one to watch’ at the moment with lots more featured roles post receiving critical acclaim for Hurt Locker. In The Avengers, Bourne Legacy and MI4 he was decidedly average and this is just bad. I hope this is not going to be the standard of his future work. I think he was trying to be funny… He didn’t succeed.
I only recognised one of the other cast members and everyone is just on a bog standard ham and cheese-fest as befits the rest of this production so there is no need to name and shame further.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a bad piece of cinema… The effects are good, the steam-punk nature of the tech is interesting and the action is entertaining (but nothing truly original) but those are the only strong points of a film that really doesn’t warrant a trip to the cinema. It is not Bloodrayne bad but it is Sucker Punch bad. Catch it at home. From the bargain bin.