A dark, twisted and frankly predictable interpretation of the classic children’s tale, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (3D) is set in a fantasy world where people speak in 21st century tongue.
The leather-clad grown up siblings, having survived the evil witch’s sugar house, are now professional witch hunters. Except Hansel (Jeremy Renner) has the ‘sugar disease’ and requires regular shots of a drug to keep him alive – in other words, all the sugar the witch fed him as a child have made him diabetic!
Gretel (Gemma Arterton), the more surefooted and braver of the two, is also plagued by thoughts of what happened to their parents after they abandoned their children in the forest all those years ago.
Hansel and Gretel have been hired by a town’s mayor to find the witches that have been kidnapping children from their town. The pair tracks down the head witch, played by Famke Janssen. There’s also a kind ‘white’ witch, a zealous Hansel and Gretel fanboy and a blood moon night with a silly climax with a variety of witches that look like leftovers from one of the Men in Black (MIB) films.
The humour is occasionally tongue-in-cheek, occasionally cheesy, but it’s not funny enough or scary enough. The weaponry and exploding heads suggest this is a MIB reinterpreted at a time before sunglasses — the medieval ages, with witches! Director Tommy Wirkola manages to use the 3D technology, crafts a few enjoyable scenes and keeps the running time snappy. But the acting is lackluster and script as think as a broomstick.