Witch hunting proves to be messy work in Hollywood’s latest fantasy film that should have been burned at the stake before it made it to theaters.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is the latest fairy tale adapted for the big screen.
It tells the story of a brother-sister duo set out to rid the world of witches.
The sibling tag team are extremely good at their occupation. However, the same could not be said for those who helped create this bloody and predictably boring action flick.
The movie starts with Hansel and Gretel’s father leaving his two children in a forest in the middle of the night.
The kids go out exploring and find a house made of candy, where they are captured by an evil witch.
Hansel is forced to eat candy while Gretel is being tortured.
Eventually they break free and burn the witch in an oven.
An animated opening credit scene explains the two became witch hunters after that night in the candy house and are now infamous witch hunters.
Their story picks up with them being hired by a town mayor to find 11 missing children.
Handsome and brash Hansel, played by Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), and tough girl Gretel, played by Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), quickly learn they have three days to rescue the kidnapped children.
The duo is introduced to an evil witch named Muriel.
She is the film’s main antagonist played by Famke Janssen (X-Men). Chaos ensues and a twelfth child is taken.
Through action sequences and good fortune, the siblings learn the truth behind the witch’s motives as well as secrets to their own mysterious past.
They learn that their immunity to the witch’s dark magic ties into their family history.
This helps lead the story into a fairy tale ending.
Many violent action and fight scenes are constructed, along with the occasional four letter expletives, to justify its R rating.
There are also moments when debris and guts fly out of the screen as an added 3-D effect.
The movie suffers from trying too hard with over-the-top gore while throwing in eye rolling one-liners and shoving predictable mystery down your throat.
Throw in wasted story elements that come and go, like Hansel needing insulin shots for his diabetes he got from the candy house, and you have another terribly executed fairy tale film.
In recent years, fairy tale movies have been adapted to become more action oriented.
Disney’s animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1937 looks quite different compared to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.
Gone are the days when fairy tales are told through song and dance, which are now replaced by stuntmen and special effects.
There are also the versions of fairy tale films that keep the original story but use a modern time setting.
For example, 2011’s Beastly transforms Disney’s 1991 animated feature Beauty and the Beast from a tale between a simple town girl and a hairy monster into a teen love story set in New York City.
It is no secret that the film industry desperately recycles old stories from the past.
Even the small screens in our homes have created programs based on the same fables.
Television shows like ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm have taken popular fairy tales and put their own modern spin on them.
Whether they succeed or flop at the box office, fairy tale movies are here to stay.
The next fairy tale to be adapted to the big screen comes out March with Jack the Giant Slayer, which takes on popular story of Jack and his magically growing bean stock.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters could easily be seen in the future with the number two appending the title since the movie does have an open-ended conclusion.
A sequel is definitely unneeded, but then again, neither was this year’s adaptation.