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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

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Scott Roberts
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Jan 28, 2013 at 4:49:31 pm

Premise: Hansel & Gretel just... ...pretty much... ...hunt witches... ...the entire movie... (quietly coughs into hand) (stares back at you silently)


-There is a certain self-aware level of comedy in the film, but it only shows up every 10 minutes or so. These were always the best parts of the movie. For example, in one scene the siblings were explaining to an adoring fan all the methods of killing witches and other creatures at a bar. As they were saying all this crazy stuff; Hansel says under his breath, quiet enough that no one else in the film even acknowledges he says it, "Well, I mean, we hunt witches for a living, so nothing we do should really be considered that crazy, I guess..." and shrugs. Pretty funny, but for the most part, the film was overly serious.

-Along the same lines, it is pointed out in the film that ever since the witch made Hansel eat all that candy to fatten him up when they were kids, he now has to inject himself with medicine every few hours or he'll faint. If you're not picking up on that, Hansel has diabetes from eating the witch's candy when he was a kid. Let me point this out one more time for you... In a $50 million dollar major Hollywood production of the Hansel and Gretel story in which they hunt down and kill witches, they took the time to acknowledge that Hansel has diabetes from eating candy. Is the diabetes a crucial part of the story? No, not at all. Is it kind of hilarious that they put it in there? Oh, absolutely.

-I saw it in IMAX 3D (because that was the first available showing), and they played a trailer for Jurassic Park 3D, in which the trailer not only looked great in IMAX, but the 3D actually looked kind of awesome. I already saw Jurassic Park last year in theaters at Studio Movie Grill, but I'm going to make a point to see it again in IMAX 3D in April. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!


-Hansel and Gretel's IMAX 3D treatment, however, was a waste of money. Didn't get any benefit from the big screen or big sound system, and the 3D was legitimately terrible. If I tilted my head to the left or right even a little bit, I would start to see double images. That usually doesn't happen to me in 3D features, so I'm going to assume it's because this film had particularly crappy 3D.

-That's some crafty out-of-context editing at the end of the trailer to make it seem like they are going to fight something bigger and badder than witches. (they do not...)

-The witch fights were poorly choreographed. Often no spatial awareness, just a blur of crap.

-I suppose the need to shoot two arrows horizontally (and simultaneously) out of her special crossbow came in handy in one instance in this film, but I find it hard to believe that it is something that Gretel does often enough that she actually felt the need to install that feature on her crossbow for future use... On that note, most of their special weapons were pretty dumb.

-Why was Famke Janssen's witch the only witch that was able to turn into human form? She never even utilized this ability for her benefit... I guess it was a spell used to show the audience that she was played by Famke Janssen...?

-All of the witch make-up was rather uninspired. Heavy on the white paint; cracked face, stupid hair.

-Edward the troll looked like a bad Power Rangers villain.

-The movie hits a slow, expository halt at the end of the second act. I was a little tired going into this movie, and I may or may not have fallen asleep for a minute or two during this boring stretch. I got the gist of what they said, and frankly I didn't care about any of the information provided.

Final Thoughts: For a movie that was made by MTV Films and Gary Sanchez Productions (Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's company [both were producers]) the film wasn't all that cool or funny. But by all means it should have been. My guess is that some studio executive got a little too handsy with the project, and tried to make it into the next Underworld franchise or something. When in reality, this film should have been destined to be a tongue-in-cheek spoof of every film that turned a fairy tale into an action film disaster. Shoot, if you just add a question mark to the end of the title, then you've already got a perfect name for a comedy film that mocks everything that this movie actually ended up becoming: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters?

4 out of 10

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Tim Wilson
Re: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Jan 29, 2013 at 5:00:22 pm

This one was sitting in the can for two years, so I suspect that at some point, somebody on the distribution side may have had the same reaction you did, and wondered why they'd spend the money to release it. I gotta give 'em credit for great marketing, though. I loved those commercials.

The folks at used this movie to kick off The Dumpuary Movie Club, because January and February are when studios dump their crappiest movies while the rest of the world is paying attention to award-worthy movies. Apparently a good movie to kick it off. LOL Some remarkable riffing here, as well as some insights into the movie business that I hadn't known before.

They also observe that the movie has already made its production budget back, and surely won't have an issue recovering marketing costs with a couple more weeks in a theater, then on to cable.

I saw the Jurassic Park 3D trailer in front of Life of Pi (erm, thumbs down for me), and the audience in the theater GASPED. I have no idea how it will hold up for the whole movie, but yeah, I can't imagine almost anyone in that theater NOT making a beeline for this on the biggest screen they can possibly find.

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Jeff Breuer
Re: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Jan 31, 2013 at 6:19:15 pm

[Scott Roberts] "they played a trailer for Jurassic Park 3D, in which the trailer not only looked great in IMAX, but the 3D actually looked kind of awesome."

A friend of mine just saw H&G in 3D and saw this same trailer. Similar reaction the two of you reported. I didn't know it was getting IMAX treatment too. You know me, I'm not too thrilled by 3D, but I can't wait to see JP in 3D IMAX in a packed house with everyone jumping and gasping. With so much Direct-to-Consumer video these days, I really appreciate that shared experience. I finally saw Silver-Linings Playbook (loved it) during a Friday 7PM show, packed house. At the end of their big dance at the end, I found myself (along with the rest of the packed house) applauding. APPLAUDING! How often does that happen these days? If I had it my way, I would bring back booing at villains and cheering the heroes.

I just reread that paragraph and realized how much of an old man I sound like. Apologies all around.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:53:33 pm

[Jeff Breuer] "I just reread that paragraph and realized how much of an old man I sound like. "

Creative COW: Country For Old Men. And Kylee.

But yes, people applauded at both showings of Silver Linings Playbook I saw. This was especially remarkable the second time (at the theater Bryan Cranston owns), where Fandango and the theater's own website had the movie time wrong by 50 minutes, so that most people had been waiting for over an hour by the time the movie actually started...and they STILL clapped. Most of them stayed all the way through the credits too. I can't think of the last movie that happened, but it's definitely been years.

I'm starting to see momentum shift toward Argo for best picture...but I'm also starting to see momentum shift toward Jennifer Lawrence for best actress.

JP is going to be insane. At least I hope so.

I had really high hopes for H&G, but I wanted to wait for Scott to see it first. LOL I'm all in favor of stupid movies where stuff blows up, but they need to be stupid AND good. Is that really too much to ask?

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Kylee Peña
Re: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:47:54 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Creative COW: Country For Old Men. And Kylee."

I'm looking forward to Jurassic Park as well. I was 6 when it was released and it scared the hell out of me.

I'm almost 30 now, so enjoy the salt in your wounds.

twitter: @kyl33t

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Jonas Marsh
Re: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
on Feb 5, 2013 at 1:47:07 am

Hansel & Gretel is okay I guess. Violent with not much story.

The only good thing about it is seeing Gemma Arterton. She's hot.

Life as we know it is full of surprises. Better to color your world with art.

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