Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Grimms Gets CG

Hansel & Gretel get CG

I watched this film with deep misgivings. I then realised that not only was I being unfair, I was, if nothing else, being hypocritical. I have always maintained that one should watch a film with no preset expectations. I had doomed Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters with an almost pathological distaste at the “high tech” weaponry and the CG that dominated the film.

You’d think I would have known better.

The film is a great big fantasy filled romp through Grimm’s fairy tale land. It is just gory enough to be very apropos to the original, much darker, version of the fairy tale, with an interesting twist. Written and directed by Tommy Wirkola (the talent that brought us the gloriously funny Dead Snow in 2009) it was a labour of love for him.

Turns out that Tommy had the idea for H&G:WH in film school (or media school, whichever you prefer) and apart from the fact that his teacher asked him to never approach him on that particular subject again, he did recommend that Tommy do a sales pitch on the idea if he ever got to Hollywood.

Which is exactly what he did.

Starring: Jeremy RennerGemma ArtertonFamke Janssen, and  Peter Stormare  the film has a good enough pedigree in the acting arena to at least guarantee good performances and the actors do a brilliant job with the limited character arc that their roles entail.

The plot (according to IMDb) is as follows:

Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

The witch hunting duo use all sorts of way too modern weaponry to dispatch the witches they encounter (all for a price, despite this being a labour of love, they also charge accordingly – as Hansel says early in the film, “Trolls are extra.”) the film has no designs of being “historically” accurate. We are here for the fun of it and if you cannot get past the obvious updating of the witch hunters, the exit is clearly marked, or in my case, the eject button.

Janssen

Famke Janssen rocks it as the witch “ruler” who has a personal score to settle with the witch killing pair. Although she really has it in for Gretel, who turns out to be  a white witch whose heart needs to be ripped out in order to make all witches the world over, impervious to fire.

Peter Stormare, does what Peter Stormare does best. He’s another distasteful oaf who’s the town sheriff and town bully. He dislikes H&G on first sight and takes umbrage that they are in his town telling him what to do.

So much for the plot and the characters, except to say the both Renner and Arterton have a lot of fun with their roles. But the combination of CG and practical FX help to sell this film. I spent the entire film thinking that the troll, Edward, was a CG creation and it turns out, he was not.

He is gloriously real (in a prosthetic sort of real) and only a modicum of CG was required. Even the witches flying on their version of broomsticks was real. The make-up and the stunts and the FX helped to make the film a glorious romp with no semblance to reality in the film. Well, apart from using a village set that does attempt to stay faithful to history.

Overall, this was a 4 out of 5 star film. I rated it so high because of Janssen and Storemare and Renner and Arterton. These actors went all out for their roles. Roles that could have been a straight two dimensional caricature had they chosen to play it that way. Sure they didn’t have room for a lot of depth, but it is a fairytale at the end of the day.

Great film, just don’t look for too much in the way of being faithful to the Brothers Grimm.

witch hunt

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