Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters  (2013)


There are two kinds of movie-goers: critics and everyone else. Critics hate this movie, since for some reason they expect it to be a masterpiece. Audiences looking for a funny, campy fairy tale love it.


It's been years since Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) were left on their own to fend in the woods. Trapped by a witch and nearly baked in her oven, the pair of them dispatched her without much trouble, earning themselves a reputation and a responsibility as "witch hunters." In the years since, they've perfected the art. Hansel can look any woman in the eye and tell if she's a witch. Gretel can knock the stuffing out of anyone who gets in the way. They've come to the deep, dark woods and a small, suspicious town to track down a bunch of missing kids and return them to their worried parents. But it looks like more than child-napping is going on... their visit nearly coincides with a blood moon, when witches are at their most powerful.


And what these witches really want isn't what they expect.


So, what can an audience expect from this film? Not a masterpiece, but not a disaster either. It's campy, it never takes itself too seriously, it introduces a troll character midway through, it features a lot of awesome weaponry and a couple of decent actors, it has more gags and snickers than you can shake a fist at (in those antiquated days, missing kids turned up on milk bottles instead of cartons), and... it's gruesome fun. The score is great (but sometimes needs amped up a notch, since there's a lot of quiet moments). The cast is clearly having a terrific time. The computer generated witch faces are downright creepy, but without giving off too many demonic vibes. And although some of the twists and turns are predictable, I didn't much care since I was enjoying the butt-kicking heroine too much.


Christian audiences can decide for themselves if this is their particular brand of magic; there's good witches and bad witches. Some things are great messages, like the love between a brother and a sister and the example they set for their sidekicks of risking their lives to defend one another (compelling similar bravery in their friends). Some of it isn't as wonderful -- like the profanity, occasional but brutal violence, and brief nudity. But the movie never pretends to be anything more than what it is -- cheap entertainment. And much like last year's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, it was way better than I expected.


Sexual Content:

A woman strips down to get into a pond (two shots of full backside nudity, brief shot of her bare breasts).



Six f-words, uses of s**t, a few mild profanities.



Witches pummel and are pummeled; a troll smashes a man's head like a ripe tomato; female characters are punched in the face and brutally kicked; people (and witches) explode into gory chunks, are shot, stabbed, and ripped apart.



Conversation about "white" (good) witches vs. regular witches.

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