Thursday, July 4, 2013

In short: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Years after their well-known witch-related ordeal, Hansel and Gretel have grown up into two exceedingly attractive people with a thing for black leather (Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner, who both seem to have a lot of fun with their roles), and live out their hatred of witches by working as witch hunters for hire.

But don't worry, Gretel prefers a fact based hunting approach to the job, so innocents need not fear, as the film's first post-credit sequence proves by having our heroes save innocent (well, more or less) Mina (Pihla Viitala) from being burned at the stake, enraging the local Sheriff (Peter Stormare) in the process. Little do our heroes expect that beautiful Augsburg will have more than the usual amount of witch-napped children and a normal witch hunt for them, and will even reveal the secrets of their past to them.

Grand witch Muriel (Famke Janssen, eating scenery with the same relish you'd show eating a candy witch house before you realize there's a witch living in it) and a whole bunch of black metal band rejects have plans to brew some very special potions that will make them impervious to the witch's worst enemy, fire. They just need some very special ingredients. Let's hope our heroes and their arsenal of improbable weapons will be up to the task at hand.

Going into Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a lot of critics seem to have expected to find a deep and profound work reflecting on the nature of humanity, or bourgeois life in not-17th century not-Germany, and were consequently deeply disappointed when they found these highly logical expectations confounded when they were instead confronted with what basically amounts to Van Helsing or Brothers Grimm, but not shit and reasonably short.

For me on the other hand, Hansel & Gretel is pretty much exactly what I expected of Dead Snow's director Tommy Wirkola, a man clearly talented when it comes fun, fast-paced nonsense (and lighting actresses). It's the sort of film that revels in its own (slightly gory) comic book silliness, and attempts to have at least one silly-but-cool idea that spits on the the laws of physics (stuffy old bastards) per scene. This, Wirkola achieves with a high degree of charm and efficiency, throwing silly witches, silly witch hunting techniques, and silly physics at his audience with a palpable sense of fun. But be warned: this is a movie, where witch house eating induced diabetes can become a real problem, so if that sort of thing pulls you out of the whole fairy-tale-punk mood, this is not the film for you.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is very good at being the carnival ride version of a movie, without feeling the need to apologize for it, nor ever forgetting the fact that the important thing about a carnival ride isn't just that it's loud and colourful, but that it's supposed to be fun.


Todd said...

Oh, good. I'm besieged by ads for this on Pay-per-view, and now I feel like you've given me permission to watch it.

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

Are there other movies you need my permission for too? I'm quite good at giving permission.

Don't watch the second Silent Hill movie, though.