"Me and my sister... we have a past. We almost died at the hands of a witch. But that past made us stronger. We'd gotten a taste of blood. Witch blood. And we haven't stopped since."
Hansel & Gretel is yet another classic fairytale that has been brought to the big screen in an atrocious manner. This new wave of dark fairytales have been a complete disappointment for me considering I really didn't like Snow White or the Jack the Giant Slayer films either. Despite consisting of a talented cast and a well known story, these movies seem to lack any character development whatsoever and these well known Hollywood actors can't do anything to save them from being a complete failure. The problem may lie on the screenplay considering they take such classic and familiar stories and present ridiculous twists while trying to be much darker. Even when these films try to be funny, the comedy doesn't work either; and despite having some extremely nice visuals the set pieces aren't enough to draw us in and make us care for the characters. Hansel & Gretel is basically one action sequence after another with lots of blood and without any buildup for us to identify with any of the characters. Despite being such well known actors, these characters failed to attract me, and even the villain in this film (played by Famke Janssen) is poorly developed. The movie is less than 90 minutes long, and the action sequences take up almost the entirety of the film making this just a boring and tedious experiment where we see one character who we never really know get his head blown off. The film is directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola following the success of his 2009 local horror film, Dead Snow, involving Nazi zombie soldiers. He was also responsible for the screenplay as well. There is not much positive things I could say about this film, except that I really like the two lead actors and am a little disappointed they chose to play these characters.
The story introduces us to Hansel and Gretel as kids escaping from the candy house after the witch had imprisoned them. Everything from that point on is a reinvention of the fairytale by Wirkola. The two siblings grow up to become witch hunters after their horrific experience. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) travel from town to town collecting bounty fees for killing off the evil witches nearby. At the moment, the Mayor (Rainer Bock) of a small village recruits the siblings' service after 11 children have gone missing. The Sheriff (Peter Stormare) isn't too pleased with the arrival of these two siblings considering they made him look bad in front of the entire town after saving a local village woman named Mina (Pihla Vitala) who he believed to be a witch and wanted to burn her at the stake. The two witch hunters begin to investigate the disappearances of the children and realize that a dangerous witch named Muriel (Famke Janssen) is behind the kidnappings. With the help of a local boy named Ben (Thomas Mann) and Edward the troll (Robin Atkins Downes) they face off against Muriel and her covenant of witches.
There is really no need for me to continue on blabbing about how much I disliked this film. There is nothing going on here plot wise. These fairytales haven't crossed over too well to the big screen and I'm afraid they might be ruining all these childhood stories I enjoyed reading about. Having seen all these classic fairytales turned into movies I have to admit that Shyamalan's The Lady in the Water is becoming more and more valuable to me. This genre has resulted rather difficult for me to enjoy, but somehow Lady in the Water which plays out like a fairytale worked a lot better than these films. Shyamalan might be criticized by many people, but he knows how to make movies better than your average director. He has failed recently in his last two big film adaptations (After Earth and The Last Airbender), but he has made so many great films in the past and Lady in the Water is turning into a masterpiece if you compare it to these recent fairytale adaptations that have come out. Hansel & Gretel may just be the worst one in this genre and it is a shame because I really like Jeremy Renner and believe he has made some incredible films. I also like Gemma Arterton, who I loved as a James Bond girl, and despite looking very good here, her talent is wasted in this senseless action film. This is one of the worst films of 2013.