The story of Hansel and Gretel is a familiar one. One gloomy night, H&G’s father takes the brother and sister into the forest and leaves them to their own devices. After waiting several hours, the brother/sister team venture out into the woods hoping to find someone, anyone who will help them. What they find instead, however, is a vicious witch who lives in a candy hut. After defeating the vile witch, the duo vow to exterminate each and every single witch that they can find.
Fast forward several years later. Hansel and Gretel are professional witch hunters, the best of the best to be exact. They are hired by a small town mayor in order to hunt down a witch that has been kidnapping the local children. What Hansel and Gretel don’t know is that this isn’t just any witch that they are dealing with. This witch has plans that could put all of humanity in danger. Can Hansel and Gretel take this witch and her minions down, or have they finally met their match?
As of now there have been very few Fairy-Tale based movies out there that I like. Brothers Grimm wasn’t bad but it fell flat overall. Red Riding Hood had some neat ideas and some pretty cool moments, but it still wasn’t good as it could have been. The primary reasons, at least in my opinion, are the fact that these movies were PG-13. PG-13 films are fine but I don’t feel like that movies revolving around Fairy Tales should be restricted to the PG-13 rating. It’s fine if the movie is animated like Puss in Boots but if it revolves around the more accurate Brothers Grimm style of Fairy Tale, than it should be Rated-R and that is one of the reasons I wanted to see Witch Hunters so badly; because of its R rating.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
This movie is one of those films that is not to be taken seriously. This is very obvious within the first fifteen minutes of the movie when we lay witness to the insane weapons that H&G use; automatic crossbows, giant shotguns, blade whips; it is a over-the-top insane fantasy smorgasbord that begs for you to sit back and throw reason out the window. If you are not someone who can accept the fact that this movie utilizes such technology despite the era it is based within, then right away this movie is not for you.
The action is top-notch thanks to the lack of a Close-Up Shaky Cam that so many action films utilize. The camera is far back enough where we can appreciate the combat but not so much that we feel detached from the heavy hits and breaking of bones. Expect to see a lot of bloodshed as well as the movie takes full advantage of its R rating. We’re treated to a gory masterpiece as heads explode, limbs get removed, and bodies explode. It is beautiful!
Story-wise the film follows a somewhat familiar path. There are no real twists and turns as the movie pans out which is fine for not every movie needs to be the next M. Night incarnation. It is very straight-forward which is not a bad thing. It reminds me a lot of the Mummy franchise in this sense.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about the film was the makeup. The witches are not the cute and sexy ladies that have become the norm but instead they are ugly, hideous hags with cracked and rotting flesh. Each witch has been given a very unique look; some are pale with deep wounds in their flesh, others are dark with burning eyes, others have spikes on their heads, and there is even one who is missing her legs and runs on her hands.
Oh and there is a fantastic use of animatronics with one of the movie’s monsters. Not surprising as the crew who worked on said creature also did work on HellBoy. I won’t say any more on the subject but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.
Speaking of witches, the magic that they use was so much fun to watch. It is classic witchcraft that we’d see in cartoons or movies from the 80s. We are given lightning, fireballs, telekinesis, and some others that I will allow you to witness for yourself.
The only negative that I can think of comes from the fact that this movie was obviously made for 3D. Some of the gore is computer generated. This has always been a bummer for me as I am a traditionalist when it comes to gore. However it isn’t a deal breaker mostly because it fits in a movie such as this. If this was a straight-up slasher flick, it would have been a bigger issue but as it is just a fantasy action movie, it is forgivable.
Witch Hunters is not going to win any Oscars or will it be appreciated by everyone but for those who don’t mind stupid insane action, over-the-top weapons, and some fun gore; this is the movie for you!