Anyone who likes happiness would think a movie that involves candy houses, lots of leather, Hawkeye and buckets of blood would be a campy thrill ride, inducing plenty of bubble gum smiles. But soon after watching “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” that thought would be as stupid as entering a van with a creepy bloke inside who offered candy…wait, that’s not right…or is it?
Though the similarities between the old and new cautionary tales for children are astounding, this movie was a different take on the Grimm tale about two children lost in the woods who get captured by a witch in a house made of candy. In this version, they brutally murder the witch without hesitation and turn it into a profession.
It was considered a “new take” on an “old classic,” but really anything would be. It could be a complex drama in which they become activists who boycott Snickers or even a fun teen comedy. I could not stop thinking of ways it can be “fresh.”
Now the best part about writing this review was all the problems fall under the same roof and had the same effect: A movie with this kind of title has zero creativity or spark, and I could not stop thinking of ways it could.
Everything from the story about witches stealing children for a cult gathering, the name of the event (the Blood Moon Gathering) to the costumes, dialog, plot points and cleavage were ripped from other horror/action films and an 11-year-old boy’s wet dream.
Sitting there, my brain focused less on the screen and more on all the aspects that could’ve made the movie betters: less leather, less high-tech weaponry, more humor, scarier witches, less ancillary-but-still –stick-around characters, maybe more of a Western vibe. I could not stop thinking of ways it could’ve been better.
This was all on top of the fact the two leads, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), who were both game, were just too doltish to be likable. They were horrible at their job as I watched them get beat up even fighting one witch. Even any sort of deductive reasoning was whittled to blunt a statement. Jeff Goldblum in “Independence Day” even started somewhere. He couldn’t not stop thinking of ways to kill aliens.
Like any bad movie review, this could go on forever. Just know there were no bubble gum smiles, too much leather, hardly any candy houses, and I really wished Hansel would just pick up a bow. It’s funny how cautionary tales for kids can easily become ones for adults.