'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters': Film review

Anna Murray, Yahoo! New Zealand January 30, 2013, 9:49 am

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen

3 / 5

Have you ever wondered what might have become of fairy tale characters Hansel and Gretel after they defeated an evil witch keeping them captive in her candy-covered cottage? No?

Well, this new twist on the classic German tale sees our brother and sister team (played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) all grown up and determined to rid the world of its witches. Armed with an impressive array of weapons, a ruggedly handsome Hansel and a very pouty Gretel have a 'take no prisoners' attitude when it comes to their (very bloody) quest.

Their services are employed by one particular village which has seen many of its children abducted by witches. Upon Hansel and Gretel's arrival, it doesn't take long for our fairy tale duo to figure out that these are no ordinary abductions, with the most evil of plans being hatched by coven leader Muriel (played by Famke Janssen). And the unravelling of this diabolical scheme may hold a surprise for Hansel and Gretel about themselves, too...

I think it's safe to say any film titled 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' is clearly not asking to be taken seriously – and it's best you don't. Don't ask questions about how characters in a 19th century village have such sophisticated weaponry (and a heart defibrillator, no less!) – that's all part of the film's charm.

The story is nothing revolutionary (although there is the novelty factor of seeing the Hansel and Gretel characters as such bad-asses) and the script is also nothing special. But the film cracks along at a decent pace, the 3D effects are good and the two lead characters are both easy on the eye. Its schlocky violence will also no doubt delight a faction of the movie-going public. (You might want to give this one a wide berth if you don’t enjoy seeing people exploding into a pile of earthy critters or being torn limb from limb.)

Just don't take the film too seriously and you'll be fine.

'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' is in NZ cinemas from January 31. Four minutes of exclusive 3D footage of 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' (out in March) will also play in advance of 3D sessions of the film.

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