Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will be remembered for two things after it opens this Friday: one, its attempt to embellish and reinvent the (somewhat) beloved children’s fairy tale about siblings escaping an evil witch’s oven, and two, its bizarre predilection for showcasing every one of its female characters in ultra-tight leather ensembles that leave no doubt as to who was doing pilates in the Middle Ages. A Brothers Grimm fairy tale this most certainly is not.
It’s a shame, because – unless you go to the movies strictly to watch characters (any characters) beat each other up – there’s almost nothing here to differentiate this from all the other childhood fairy tales reinvented as sexy tween revenge action stories like Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, and even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. There are too many good looking young people on screen today slicing at each other’s physical beauty.
We’re supposed to believe that because Hansel and Gretel were almost baked into a pie when they were wee kiddos that they grew up wanting to rid the world of evil witches who would do the same to other gluttonous tots. I guess we could believe it . . . if they actually bothered to show us some of the trauma the kids suffered. We’re not going to buy anything that doesn’t bother to even try to get us to invest in a backstory. Yeah, most witches are evil. But some are awesome: like, Hermione Granger!
Mostly, we see Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton slinging arrows and swaying swords. Sometimes we’re not even sure why they’re doing this, other than that they seem to want to do little else. In the end, you’ll probably long for a movie like The Hobbit, which may have had gratuitous Hobbit-on-Goblin fighting, but at least gave us plenty of reasons to care.
Here’s an interview w/ Gemma Arterton about her experience doing the film: