Greetings again from the darkness. The movie begins with a tip of the cap to the “Hansel and Gretel” Brothers Grimm fairy tale and then spins off into what would be just another episode of TV’s “Once Upon a Time”, were it a cable rather than a network show.
The original fairy tale is a nightmare for most kids (probably explains why it’s one of my favorites). Hansel and Gretel are deserted in the forest by their parents, and end up at a scrumptious house of candy owned by a witch who eats children. The movie puts an interesting spin on why the parents got rid of the kids, but mostly this story begins after Hansel and Gretel outsmart the candy house witch. This leads them into a joint career as bounty-huners for witches.
Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers) plays Hansel and Gemma Arterton (Tamara Drewe, a Bond Girl in Casino Royale) plays Gretel. They have some pretty nifty weapons given that it’s the middle ages. Mostly they take turns getting the stuffing kicked out of them by witches and jealous sheriffs. Famke Janssen plays the evilest of the dark witches and puts up quite a battle to take advantage of the Blood Moon.
There is a good witch and bad witch element as well as a discovery of their childhood roots. That said, the plot and story are secondary thanks to writer/director Tommy Wickola who seems to find the most joy in exploding witch heads and bodies. The 3D seems pretty sloppy and forced with no added benefit. A couple of humorous additions involve Hansel’s struggle with diabetes (thanks to the candy house), the missing kid notices on milk bottles, and the multi-dimensional troll Edward … he’s no Shrek, but it doesn’t take much personality to stand out here.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are listed as producers and that explains the attempts at humor throughout. It’s too bad the overkill on gore and profanity prevent this from being an intelligent spin off from one of the best ever fairy tales.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: exploding witch heads help you put up with life’s inconveniences
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you are expecting a Grimm Fairy tale movie
watch the trailer: