Reviews: Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters

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Abysmal
I now know what it's like to feel my brain cells die one by one.

Imagine, if you will, a story composed entirely of individual, disconnected “cool” moments haphazardly duct taped to an utterly clichéd script written in crayon by a hyperactive twelve year old boy who has just discovered swearing, sex, and gore. Now imagine that this boy's dog found and ate this script, then shat out a movie on the lawn. The resulting film would be considered absolutely brilliant when compared with Hansel And Gretel.

This film is a messy, haphazard patchwork of moments that look impressive on their own but make absolutely no sense when placed in the context of a narrative, especially one as flimsy as this. Even within the actual action sequences, the film gives the impression that it’s simply picking stunts and setpieces off of a buffet table and slapping them together with little regard for continuity or pacing. This film does not offer action sequences; rather, it gives us a group of consecutive trailer shots.

The downtime is no better, offering cliché after cliché without a shred of characterization in sight for anyone. Everyone in this movie comes off as borderline sociopathic. The film essentially reveals the entire plot less than a third of the way through, then spends half an hour trying to pretend that there’s still some doubt left as to exactly how things will turn out. The film’s “humorous” elements largely consist of period-inappropriate swearing, as though the mere fact that a character in what’s theoretically 18th century Europe is speaking like a modern-day high school student will be funny enough to power a movie by itself. I cannot stress enough how badly this fails.

The actors are somehow able to wade through the stupidity with completely straight faces the whole time, and while that’s no easy feat, it actually becomes yet another problem with the film – the script seems to have been written with far more tongue-in-cheek performances in mind, and lighter performances likely would have made the movie at least a bit more tolerable. Famke Jannsen seems to be the only one in on the joke.

Hansel and Gretel is a train wreck. The plot is an unoriginal jumbled mess, humor falls flat, its action scenes are pointlessly chaotic and dull, and it tries far too hard to be edgy and gritty. Avoid at all costs.
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My Biggest And Most Inexplicable Gulty Pleasure
I love this film. If I could only come up with one reason *why* I like it so much, I would not call it a guilty pleasure, but, consciously, I have no idea why I like it.

The writing is, as expected, mediocre at best. BUT if it was a fun, action-packed adventure with stunning effects and visuals and awesome fight scenes that suck you in so thoroughly that you don't care about the sloppiness in the story itself, that would still be a logical reason to like it. But... I don't think that.

I don't think the fight scenes are anything special, the witches' costumes and make-up are great but also nothing particularly special, I don't like gore, none of the characters really stand out or do anything mind-blowingly awesome more than one or two times, it's not even all that funny, and Gretel gets knocked unconscious and captured so much that Mina seems more like the female lead (so it's not sexism or anything to get paranoid about, just bad, disappointing writing); she barely does anything in the climax besides save her troll-boyfriend Edward.

If I forget that Gretel's name is in the title, the climax *is* awesome. However, my favorite scene is the minor kidroduction when the kids find the house, are taken prisoner, and defeat the first witch. The romance between Hansel and Mina strikes me as very sweet. Ben's idolisation of the two heroes is cute, and the interaction between the siblings is great, as is how screwed up being seemingly abandoned by their parents has made both of them. I guess Arterton and Renner are what drew me in. I absolutely LOVE their acting here and their characterization. Apparently, their acting is worth watching even though the story has problems a middle-schooler would have been able to fix. If the gore and action aren't what make it fun for me, I guess it's the acting that does it; that's the only theory I have now, anyway.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters - You might love it, but don't expect to be able to explain why.
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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
From a critical perspective, this film is a disappointment. Jeremy Renner is wooden; Gemma Arterton hams it up. There are a number of things preventing this film from being "good".

But is it "great"?

Absolutely. It's the most fun I've ever had in the theatre. It's bloody, visceral, and deliciously over the top. The under-acting/over-acting dynamic that Renner and Arterton engage in remarkably works. The writing is better than expected, and the film has a number of moments that are genuinely funny. It all comes together to be a mess—but a wild, fantastic, sexy, bloody mess.
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