Welcome back to Netflix Nonsense, where I blog about that thing I just saw on Netflix. As we all know, the gritty reboots of fairy tales seems to be one of the trends at the box office, what with Snow White and the Huntsman a few years ago, and Malificent coming this summer. But there was one fairy tale gritty reboot that came out a year ago that I wanted to see, just because it looked so freakin' ridiculous. And that was Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
We're all familiar with the tale of Hansel & Gretel. A brother and sister, abandoned in the woods by the cruel parents, taken in by an evil witch who wants to fatten them up and eat them. But eventually they find the resolve to defeat the witch. Ever wonder what happened next? Well, according to this film, they vowed vengeance on all witches because of that event, so they grew up to be a badass pair of mercenary monster slayers, and now they roam the land, dispatching witches in all manner of methods.
The latest job they take is in a small town that's being besieged by witches, and there's been a rash of children abducted by the witches. This particular coven is led by a dark witch named Muriel, and of course it's all part of a sinister plot to allow witches to take over the world and enslave humanity. And, of course, as they investigate, Hansel & Gretel soon find out dark secrets about their past, and why their parents really abandoned them in the woods.
Hansel is played by Jeremy Renner, who's got to be too famous for cheezy stuff like this by now. They did give him a nice little character trait, though. Because the evil witch force-fed him all that candy to fatten him up back when he was kid, Hansel is diabetic. It's a nice little character trait, but I don't think insulin treatments had been developed in medieval times.
Gretel is played by British actress Gemma Arterton, who's currently #4 on my list of celebrity crushes. It's nice seeing her be a badass and not flinch when the blood starts flying. Although, she does fall a bit into the damsel in distress near the end, but she rescues herself quite nicely from that.
The evil witch Muriel is played by Famke "GoldenEye was 20 years ago and I'm still freakin' hot" Janssen, and she's a fairly typical villainess. It's the typical evil plot. She's collecting the children to perform the arcane ritual that will grant the magical McGuffin on all witches and allow them to take over the world, and it has to be performed in conjunction with the planetary alignment or something. I find it weird though that the evil plot is to make witches impervious to fire. They try to make a big deal about how the only way to kill a witch is to burn her, but as Hansel and Gretel repeatedly show, a shotgun blast to the face of slicing off their head with piano wire strung between two trees while they fly through the woods on their broomsticks works just as well.
They have all manner of steampunk weaponry to help them kill witches, which left me wondering: is it still steampunk if it takes place about a hundred years before the advent of the steam engine?
In the end, I walked away mildly disappointed. Based on the commercials and the trailers from about a year ago, I was hoping something just ridiculous and stupid in the fun way. But it had a pretty formulaic plot and was just too tame. They didn't have as much fun with the premise as they could have. Oh, well. It was good for a rainy afternoon.