Of Witches and Whys
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HANSEL & GRETEL: Witch Hunters
DIRECTOR: Tommy Wirkola
CAST: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen
Of course, this is what we have always been waiting for. That those poor, little abandoned siblings, deprived of even bread crumbs, will grow up and be neither poor, nor little nor living happily after.
Nor will they be rid of the witch in the candy house. No sir, they will be bounty hunters chasing down those dreaded beings — who are in such frequent numbers apparently that there is a virtual "witch plague" out there.
The witches are horrid, senseless killers with pale, cracked faces and things coming out of their hair. Hansel and Gretel are punching bags for many of their attacks but emerge miraculously un-blemished after a painful pounding each time.
Not that they come unarmed. In an era left willingly undefined, but where witches are still being burnt at the stake, the siblings are fitted out in smartly tailored leather and state-of-the-art weaponry. Arterton fares better than a hopelessly out-of-sorts Renner, who can't decide how seriously he should be taking all this stuff.
In the endless and gumption-less chase for witches, a romantic angle or two is thrown in. Also strewn are references to other fairy tales plus a closure that seeks to put it all in perspective.
Don't bother. Your perspective would have been fairly set by the one punch it takes a friendly troll, who takes a liking to Gretel, to squash the scheming sheriff into pulp — literally.
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