HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
HTS Overall Score:83
I’m going to say this right off the bat. If you’re expecting something wildly insightful and an incredibly deep storyline than it might be time to turn away. With a title like “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” I’m sure you can guess that it’s not going to be completely serious, but then again you never know. In the same vein as “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, director Tommy Wirkola takes a modern twist on an ancient fairy tale with his tongue firmly implanted in cheek for the majority of the film. I wasn’t sure WHAT to expect going into the film, but it looks like Tommy has taken a cue from “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and blended in a bit of “The Brothers Grimm” for a unique, gory and just plain fun take on our old classic Grimm fairy tale.
Our film starts out with classic introduction, Hansel and Gretel are lead into the woods to be abandoned by their father and wander across a hut in the woods made entirely of candy, also unfortunately housing a witch intent on eating the two children. Putting up a struggle Hansel and Gretel end up baking the witch in her own oven and discover something interesting. It appears that strangely enough, witch magic doesn’t seem to affect them. Skip ahead a decade later and Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have grown up and become bounty hunters that specialize in taking out witches. Moving from town to town they eradicate any witch problems the townsfolk might have for a modest fee.
What seems like a routine job becomes something so much more when the siblings come across a town that is having its young children kidnapped. Something just seems off and Hansel and Gretel run into a giant conspiracy of witches that intend to bring power to one of their strongest and most evil witches in a power play that could tip the balance of power. Deciding to take this job personally the two bounty hunters decide to stick around, much to the chagrin of the town Sherriff (Peter Stormare). Along the way they also run into a shape shifting witch that seems to know just more than a little bit about Hansel’s and Gretel’s past and the reason they were left in that forest and abandoned.
As with “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” I had an absolute blast from beginning to end. The film doesn’t take itself seriously, but just revels in the very obvious cheese and gore. The CGI gore sometimes was a bit obvious, but still for you fans of unmitigated gory action this film delivers in spades. The action starts and doesn’t let up till the final fight scene. The film is NOT an intelligent action movie at all, but hinges on the assumption that the movie is one giant joke and that the audience is in on the joke as well. There is a major plot point that hints at the fact that Hansel, due to their meeting at the gingerbread house and being forced to eat tons of candy to get “fattened up”, now has the “sugar disease” and is forced to take injections at least once a day to stay alive. I was just DYING in the aisles once I realized they were playfully teasing us with him have diabetes.
Acting and pacing wise it was a bit hit or miss at times which is why I’ve rated it a bit lower than “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. Some things worked really well and others fell a bit short. Sometimes I wondered WHAT time period they were going for, I can understand giving them old fashioned Gatling guns, spear guns, and the like, but the fact that Hansel and Gretel looked like they came out of a Hot Topic store made me scratch my head at times. The love story just didn’t feel right as well. Too tacked in there for my tastes. The addition of Edward the Troll was pure awesome cheesiness and definitely was up there for a great sidekick. Jeremey Renner was great as Hansel, I’ve always like him in his action roles and he didn’t disappoint here. Gemma is usually chosen for her stunning looks rather than her acting chops and it’s obvious that’s why she was chose here. It’s not detrimental being that the movie isn’t trying to be high art, but it was obvious that she was the eye candy for the film. Peter Stormare is pure gold as bitter Sherriff. He’s always been a favorite supporting character of mine. Peter has a way of generating such charisma and an ability to just chew scenery to bits that he’s always an enjoyable watch. I actually can’t think of a film he’s been in that I’ve NOT enjoyed his character, even if the film isn’t always the best.
Again, this is NOT a movie to take seriously. I found that this is the definition of a guilty pleasure. A movie that SHOULDN’T by all measures and statistics be a good movie, but ends up being wildly enjoyable nonetheless. Go in with the realization that this is more “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and less “Citizen Kane” and you’ll have a blast. Fans of the afore mentioned take on our president should know just what to expect and take it fully in stride. Those who disliked the film may want to take a pass since it’s more of the same.
Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11783[/img]Paramount has decided to give us a very well done 2.40:1 AVC encode for “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. The film is very dark for a majority of the time and even the daylight scenes have a dark tinge to them. Don’t be let down, the blacks are extremely well done, and that is paramount (excuse the pun) in a movie that relies on its dark levels to see things. Blacks are inky and only show a few scenes where the levels show some mild black crush, obscuring fine detail. The film has been given a HEAVY orange color grading with some of the famous teal color grading for the outdoor and daylight scenes. As this is most definitely an artistic decision I can’t blame the transfer for it at all, even when it tends to be just a bit TOO orange at times. Colors are rich and vibrant, blood rains from the sky in rich, deep reds, and the forest is rife with blues, blacks and lush greens. Contrast is excellent and facial tones are accurate (despite the orange color grading). Fine detail is fantastic for the most part. Some scenes show a bit of a soft feel while others are demo quality. As such I would say that the softer scenes warrant a 4.0 rating, but the other scenes are so pristine that I could give them nothing short of perfection. As a result they average out to a solid 4.5. A beautiful picture, as one would expect for a modern, new release.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11781[/img]Just as fantastic as the video is the stunning 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track that we are privy to. While most tracks in modern Blu-ray’s are DTS-HD MA it seems that Paramount went off the norm and gave our receivers a change of pace. As with all TrueHD tracks I notice that I have to adjust the sub a decibel or so up to give it a more natural “whomp” to the track, and with that adjustment “Hansel and Gretel” doesn’t disappoint. Smooth, rich natural bass tones saturate the entire film from beginning to end. Instead of falling prey to so many other action tracks the bass is tight and accurate instead of being bloated and one note. The movie has a subtle low end rumble that doesn’t let up from the beginning of the movie to the end, all of which changes in a sonic bombardment once the action scenes start up. Dialogue is crisp and clean, locked in the center and we have some fantastic dynamic range. Little noises in the forest are detailed from the smallest twig snapping all the way to the click of a rifle bolt sliding into place. The air is alive with all sorts of action and the surrounds are definitely put through their paces. The cracking of branches, the crunch of footsteps to the cackling of a demented witch, all of this surrounds the listener from all sides and brings you right into the heart of the action.
• Reinventing Hansel & Gretel
• Edward the Troll
• The Witching Hour
Cheesy, goofy and gory, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” isn’t going to win best picture any time soon, but still seems to have done well enough to garner a sequel. Critically the movie got SLAUGHTERED, but if you look at the individual ratings on places like Rottentomatoes.com or Metacritic.com you’ll see a wild difference between the low critic ratings and the actual fan ratings. Mix that in with some fantastic video and audio scores I see no reason to at least give it a try for doubters and a definite pick up for those who enjoyed “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. It isn't a good movie but critical standards, but it's a wildly good time by adhering to one simple principle. Don't try to be something you're not. My only really big complaint is the disturbing lack of extras that is becoming more and more prevalent in new releases across all the studios. Hopefully it’s just a slump and not an abandonment by the studios of special features. One note for those of you who don't know. The film is advertised as "one movie, 2 cuts" in many sites and the like, but the main 2D disc ONLY has the unrated cut. The theatrical cut is available on the DVD portion of the combo pack (but no theatrical on the DVD) and the 3D disc (for those who get the 3D combo pack) is ONLY the theatrical cut. So to pare it down. 3D disc = Theatrical cut. 2D disc = Unrated cut. DVD = theatrical cut.
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Written by: Tommy Wirkola
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby True-HD 5.1, Spanish, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 98 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Buy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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