Hansel & Gretel - Witch Hunters

  • Year:2013
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Tommy Wirkola
  • Cast:Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Jeremy Renner, Peter Stormare
  • Release Date:February 07, 2013
  • Distributor:Paramount
  • Running time:88 minutes
  • Film Worth:$16.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

An audaciously conceived and executed spin on a classic fable that’s big on blood-soaked entertainment and low on pretension.

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With Oscar season fast approaching, it's time for the pseudo-intellectuals to step back and let films for the everyman once again take centre stage. Among the first out of the blocks in 2013 is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, following the dark-spin-on-fable footsteps of Red Riding Hood and Snow White and the Huntsman.

On paper, the film looks like self-serving garbage, platitudinous in tone and one that may struggle to hold even the attention of its assumedly teen target audience. What it actually is is a veritable goldmine of rip-roaring popcorn entertainment, so outrageous in execution yet so disciplined in pacing that it becomes increasingly easier to immerse oneself with each passing second.

The film opens with a minimalist retelling of the classic fairytale, as a young Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) outsmart their first witch, burning her alive and escaping her candied fortress with limbs and brain intact. Fast forward two decades and the pair have become national celebrities, selling their bounty hunting services to concerned civilians.

Packed with creative and beautifully choreographed action and with gleaming profanity scattered in for good measure, Hansel and Gretel is a welcome stray from the labours of 'historically accurate' storytelling, as the sheer audacity of the project permits – if not, encourages – the audience to quickly ignore the siblings' modern American accents and mounds of firepower at a time where light bulbs remain closer to witchery than reality.

Excessive amounts of blood and gore punctuate every action sequence, giving the film Tarantino-esque levels of violence, while it takes itself about as seriously as any Tarantino film in the process. The script is banal at best, but it refuses the temptation to drown its audience in cringe-worthy one-liners. Instead, it accommodates the plot neatly; one that is surprisingly swift and well structured, with its fair share of novel twists to boot.

Nitpicking a little further reveals disruptive gaps in editing, but the tangibles definitely play second fiddle to the overriding emphasis on visceral, fleeting fun. Hansel and Gretel is not a 'film'. It's a 'movie', in all its unabashed, excitable glory.

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