It’s great to see Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters follow up his amazing zombie/comedy “Dead Snow” with another fun film. I don’t believe this movie would have worked if it wasn’t for Wirkola’s take on the material and the solid acting brought to the film. This kind of film isn’t really all that original anymore with modern takes on fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland and “Snow White and the Huntsman” (Alice was decent but Snow White was terrible,) but what I liked about this film most is that it had the guts to be fun and go all out.
Wirkola makes the film stand apart from those safe for kids’ retellings by making it fast, violent, and action packed. He did a great take on the fairy tale and added lots of cool touches that I really enjoyed. I loved the world the film is set in. As with “Dead Snow,” Wirkola knows how to mix genres, tell an exploitation film with gallons of blood, showcases the 80’s rough action attitude, and give it a modern look. I loved all these new takes in the film, he does an amazing job but stays true to the dark fairy tales he grew up with. I loved how the witches looked like something out of the original fairy tale books. This film is a total good time fantasy film that I couldn’t help but to enjoy every second of.
Casting Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner in the leads was a great touch because they are what makes this film work. They bring serious acting to the film, which isn’t really supposed to be all that serious. They know just what type of film they were working on and had a blast with it. Gemma is not only beyond gorgeous as ever but it’s great seeing her character be a complete badass and sexy at the same time. She wasn’t afraid to get beaten and bloody. She kicked ass and took names. Couldn’t help but to love her even more. Jeremy totally does a great job of underplaying his character and leaves being a total bad ass to his on-screen sister while he plays the weaker one but not any less driven. He was enjoying this role and it pays off. Famke Janssen was an inspired choice for the main witch, she totally lived up to the role, which really made her a hell of a villain. I also liked Pihla Viitala as the white witch, great choice on picking non-American actors for this role. I really liked her in this part.
While this film seems silly fun film on the surface, the film is smart enough to embrace and run with it by going all out. It’s fast paced, action packed, and gory with tons of blood. It has guns, evil witches, a sexy bad ass female lead, and a deadly male lead, which can only result into a ton of fun. This is why this film worked for me. It didn’t play too seriously (like “Snow White and the Huntsman”) and Alice in Wonderland which played it too safe and by the numbers.
This film wasn’t afraid to change it up. It feels modern but yet has a retro charm. Wirkola was the right man for the job because it does a great job of telling this story his own way, if you’ve seen “Dead Snow” then you will see mixing genres with his own comedic tastes is something he enjoys. Dead Snow mixed the played out zombie genre with a Euro flair and an 1980’s horror/comedy attitude and it worked perfectly in that film. In another film maker’s hands this just would have been a bad modern action retelling that has too much style. Wirkola has style but also knows how to cast solid actors who know the type of films the director is going for and it works wonderfully in this fun’s 3D action/horror film.
Want a fun mindless time at the movies with a film where the filmmakers really deliver the fun and blood. If you can, watch it in 3D it’s totally worth it and really adds to the enjoyment of the film. I love great world-changing cinema, but I also like getting away from regular life and just have fun and this film delivers it for me. What a great show.
Review by Giovanni Borunda (2013)
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