MTV films strikes again, delivering another movie that will send anyone over the age of 13 running for the door.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a film that tries to emulate the current trend of film reinvention and adaptation especially common within the fantasy-action genre.
However, the film’s inability to clearly distinguish whether it was sincere or tongue-in-cheek would make even the most seasoned cheesy action fans want to slap a little sense into the director.
This tension between sincere and insincere may not seem like a critical flaw from the outside looking in, but when played out on the big screen, this lack of a cohesive tone made it impossible to glean even the most trivial nuggets of enjoyment from Hansel & Gretel.
If the director would have made it clear that this film was supposed to be ironic and cleverly self-critical, then maybe the poorly-written dialogue, the lack of any historical or contextual considerations and the lack of inventive special effects could have been mitigated.
The problem was, it was almost like they were trying to take this film seriously.
Now, had the filmmakers committed to interpreting the script with sincerity, tried to create a somewhat engaging narrative structure or possibly incorporated some convincing action sequences, then maybe Hansel & Gretel wouldn’t have been an absolute flop.
However, the film’s failed attempt to tip-toe the line between these two options was its true downfall.
Anytime I tried to enjoy a witch getting beheaded, a crappy joke quickly followed. Anytime I would have wanted to chuckle at the actors’ sardonic, self-conscious style an uninspired fistfight immediately silenced me.
Just forget that this film ever happened. Maybe then you can preserve the mental image of Jeremy Renner (Hansel) in The Hurt Locker. Renner’s female counterpart Gemma Arterton (Gretel) certainly could have a promising future, as long as she distances herself from this tremendous bungle.
If you are thirteen years old, enjoy wasting time and have a weakness for obnoxiously-depicted witchery, I would urge you to see this film. If not, don’t.