“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” : Worse Than ‘So Bad It’s Good’

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“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” : Worse Than ‘So Bad It’s Good’

By Galina Velgach

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Wow, this was a bad movie. I wrote a column a few months ago on the absurdity that was the fairy tale revival in movies. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” is the perfect example of why movies like these should not be made. While movies like “Snow White and the Huntsman” can at least be commended for it’s special effects, “Hansel and Gretel” has absolutely nothing going for it.

After brother and sister Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) defeat the evil witch in the gingerbread house as children, they are hailed as heroes and become witch hunters for hire. When children begin disappearing and the fabled Bloodmoon approaches, the holiest night for dark witches, the siblings try to prevent the witches from becoming immune to power and therefore invincible.

The plot is almost exactly like Terry Gilliam’s “The Brothers Grimm,” but of a much lower quality. It’s worse than a bad Tim Burton movie. The title sequence consisted of 17th century newspapers headlining Hansel and Gretel’s escapades…could the producers not be bothered to do a little Wikipedia research? Putting badly drawn pictures of children on milk bottles was apparently supposed to be humourous, but I thought it made the whole movie look disorganized.

The continuity here is ridiculous. Major plot points aren’t explained, character details aren’t exploited, and actions that could have been taken earlier are put off until inopportune moments. Most of the story takes place in the town of Augsburg, Hansel and Gretel’s hometown…but they don’t know that. I’d understand them not knowing where they’re from if they were babies when they left, but they were at least 10. Who doesn’t recognize their own hometown?

Renner (“The Avengers”) and Arterton (“Clash of the Titans”) were at their worst here. No emotion, no humor  no discernible acting skills, just crude lines that were meant to be funny. This is also one of the worst-looking movies I’ve ever seen, I can’t tell what time period it’s set in. There’s costumes from the 16th and 19th century, a 1990s leather jacket, a WWII rotary cannon, and a taser!? And an uncomfortable and unrealistic amount of cleavage.

Now while I was expecting a kiddie movie, what I got was an actual made-for-grown-ups movie, complete with F-bombs and 3-second gore. I know that German fairy tales tend to be gory, so an argument can be made that “Hansel and Gretel” was simply returning to its roots, but then adding elements from the kid-friendly version would defeat the purpose. If someone’s going to make a big-boy movie out of this, at least try to do a decent job.

I know it’s tempting sometimes to go see a bad movie on purpose just to get a kick out of it, like a chick flick or a really crude action-explosion-Statham movie, but “Hansel and Gretel” should be avoided at all costs. I still have no idea how it was the highest grossing movie of its opening weekend, I can’t see how anyone could willingly watch it more than once. I give it ONE STAR, for the troll named Edward.

Runtime: 88 minutes

Rating: Rated R for Language