Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 8, 2022

Even good looks didn’t save Hansel and Gretel

By Florence Lau | January 31, 2013

The past few years have seen a resurgence in revamped fairy tale stories in the media. There has been a lot of buzz about the two television shows (Once Upon a  Time and Grimm) that do so, and now movies are catching up to the fad by reinventing many of our favorite childhood tales.

Unfortunately, those who expected deep storylines and captivating dialogue from Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters will be terribly disappointed and definitely should not waste money on this movie. Viewers will find themselves wishing for both refunded ticket fare and the hour and a half that was lost watching the film. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a major letdown, especially for fairy tale lovers.

To summarize the premise, after Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) killed the witch who tried to eat them during their youth, the pair went on to become famous witch hunters, killing witches for a living.

However, Muriel (Famke Janssen), a “grand witch,” is preparing for a ritual that makes witches impervious to fire, and for that, she requires the heart of a white witch, for which she targets Gretel. Along with another white witch named Mina (Pihla Viitala) and an aspiring witch hunter named Ben (Thomas Mann), Hansel is determined to save her sister as well as the children whom Muriel has abducted for her ritual.

Three-fourths of this movie was composed of fight scenes flashing by so fast that if this movie had been in 3D, it would surely have disoriented viewers. There seems to be fight after fight with not much content in between.

Renner and Arterton did what they could with the material they were given, but since the characterizations weren’t very strong to begin with on paper, there wasn’t much they could do to improve the movie.

Admittedly, there were some amusing moments, like Hansel having developed diabetes from eating so many sweets as a child  as well as Ben’s interactions with the two siblings.

The twist that Hansel and Gretel’s parents were trying to save them by leaving them in the woods also came as a surprise and was welcomed, especially since viewers were beginning to wonder how much longer this movie would run.

Overall, though, this movie delivered cheap thrills without much substancial development.

Those who are interested in pretty people (of which there are quite a few) and fight scenes might enjoy this hour and a half long movie. However, anyone else who wants more than thrills and scares would be better off spending their time pursuing other entertainment.

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