Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, 2013

Hansel and GretelJanuary 25, 2013
Dir. Tommy Wirkola
Prod. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Beau Flynn
Genre: Action Horror Neo-Noir
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, Derek Mears, Pihla Viitala, Robert Atkin Downes (Voice)

When I first heard of this movie it sounded really interesting. The preview kind of turned me off because of how gory it looked, but I figured since Hawkeye was in it, it would probably be a good film.

It is a very gory film, but surprisingly I wasn’t as grossed out as I thought I would be. I blame The Walking Dead for desensitizing me to blood and guts.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes the classic childhood fairytale and turns it on it’s head. Or rather, cuts off it’s head and burns it which is something you’ll see happen a lot in this movie.

The story starts off the same as it does in the original. After being abandoned in the forest by their father, Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) find a house made of candy and the witch tricks them into coming inside before locking them up with the intent of eating them. However, that’s where the similarities stop.

Hansel and Gretel manage to escape their cage and kill the witch, thus taking on their official new roles as Witch Hunters. They spend their lives traveling all over killing witches and rescuing the children they kidnap.

This is how they end up in Augsburg. An incredibly powerful witch named Muriel (Janssen) is kidnapped children to use in a ritual that will help them become immune to fire, their one great weakness.

With the help of Ben (Mann) and Edward the Troll (Mears), Hansel and Gretel manage to stop the witches and discover something surprising about their own family along the way.

I really love this film. I’m a big fan of the grittier versions of fairytales and this is definitely one of those versions. The acting was brilliant, Renner and Arterton did an amazing job and Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters you will absolutely love.

It’s gross and gritty, but also manages to be incredibly funny and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute.

Now, of course, we can’t have a Hansel and Gretel film with a Hansel and a Gretel. Jeremy Renner as Hansel was so perfect in this role. It’s so different from other stuff I’ve seen him in, but he still has the same sarcasm I’ve come to enjoy in his previous roles.

I hadn’t seen too much of Arterton’s work before this. I knew who she was, but I hadn’t watched too many of the things she had been in. However, anything she’s in now I look forward to as she was absolutely brilliant in this. There are some actors I find who are very expressive and she’s definitely one of them.

There were some scenes between her and Renner and even if she wasn’t saying anything out loud it was like she had just said an entire monologue with her expression.

She and Renner were absolutely amazing acting opposite each other. They conveyed the sibling dynamic perfectly. From the way they tease each other to the way they protect each other, Renner and Arterton did a phenomenal job.

Famke Janssen was great. I’ve seen her a couple things, but the main thing I really know her from is her role as Jean Grey in X-Men. While she was technically a bad guy in the third film in that series, it was nothing to her character in this one. I mean, Jean Grey didn’t eat children so there’s that. It was pretty great seeing her a role so vastly different from the others I’ve seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this other side to an actress I really like.

I mentioned before that Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters who you will love and I say this because they are funny and adorable and perfectly round out the main cast on the good guy’s side.

Thomas Mann plays Ben, a teenager who is a major (and I mean major) fan of Hansel and Gretel. From the first moment we really meet him with his book of Hansel and Gretel articles (he was the original fanboy), Ben is a character you can’t help liking.

Mears was a bit of a different case. Starting out working for the wrong side, Mears plays Edward, a troll who eventually rescues Gretel and befriends her. He’s big and grunts a lot and kind of reminds me of a really strong guard dog. While I was a bit iffy about him at first, by the end of the film I was rooting for him and so glad he made it out okay.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be the costume and makeup departments. Or the special effects people for that matter. The witches faces were disgusting and I didn’t recognize any of the actresses when their faces changed. The body suit Mears had to wear to play Edward almost had me believing in trolls. It looked so real!

Each scene was done so flawlessly it looks like they actually changed their faces from looking normal to being gross and terrifying. However, you know that obviously didn’t happen, and I have to give kudos to the people who sat for hours applying makeup and prosthetics. And to the actors for sitting still long enough to do that.

I made a paper mache mask in eighth grade and had to sit still with it for twenty minutes and barely managed that so I can’t imagine being on either side of the makeup for hours.

And can I just say, the amount of fake blood they used in this film must have been ridiculous. There was so many splatter and burning bodies and exploding bodies and just so many bodies. Bodies, blood, and fire. I’m assuming there was a medical team on standby.

One thing I really loved about this film was something they added in that I never would have thought of. Hansel has diabetes. After being forced to eat all that candy as a child in the witch’s house, he developed “Sugar Sickness” and needs to inject himself with medicine at certain times otherwise he gets sick. This is brilliant. I never would have thought of it, but it makes so much sense. He even created his own special watch that goes off when he needs an injection and I thought this whole thing was so smart and such a good idea on the writer’s part. Amazing.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes a beloved fairytale and adds gore, dark humour, and lots of cursing. And you know what? It’s absolutely brilliant. The actors are great, the special effects are disgusting (so something obviously went right there), and I watch it all the time.

If you have a weak stomach or don’t like cursing this film might not be for you, but if that sort of stuff just rolls off your back then I highly recommend watching Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters immediately. Seriously. Stop reading this and go watch the movie. You won’t regret it.

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