Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Release Date: January 25, 2013 (USA)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Screenplay: D.W. Harper, Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann, Derek Mears, Robin Atkin Downes, Robin Atkin Downes
I won’t deny it. Watching Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was an experience.
Let me explain. It’s the first time I have watched a 4D movie, specifically 4DX, and it sure adds to the whole cinematic experience. It can turn an ok film into something memorable.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starts as the story everybody knows of poor children abandoned in the woods that find a gingerbread house and kill a witch before they get eaten themselves. After some visually attractive opening credits, the siblings (Renner and Arterton), all grown-up, work as witch hunters. Their latest job? Find the evil witch behind the disappearance of many children in a town called Augsburg. Turns out Evil Witch Muriel (Famke) is behind a plan that involves sacrificing children at a witch gathering during the “Blood Moon”. Of course, Hansel and Gretel’s past plays an important part.
All the actors in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters are good enough for what they have to work with, and damn if Famke isn’t channeling some JeanGrey/Phoenix for moments. I quite liked the relationship between Hansel and Gretel, Renner and Arterton do act like siblings even if they look nothing alike, and it’s even adorable at parts. Viitala’s Mina is an example of foreshadowing; but her story felt a bit rushed, yet managed to include some nudity. Mann is there to provide the plucky comic relief as fanboy Ben. Stormare is the Sheriff Berringer, a minor antagonist, who meets an entertaining (for 4DX purposes) end. Then there’s this troll called Edward, who became my favorite supernatural creature called Edward.
The movie itself is quite straightforward, with usual Chekhov’s Guns and Deux ex Machinas to make the story kinda predictable, but with enough interesting details to keep the audience entertained, especially because of the awesome design and visual effects. The engineering behind Hansel and Gretel’s arsenal was outstanding, and the variety of witches at the gathering was also a “delight” to see. And with the gore, the painful looking fights and invasive 3D, the 4DX addition amplified the whole ride.
And what did this 4DX entail? Well, just moving chairs, smells, wind, lights, water sprays and temperature changes. Yes, it was very gimmicky but worth it.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a great movie, but it delivers. And, if you have the money to spare and it’s available near your location, watch it in 4DX.