Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a 2013 action adventure film based on the classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm. Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare and Famke Janssen. And written and directed by Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow.Held fifteen years after the classic tale, Hansel and Gretel have grown into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches of any kind. When the Mayor of Augsburg, Germany recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches' gathering during the upcoming 'Blood Moon' night in two days time, the siblings fight to stop the witches discovering a strange conspiracy along the way.Watch the trailer here and the red band trailer here.
Action Girl: Gretel. Mina, when she uses the holy Gatling gun, effectively killing more witches in about thirty seconds than everyone else in the movie combined.
Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: When Hansel and Gretel find one another in their old house. Gretel has realized that their mother was a witch (and so is she), and can't bring herself to tell Hansel, while Hansel is busy exploring their old room. She tries and tries, but Muriel beats her to it.
Anachronism Stew: It's unclear exactly when the movie is supposed to be set, but even aside from Hansel and Gretel's unexplained steampunk armory, there's a ridiculous variance in tech levels, especially among the more "mundane" firearms.
Anti-Magic: Hansel and Gretel are immune to (directly applied) witchcraft. Being children of a Grand White Witch who had the foresight to lay protection on them has its perks.
Note the witches are generally pretty clever about bypassing it via physical or indirect attacks though, such as when Muriel telekinetically throws logs at Hansel.
The magic of White Witches allows them to bypass the defenses of Black Witches and kill them with ease.
Artistic License - Geography: The real town of Augsburg has never looked anything like the small village the movie takes place in. A prospering rich center of trade would be much closer to reality.
Ascended Fanboy: In-universe. Benjamin starts as a fan of Hansel and Gretel and collected all their newspaper articles, has a lot of witch data and his dream is to be a witch hunter like them. He gets his chance to help.
Badass Normal: Hansel and Gretel have no magical powers despite being the children of a white witch themselves but are very skilled at dispatching witches using conventional weapons and plenty of cunning.
Anti-Magic: However, they are immune to black magic, which makes them uniquely qualified to fight the the witches as the witches can't control or curse them. And Gretel does have magic. She just was totally unaware of it, and therefore never used it. She does pick up Muriel's wand at the end of the film, possibly hinting that she will begin practicing.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with. Hansel rightly points out that an evil witch cannot really hide their true, hideous nature as evidence that Mina isn't a witch. But Grand Black Witches can briefly hide themselves. Once she starts using magic however, she takes on her evil form. White witches, however, are both altruistic and beautiful.
Being Good Sucks: arguable with White Witches, given that they are not allowed to hurt humans even when they're being burned to death and while they can use their magic to fight Black Witches, they're much better with non-offensive spells.
Bond One-Liner: In the beginning, the witch complained that the fire wasn't hot enough. After she pushed the Gingerbread House witch into the oven, Gretel yelled, "Is it hot enough for you now, bitch!?"
Burn the Witch!: Several witches, including Hansel and Gretel's mother are burned at the stake. Muriel's ultimate plan is to permanently make all witches immune to fire.
Chain Pain: Gretel wraps a chain around her fist at one point. Hansel strangles Muriel with one.
Chekhov's Gun. Ben is handed a very fancy, fold up rifle (with incredibly complex ammo) and told to "wait here and shoot anything that moves". Later...
Curb-Stomp Battle: Any fight with Muriel up until the end results in everyone getting stomped. Also, the Sheriff and his cronies versus Edward when he rescues Gretel. Including actual stomping.
Mommy And Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You: It's pretty fair to say that leaving your children in the woods to save their lives (and with full intent of coming back for them once the danger has passed but getting killed before you can) is an understandable reason for abandoning them.
The Dreaded: The reason Muriel just didn't outright assault Hansel and Gretel's home and forcefully take Gretel then and there was that she was afraid of their mother, Adrianna, the grand white witch. She took advantage of the fact that Adrianna would not harm humans, spreading rumors of her being a witch to the villagers so they would get Adrianna out of the way and leave Gretel vulnerable.
Evil Gloating: Muriel. So, so much. Also the Sheriff when he and his men have captured Gretel.
Evil Makes You Monstrous: With the exception of Grand Witches, who can change their appearance at will, you can tell when a witch has been doing evil witchy things because it causes them to mutate into an grotesque demon thing.
Eye Scream: Hansel stabs a witch in the eye at one point.
Also, a very welcome view of Gretel's legs when she gets out of bed. Not to mention a very chesty shot when a bloody Gretel rolls over.
And just to make it fair, shirtless Hansel.
Fake Nationality: Gemma Arterton dons an American accent throughout (we know, we know...). Nationalities included in the film are Norwegian, German, Dutch, American, Polish...
The fairytale itself is German in origin, and no one wants a crowd of people attempting ze German. Whether Arterton's American accent is preferable to Renner's English accent, it's hard to say...
Fantastic Racism: Most people, especially Hansel, view all witches as evil crones (which a lot of them are). Good ones who go by the moniker of White Witches do exist, one of which he saves from being burned and tortured, the other of which was his own mother.
Game Face: Inverted. Grand Witches can change out of their monstrous face and look like a regular (and beautiful) woman. Crosses back to straight since Muriel spends most of the movie looking pretty and dropping the disguise to affect a straight Game Face.
Gatling Good: A White Witch blessed Gatling gun, to be precise.
Gender Equals Breed: Presumably the reason why Gretel and their mother were witches, but Hansel and their father were human.
Gorn - The film is quite over the top with its bloodshed, decapitations and exploding body parts.
Handicapped Badass: As a result of eating so much of the gingerbread witch's candy as a child, Hansel has improbably become diabetic and needs to inject himself with medicine every couple of hours or he will die.
Unless he's unconscious in a tree. Or bathing with a hot girl. Or riding around in the woods. Or generally any time between when he explains the injections and when it finally becomes plot relevant again.
Or it's kept off screen until it becomes plot relevant. After all, it's quickly shown that he has a timer and keep the medicine on him at all time.
Happy Fun Ball: The gingerbread house to Hansel and Gretel at first. The house actually does look pretty sinister and strange.
Harmful to Minors: Hansel and Gretel were exposed to the evil of the gingerbread witch and it caused them to become witch hunters. The children kidnapped by Muriel and the rest of the witches seem quite traumatized. Also the boy whom Muriel forces to shoot his own mother. He practically breaks down.
Healing Hands: An ability of Mina. Likely Adrianna had it too. And Gretel if she starts practicing the craft.
Hot Witch: Only Grand Black Witches are capable of temporarily assuming this. White witches, however, can look perfectly human. Mina is attractive and so was the siblings' mother Adrianna. Also Gretel is stunning.
I Have Many Names: Muriel says the she has many names, but doesn't say what any of them are.
Irony: The Sheriff runs around accusing multiple innocent women of being witches. Turns out he didn't realize it, but he was right every time. They were just benevolent White Witches instead of evil Black Witches.
It's All About Me: Sheriff Berringer has this kind of attitude. He sends several men to be horribly killed just to show up Hansel and Gretel.
Jerkass: Again the Sheriff and his cronies. To some degree the town people gawking and cheering when the Sheriff was employing water torture on poor Mina.
Knight Templar: The Sheriff and his cronies want to protect the town from witches and thieves, but end up causing as much damage as the witches themselves, and eventually beat Gretel severely, before Edward stomps in to save the day.
Lampshade Hanging: In this case, the nature of the film itself. When the opening scene after the titles involves having hand drawn pictures of the missing children pasted on milk bottles sold in the Ausburg market, you know the film is not going to be taking itself seriously.
Made of Iron: The amount of punishment Hansel and Gretel take throughout the film is incredible. Also the witches.
Possibly justified as the witches aren't really human and both Hansel and Gretal are the children of a Grand White Witch. Who knows, though Hansel can't use magic he probably got the durability of a witch. Everyone else takes a lot longer to recover from any kind of damage.
Meaningful Name: Mina means 'protection'. She blesses the weapons that the hero team use on the witch sabbath. Benjamin means 'son of the right hand'. Edward means 'guard'. Gretel is a German version of Margaret which is associated with pearls and the color white. Hansel is the odd one out, as his name is a German diminutive of John, although John or Hans is one of the standard "hero" names in fairy tales.
A Minor Kidroduction: The film naturally couldn't leave out the incident in their childhoods that prompted them to become witch hunters.
More Dakka: Besides the automatic crossbow and Gatling gun seen in the trailers and commercials, Gretel uses a pair of tri-barrelled Gatling pistols in the end credits.
Mundane Utility: Muriel twice uses her black magic wand just as a convenient way to light a fire.
Pride: According to Muriel, the reason why Adrianna chose not to run for it when the mob came for her.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: zig zagged as the story initially seems to be playing the trope straight, with Hansel and Gretel's behavior being justifiably better because of their more weathered judgement. However, even this early, the habits of the townspeople and the duo don't differ much. Hansel wanted them to burn Mina (and ALL witches for that matter) and it's implied that Gretel would've too had she had a little more proof. Once the revelation that the townspeople were RIGHT (in a sense) is thrown in the pair's faces, they are forced to reconsider their standards. It's unclear whether the townspeople are aware that they too may have faulty witch detection guidelines and are changing theirs as a result.
Happens several times in the movie, the first time at the 'burn the witch' scene with Sheriff Berring. Hansel slings his BFG over his shoulder and casually flags one of the Sheriff's mooks. Of course, that might not have been accidental.
The Reveal: Muriel reveals to Hansel and Gretel that their mother, Adrianna, was a benevolent white witch and that the reason why they are immune to black magic is due to being blessed by their mother with a spell of protection as children. Muriel needed the heart of a white witch as the final ingredient in the feast of the Blood Moon ritual, in order to make her and the rest of the black witches immune to fire. Adrianna was far too strong in the craft for them to overpower, so Muriel intended to have Gretel's heart instead. Muriel then spread rumours of Adrianna being a witch, causing the villagers to storm their home and burn her alive (not to mention hanging their father when he ran in to try and save her). However, their father was able lead them into the forest and leave them there to protect them from the villagers.
Razor Floss: Hansel makes a web of blessed wires that slice through several fast-flying witches.
Recursive Ammo: The round Ben fires at Muriel unravels in mid-air spraying tiny pellets making a great anti-aircraft (or should that be witchcraft?) weapon.
Reckless Sidekick: Averted quite strongly by the sidekick and the heroes. When fanboy Benjamin gushingly introduced himself, Gretel was actually fairly polite to him and somewhat appreciative of his hero-worship, and actually a bit impressed about all the research he did on witches and them. Hansel is more irritated, and both are a little creeped out. When Ben got his chance to get a sidekick role, he actually did what he was told - to hide and stand guard for a few hours, leading to a successful ambush.
Refuge in Audacity: The entire concept is Hansel and Gretel hunting and killing witches. No wonder it doesn't take itself seriously.
Rescue Romance: Between Mina and Hansel after she's saved from an accusation of witchcraft.
Too Dumb to Live: A group of hunters hired by the sheriff are at first reluctant to go to the woods at night in an attempt to save the children, but go anyway after they are offered more money. Big mistake.
Hansel's line in the trailer ("Some people will say that not all witches are evil, that their powers could be used for good. I say burn them all!") is a heavily edited version of his closing narration (paraphrased) "We know there are good witches. To the rest we say: burn them all!".
True Blue Femininity: Adrianna in flashbacks. A lovely and somewhat queenly blue dress is what she is wearing when the mob comes for her.
Use Your Head: Gretel headbutts the Sheriff when he won't get out of her face.
Villain Ball: The Sheriff approaches being an Anti-Villain through the first half of the movie... he's going about saving the children all wrong, with his biggest sin being not trusting Hansel and Gretel, but he clearly does want to save the town and the children. Then he goes completely off the rails after the witch attack, committing cold-blooded murder and having a long rant about breaking women like horses.
Witch Species: The daughter of a white witch is automatically a white witch herself, whether she uses magic or not. Additionally, it seems that power is inherited as well; Gretel doesn't practice witchcraft (as of yet) and didn't even know she was a witch until halfway through the film, but simply being the daughter of a Grand White Witch - the most powerful type of witch there is - is enough to qualify her as one, as well.
Would Hit a Girl: The sheriff and his cronies regarding Gretel, and Hansel regarding pretty much every witch in existence.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Once Hansel hangs Muriel and proceeds to beat her up, she changes to her human form and begs for mercy. Hansel doesn't buy it.
You Are What You Hate: Muriel reveals to Gretel that she's a Grand White Witch, which she inherited from her mother, who was also a witch herself.