Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (3D)

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**1/2
Director: Tommy Workola

Hansel and Gretel though originally a Grimm’s fairy tale, turns out to be a cautionary tale of sorts.  Lesson here?  Don’t go out into the woods alone and don’t spend 60 million dollars thinking you can turn a fairy tale into 192 minutes of good entertainment (without really working at it!)

We all know the story— young Hansel and Gretel are ditched in the woods by their parents.  The two young kids find a candy cane house, they find a witch inside who wants to end their existence.  They depose of  the witch, find their way home and live happily ever after.

Fast forward to 2013.  Hansel (Jeremy Renner ) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) all grown up, are now bounty hunters who make their living ridding the countryside of witches.  After the initial action scene where they take out a witch with a bedazzling array of martial arts, firepower and cinematography, they are contracted by the villagers to kill yet another witch (Muriel played by Famke Janssen Taken 2) who has abducted the villagers’ children.   To exterminate this witch might seem a very straight forward proposition for the skilled brother and sister team, but this run-of-the-mill task takes them back deep into the forest from whence they had once escaped, forcing them to revisit their past.  And yes, there are skeletons, or rather witches in their closet.

Along the way our duo pick up a wannabe bounty hunter, a troll with a heart of gold and, of course, a love interest.  With all these elements, one can’t understand why this film simply wants to put you to sleep between action scenes.  Yes, Gemma Arterton is attractive, as is Jeremy Renner, but this attraction doesn’t transfer into a worthwhile script.  Is it the fact we never really get to know (or care) about these characters other than the trauma of being abandoned by their parents?  Maybe it is the stock lines we’ve heard over and over again.

Although director Tommy Workola tries to fit the pieces of this post modern fairy tale neatly together, one has the feeling it’s being bound with nothing more than eye-candy, cool hardware and gratuitous violence as opposed to an engaging storyline and characters.  Are there some interesting plot twists?  Yes, but nothing to make you say, “Wow, I can’t believe that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s…. ” and well.. you know how that film ends.