Tag Archive: famke jansen


Everyone knows the traditional story of Hansel and Gretal: two children who get lost in a forest manage to find their way to a house made out of candy. There, they encounter a witch who intends to fatten them up and cook them for herself, but eventually the children manage to defeat the witch and escape with their lives in tact. It’s a common fairy tale that children are told all over the world. But nobody quite knows what happens to little Hansel and Gretal after their encounter with the witch.

Witch Hunters imagines what does happen to them after the story ends. We catch up with Hansel and Gretal in the town of Augsburg where they prevent a woman from being killed as a witch. Here, we find out that since their first encounter with a witch they have become bounty hunters and are leaving no witch alive in their journeys across the country. But with a series of kidnappings taking place in town they realise that the fabled Blood Moon is approaching and Hansel and Gretal must do all they can to stop it.

It’s a pretty good idea for a film, you have to give it that. And with it being rated at a 15 here in the UK, it opens up the idea of this being a film for adults; blood and gore aplenty. Therefore, there is potential for a dark and gritty story to be told, just the way the Grimm brothers originally envisioned their work. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters decides not to take itself seriously and aims at becoming just a generic action/fantasy film. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Compared to other action/fantasy films of recent years this is a contender for the best, but it is not a genre that generally does well in cinemas unless it’s related to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. But when Hansel & Gretal gets it right, it gets it right. There is a lot of blood, there are some big laughs too (and a few little ones).

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton do their best in the title roles and these are two actors that I really do like. But it seems odd to me why Renner in particular would have chosen to make this film. I’m not really sure I buy into the brother/sister relationship which is supposed to be conveyed by the two actors despite good solo performances.

The special effects work was probably the best thing about the movie. Edward the troll (who names a troll Edward?) looks like a fantastic piece of CGI work and the witches do look genuinely creepy and a little bit frightening. It does feel, however, that despite being an enjoyable film there are a few too many flaws, leaving Renner, Arterton and Famke Jansen wandering around in hope of finding a better script somewhere.

My Rating: A generous 6/10, purely for entertainment value.

As we know, there is a trend of bringing fairy tales to the big screen at the minute. So far there have been Little Red Riding Hood, Mirror Mirror and Snow White & The Huntsman. There is a Beauty & the Beast film in the pipeline but here we have Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which is not by the same people as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, although it sounds as though it could well be. When this update of the classic fairy tale was first announced it did worry me a little as the title sounded a little corny and the set photos didn’t inspire much confidence. However, now that the trailer has been released I have changed my mind completely.

The casting for Hansel & Gretel does look very good, despite the big age difference between the actors playing the title characters even though they are both shown to be around the same age but we can overlook that. Jeremy Renner is the ‘it’ man around Hollywood right now and has recently given a restart to both the Mission: Impossible franchise and the Bourne franchise (I think he was a great replacement for Matt Damon) and he also played fan favourite Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers. Alongside Renner as Hansel there is one of my favourite British actresses Gemma Arterton playing Gretel. Arterton has shown over the years how incredibly versatile she is and just how wonderful an actress she can be. Now we finally get a chance to see her kicking ass and in real fight scenes which is good news.

Unlike the previous adaptations of fairy tales what we have in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a retelling of the original story. This is why I think it could be better than all other fairy tale films that have been recently. Whereas both Mirror Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman both told the origin story of Snow White so people knew what was coming, however Hansel & Gretel takes place 15 years after the fairy tale, fifteen years on from when Hansel & Gretel were almost killed by an evil witch. This means that there is a lot of space to play with as there is no specific end in mind as there are with other fairy tale stories.

The trailer has filled me with excitement about this film. There is a voice over from Jeremy Renner which isn’t your ordinary emotionless narration that you often get in trailers. The whole film looks like it really has got it’s genre nailed on, the scenery looks fantastic and it visually is a treat for the eyes. The trailer is action packed and you can clearly tell how the event fifteen years prior to the film affected Hansel and Gretel and it is fantastic to get a taste of the fight scenes that will appear in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

 

 

How well Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will do when it is released in January is difficult to estimate. I think that it could go either way but if marketed correctly it could go well, especially with Renner and Arterton in the main roles. Hopefully it will pick up the teenage audience which it appears to be aiming for but I know that I will be looking forward to it. I just hope it is as good as I want it to be!