“Home from yet another Saturday at the movies. Shall we?
First up, was the much delayed Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. This was originally slated for release almost a year ago, but trying to separate it from the other movies in the fairy tale trend it’s trying to capitalize on pushed it back. Or at least that’s the official excuse. They must have just realized that it was better off in the January dumping grounds than the March market that’s been growing over the past few years.
I’ve used the phrase “”I wanted to like it”” so many times over the past couple years, and I find myself using it once again. This film was all concept, no substance. The thing is, I really _really_ liked the concept. After defeating the witch in her candy and gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel grow up to be bad ass witch hunters (bad ass, of course, describing the hunters not the witches). This brings a very current spin to an old tale, with plenty of fun anachronisms along the way. That was all well and good. They wore these cool sorta steam punk outfits, had medieval versions of modern weapons, used enough fake blood to make Tarantino proud, and spoke in 21st century vernacular peppered with the occassional f bomb. Despite how that should have all spelled out awesome, I just couldn’t quite get into it.
The storyline didn’t have all that much effort put into it. Big bad witch is stealing kids for a big bad ritual. Whoop de doo. There was some mystery around our dynamic duo’s origins, but nothing I didn’t figure out relatively quickly. There was also a side plot with an accused witch that felt kinda shoe-horned in. I liked the concept of evil witches having a physical manefestation of their magic. However, I couldn’t help but think, if they knew that being magical meant that their flesh was gonna rot, why would they still do it? Isn’t vanity a part of being a witch? Or maybe I’m just thinking of evil queens.
I also felt like we had a bit of a James Franco and Anne Hathaway at the Oscars sorta situation with our duo. I adore Jeremy Renner, and I love that he’s become our go-to action guy, but it seemed like he was phoning it in. I know this film won’t score him Oscar nod number three, but couldn’t he at least look like he’s having fun? By comparison, Gemma Arterton seemed way more into it, to the point where it seemed like she may have been compensating for him.
Ultimately, I think what could have saved the film was a bit more fun and levity. The bits of humor that were mixed in worked really well. I think a bit more self awareness about the anachronisms would have gone a long way. The film tried to play it all a bit too seriously, which when you just look at the concept, doesn’t make that much sense.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – \m/ \m/ \n