Tuesday, 21 May 2013

'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' Film Review

I've been looking forward to this movie for a long time as it pairs two of my favourite stars Gemma Arterton (Tamara Drewe, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) and Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, Avengers Assemble) in a dark take on the Brother's Grimm tale. 

After escaping from the witch's lair of candy at a young age, siblings Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) become witch hunters, killing witches for a living. As the night of the blood moon approaches, a small village summons the pair to hunt witches who have kidnapped several of the villagers' children to be used in a sacrifice led by dark witch Muriel (Famke Janssen), granting witches fire immunity. Hansel and Gretel must save them before it is too late.

The pace was slick from the artistic opening sequence. At one hour and a half, the movie was very concise and the action was full on throughout. With dramatic moments interspersed between quieter ones, the movie works extremely well in balancing storytelling with the thrilling and at times gory destruction of witches.

Set in Germany, the vibe of the whole movie is very much in a realm of a fairy tale atmosphere, which made the film that much more beautiful, especially the misty forests.

Thematically and visually, the movie was much darker than other fairy tale takes such as Tim Burton's artistic 'Alice in Wonderland' or the floppy 'Red Riding Hood'. This worked well to establish a different cinematic style in a genre saturated with colour and CGI. The coldness of the atmosphere contrasted with the flash of blood was surprisingly refreshing (visusally, of course!).

As we reached the climax and the end, there were a few twists and turns which was nice, but it followed an overall straightforward direction which was finished off well in a dramatic and tense finale fight sequence. I thought the ending was somewhat too neatly concluded and slightly too cheery.

Gemma Arterton- Gretel
Jeremy Renner- Hansel
Famke Janssen- Muriel

Action man Jeremy Renner is no stranger to this type of role and demonstrate an ease at what he's doing, whilst Gemma Arterton who has always been strong at feisty strong femme fatale roles fit right into this witch hunting movie. 

The two share a great chemistry which works well in their sibling relationship and the dynamic is equal most of the time. Both have strengths and weaknesses and they compliment each other, so neither dominates in the action or the plot which is commendable as it might be easy to write Hansel as the lead character and Gretel as a sidekick, but here, they are both equally important and I praise the writers for this.

Despite negative reviews, the dark tone of the movie and the artistic visuals, matched with slick action made this a really thrilling movie. Yes, the plot is quite linear and the whole idea is kind of abstract, but being an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, it was done very well. This isn't a movie for kids and I love that about it. 

Both leads are strong in their roles and definitely carries the movie successfully. They also demonstrate a believable sibling relationship which is essential in this movie. Overall, 'Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters' is better than expected and will offer you some gory (but not disgusting) thrills throughout.

Due to box office success, a sequel is being discussed and will perhaps reunite Renner and Arterton in another witch hunting movie, only time will tell.

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