I was fortunate to have watched ‘HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS’ before it UK release of 27th February – sadly it ends there. Originally meant to be released in 2010 (then 2012), ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ was (along with ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and remake of ‘Red Dawn’) placed on the shelf during MGM’s financial woo. You know how old the film is when Jeremy Renner wasn’t even casted in any Marvel Studios films when finishing shooting this.
Now this whole twist on fantasy/myth/political leaders/fairy tales has been a continual trend in Hollywood at the moment. Films like ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ have used this idea of utilized the fairly bluntly titled film method and made at lot of money from it. So it natural we see this Will Farrell produced film which in press notes calls it a ”Horror Comedy” – which is isn’t, being released. Instead you have (just like AL: VH) a surprisingly serious film to what fundamentally should be just silly fun – partially with a title like this.
This is relevant as both Jeremy Renner (which the film was held back to early this year to capitalise on his ‘Avengers’/’Bourne’ success) and Gemma Arterton playing roles which are very serious and then having very cartoon like characters around them – headlined by a brilliantly cheesy/panto villain of Famke Janssen. This I find is the huge mistake this film makes (along with a rather random as if it was made up from thin-air ‘good witch’ plot development). How can a film wanting to be (even from its marketing) be cheesy fun, want to be taken seriously at the same time? I just dont understand it at all! This is from the German director of a film I liked a lot of ‘Dead Snow’ which got this fun, blunt, horror comedy concept perfectly, instead we get something far too busy and lots of weightless CGI action scenes, which are not that long. This is all along with steam punk weaponry and ‘Underworld’ leather fetishes of characters; this twisted fairy tale is very tame indeed.